Pharmacist Medication Insights: Semaglutide for Type 2 Diabetes

Saro Arakelians, PharmD

Semaglutide (Ozempic) is a glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist, approved as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

In 2017, the FDA approved Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide injection (Ozempic), a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes, according to a company statement. The once-weekly semaglutide is approved for use in 2 therapeutic dosages: 0.5 mg and 1 mg.

In April 2021, Novo Nordisk announced a streamlined 1 mg semaglutide (Ozempic) injection for type 2 diabetes, reducing the need for 2 pens to 1 each month.

The device remains the same, but will have a larger cartridge that contains 4, 1 mg doses. In addition, the new packaging will provide 1 pen and 4 needles to accommodate the 4 injections per 28 days (1 injection per week). The device is not a single-use pen and should not be thrown out until 4 doses are administered.

Semaglutide is also under evaluation by the FDA as a treatment for obesity. In clinical trials, treatment with the drug resulted in statistically significant reductions in body weight. Common adverse events associated with use included mild to moderate nausea, which diminished over time.