No matter why you’ve been prescribed Ozempic, it’s essential to understand the places on the body that are safe and effective for Ozempic injections and the right way to prepare for and administer an injection.
This article will explain everything you need to know about where and how to inject Ozempic.
Get to know your Ozempic pen, prescription, and dose
Ozempic comes in an injector pen (which is also called a “medication pen” or simply a “pen”).
Injector pens are considered easier to use than syringes, and they allow for simple and precise dosing of injectable drugs.
An Ozempic pen is approximately six inches long with a pen cap on one end and a small plunger button on the other end.
If you take off the pen cap and look at the forward half of the pen, you will see the pen tip and a clear medication chamber right behind it. Right behind that, you’ll see a label with medication information, and behind that, you’ll see the rotating dose selection dial, which is right in front of the plunger button.
If this is the first time you’re looking at an Ozempic pen right out of the box, it probably will not yet have a pen needle.
A pen needle will need to be correctly inserted before the pen can administer a dose. According to the American Diabetes Association, most brands of pen needles will fit most brands of pens – though they do differ in needle length and gauge.
Pen needles are sometimes – but not always – bundled together with pens, but if your pen doesn’t come bundled with needles, you should receive a prescription for pen needles at the same time as you get your Ozempic prescription.
If your pen comes bundled with pen needles, they will likely be NovoFine Plus needles. These are small, narrow-gauge needles designed specifically for this brand of pen.
Looking at your Ozempic pen, you’ll notice that the rotating dose selector dial measures out the dose in milligrams (mg). Turning the dose selector clockwise increase the dose that the pen is “primed” to give you.
If you turn the dial a number of “clicks”, a dose number in mg will rotate into view on the dose selector.
What does a dose look like?
The dose in mg that your doctor prescribes to you will correspond to the mg you will need to dial in on your pen.
All Ozempic pens are designed to have multiple doses in them – meaning that a single pen should have enough medication to last several weeks – generally at least one month.
Even though the pens may look similar, there are three different dose-sized Ozempic pens:
- An Ozempic pen designed to give multiple sets of 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg doses designed for dose escalation, particularly at the start of treatment
- An Ozempic pen designed to give multiple sets of 1 mg doses
- An Ozempic pen designed to give multiple sets of 2 mg doses
The packaging and the pen should both be clearly labeled with the dose option(s) in mg available through that pen.
It’s important to make sure that the Ozempic pen you have and the dose that your doctor prescribed match.
Never take more Ozempic than you are prescribed by your doctor. If you overdose on Ozempic, you may experience significant adverse side effects.
Where is the best place on my body to inject Ozempic?
To ensure that Ozempic is effective, it is essential to know where to take it.
Ozempic is designed to be administered right under the skin (subcutaneously) by injection. Drugs injected subcutaneously do best when they’re injected into parts of your body with some fatty tissue.
Injections into lean or mostly muscular parts of your body are not recommended, as they tend to be painful, may bleed more than normal, and can cause the drug to be less effective.
Ozempic should never be injected into a vein or artery.
According to the drug’s manufacturer, the three best places on your body to inject Ozempic are the front of your thighs, your abdomen, and your upper arms – particularly the backs of your upper arms.
How to inject Ozempic
Ozempic – in the amount prescribed by your doctor – should be injected under the skin into fatty tissue once a week, on the same day each week.
The steps to follow for injecting Ozempic are outlined below.
Prepare your Ozempic pen
Get your Ozempic pen and an alcohol swab ready.
Uncap your Ozempic pen and put a pen needle on your pen.
If it’s the first time you’re using this Ozempic pen, the manufacturer recommends that you test the flow of the pen.
Test the flow by turning the dose selector clockwise – usually just one or two clicks – until you see an image of two dots and a line, which symbolize a needle with two drops of liquid coming out.
Hold the pen with the needle pointing upright into the air and use your thumb to depress the plunger button on the back of the pen. This will press a small amount of liquid out through the needle and will reset the dose selector dial back to 0.
