Though progress in medical science has eradicated several life-threatening diseases, there are some ailments that cannot be cured entirely. Such chronic ailments cannot be treated, but there are innovative ways of bringing it under control and successfully coexisting with the said condition. One such chronic condition that alters an individual’s life is diabetes mellitus. This condition is a group of metabolic diseases that bring about dramatic changes in an individual’s blood sugar levels, either due to the inadequate production of insulin or because their body’s cells do not respond favorably to insulin.
About 100 million people in the country are affected by diabetes or are in the prediabetes stage. Poor eating habits or one’s genetic predisposition make an individual more susceptible to developing diabetes at any stage of their lives. Though diabetes is a distressing health condition, with the right diabetes medication like metformin, insulin injections, and glyburide, a balanced diet, and regular exercise regime, you can bring the ailment under control. Moreover, there are medications to keep the complications associated with diabetes like heart problems or foot complications in check. In combination, all of these factors will ensure that you control this ailment’s progression.
However, at times, even these medications and lifestyle choices aren’t enough to bring the elevated blood sugar levels in control or to stabilize its levels. At this point, your doctor might add Ozempic® (Semaglutide) to your diabetes medications. Ozempic® is a glucagon-like peptide receptor agonist which is engineered for people with type 2 diabetes as glucagon and insulin are the hormones that work in unison to bring the blood sugar levels under control, but in opposing ways. This glucagon-like peptide receptor agonist works by helping the body produce more insulin on its own.
Ozempic® is available in the form of a prefilled pen and is administered subcutaneously. The starting dose for this medication is 0.25mg once a week, and it is known to bring about a marked improvement in both fasting and post-meal blood glucose concentration. It is an incredible diabetes medication, but like the other medicines we use, this could also trigger some unwanted reactions. So, it is imperative that you go through the precautionary measures stated below before you can begin your treatment with this medication.
Heart ailments: You might have read the “warning” sign on the back of several medications. It is imperative to pay heed to what’s written there as it might end up saving your life. In the case of Ozempic®, the warning states that if you have a pre-existing heart condition, you need to consult your physician before adding it to your diabetes medication list. This medication is known to increase the heart rate slightly, and it can also alter your heart’s rhythm, leading to further complications. So, it is your responsibility to inform your doctor about any pre-existing heart condition.
Hypoglycemia: In some instances, when one medication reacts with another, the results are usually unfavorable. This could also happen in cases where you take sulfonylurea or insulin along with Ozempic® to bring your high glucose levels under control. These medications could react with one another, and as a result, the symptoms of hypoglycemia could surface. If you experience a sudden onset of hunger, nervousness, fast heartbeat, cold sweat, lightheadedness, it is essential to visit the doctor immediately to prevent the condition from worsening any further. In such cases, the doctor might alter the dosage to prevent the recurrence of such situations.
Thyroid tumors: You must take the lead to avoid falling prey to illnesses that could have been bypassed in the first place. If you or anyone in your family has a history of thyroid tumors, irrespective of it being benign or malignant, it is imperative that you inform your doctor before they can prescribe this diabetes medication. Ozempic® is known to increase one’s chances of developing thyroid tumors if they have a family history of this condition. So, refrain from consuming Ozempic® if anyone in your family had medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2).
Kidney function: If you have a pre-existing kidney condition or your creatinine levels are high, it is advisable to refrain from consuming this medication. You need to inform your doctor about any kidney ailment that you already have before they can prescribe Ozempic®. This diabetes medication is known to bring about some changes in kidney functions which aren’t conducive to the proper functioning of the body.
Pregnancy: If you get pregnant while you are on Ozempic®, it is necessary to consult with your doctor immediately as this medication cannot be administered to pregnant women. You need to set up an appointment right away to look for alternative treatment options to manage your blood sugar levels.
Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding mothers are advised to stop using Ozempic® as it is known to affect the baby’s health as well. So, it is advisable to consult with your doctor to look for alternative treatment options.
Refrain from sharing the Ozempic® pen: The cardinal rule about syringes has to be upheld here as well. You shouldn’t share your Ozempic® pen with other patients as it increases the risk of transmitting blood-borne pathogens that could add to your suffering.