If a drop or two of liquid comes out of the needle at the top, the flow test was a success. If you’re not successful in getting liquid out, you should try the test several more times – but if the problem persists, replace the pen needle and try again.
Once the flow test is successful and you get a drop or two of liquid out of the pen, you’re ready to begin.
Recap your pen and grab an alcohol swab to prep your skin.
Dial in the correct dose of Ozempic
Rotate the dose selector dial clockwise until you’ve selected the correct dose in milligrams (mg) that your doctor prescribed.
Don’t worry if you accidentally turn the dial too many clicks, you can back it off by rotating the dial counter-clockwise until the little arrow on the right of the window points to the dose you’re about to take.
Find a good spot on your body and prepare the site for the shot
Choosing an area on your body with more fatty tissue, such as your abdomen, upper thighs, and upper arms are ideal. However, avoid injecting Ozempic into the same spot each week to reduce scarring or other skin reactions.
Prepare the site on your skin by quickly rubbing it with the alcohol swab you previously prepared.
Remove the pen cap and grasp the pen so you can see the dose selector and that your thumb can easily reach the plunger button.
Press the needle into your skin at the site you’ve selected in the way your doctor has shown you.
The pen should be perpendicular to your body, at about a 90-degree angle. The needle should be fully under the skin and the flat plastic base of the pen needle will be gently pressed against your skin.
Depress the plunger button on the back of the pen, watching to make sure that the dose counter drops back down to zero as the Ozempic is injected under the skin.
Leave the needle injected for about six seconds to make sure the full dose has been administered.
Remove the needle from your skin.
Remove the needle and re-cap the Ozempic pen
Remove the pen needle from your pen and safely dispose of it in a sharps container.
Now that you’re done, replace the Ozempic pen cap. The pen is now safe to be put away until the same day next week when you’ll again take your prescribed dose of Ozempic.
Seeing a tiny amount of blood is normal, and you can apply pressure to the area with your alcohol swab if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I injected Ozempic correctly?
It’s always a good idea to do a flow test each time you start using a new pen to make sure the pen and pen needle are working together correctly.
As you inject your Ozempic dose, watch the dose selector window to make sure it drops from the dose you’ve selected back down to the “zero” starting place. Also, make sure to leave the pen needle inserted under your skin for six seconds to make sure the medicine is injected fully.
So long as you’ve injected the medicine into a part of the body with some fatty tissue (back of upper arms, abdomen, thighs) and you’ve followed the steps to correctly administer the drug, you’ve done it correctly.
If you have questions or worry that you may have done something incorrectly, be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
What is the best time of day to inject Ozempic?
There is no clinically demonstrated best time of day to take Ozempic. Rather, the most important thing is to select a day of the week and consistently take it on that same day each week.
If you decide to take Ozempic on a Wednesday, you can take it any time of day – but you should plan to take your weekly dose of Ozempic each Wednesday for as long as you use the medication.
Because of this, many people decide to write the day of the week they take the drug on a calendar or on the box that their Ozempic pen comes in. Phone reminders are also helpful to make sure you don’t miss a dose.
What do I do if I missed a dose of Ozempic?
If you miss a dose of Ozempic, take it as soon as possible within 5 days of your missed dose.
However, if the dose of Ozempic you missed should have been taken 5 days or more ago, then you need to skip that dose. In this circumstance, you’ll take Ozempic on your next regularly-scheduled day.
Don’t worry about missing one dose – a single missed dose will not significantly affect your blood sugar levels or insulin resistance.
What do I do if my Ozempic pen doesn’t have a needle?
When you open a new Ozempic pen, it will not come with a needle attached.
Injection pens of all kinds need a needle in order to work. Pen needles are designed to be used one time and then discarded.
Pen needles usually come with your Ozempic prescription and can easily be affixed by twisting them clockwise onto the top of your pen.