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When taking any prescription medication, it’s a good idea to look into whether it’s safe to consume alcohol. If you’ve been prescribed Ozempic (see Important Safety Information) to manage your type 2 diabetes or help with weight loss, you may want to know if you can have a cocktail or a glass of wine (or two) while taking the medication. While Ozempic is not known to dangerously interact with alcohol, for those with type 2 diabetes, drinking alcohol while taking Ozempic may lower your blood sugar and cause serious hypoglycemia (a blood sugar level lower than the standard range).
Continue reading to learn more about mixing Ozempic and alcohol.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a type of drug called a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1) prescribed to help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels. It’s a prescription injectable medication that you self-inject weekly, with or without meals. Ozempic may also be prescribed-off label by a healthcare provider to support weight loss, even in those without type 2 diabetes.
Can you drink alcohol while taking Ozempic?
Ozempic is not known to dangerously interact with alcohol. However, that doesn’t mean the combination is safe for everyone. Whether you take Ozempic for type 2 diabetes, weight loss, or both, there may still be reasons to avoid alcohol. Here’s how drinking alcohol while taking Ozempic affects those taking the medication for managing type 2 diabetes and for weight loss:
Type 2 diabetes, alcohol, and Ozempic
If you have type 2 diabetes and take Ozempic to control your blood sugar levels, you may want to exercise more caution when it comes to alcohol. Alcohol can negatively affect your blood glucose levels while taking Ozempic, causing them to drop too low (hypoglycemia).
If your diabetes is well controlled, it’s generally considered okay to drink moderately. That means fewer than two drinks per day for men, and fewer than one drink per day for women. On the other hand, if your diabetes is not well controlled, or if you have other medical conditions—such as high blood pressure, liver problems, or high triglycerides—it may be safest to avoid alcohol entirely. You should also avoid alcohol if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Talking to your healthcare provider about your personal risk level is always a good idea.
Regardless of whether or not your diabetes is well controlled, people with type 2 diabetes should avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. Drinking on an empty stomach increases the risk of hypoglycemia. Monitor your blood sugar levels when consuming alcohol and watch for symptoms of low blood sugar.
Weight loss, alcohol, and Ozempic
If you are taking Ozempic solely for weight loss, you may still want to limit your alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol use has been linked with overeating and may be a risk factor for obesity and weight gain — something you’re actively trying to prevent while taking Ozempic.
In particular, people who are more impulsive may be more likely to overeat during or after drinking alcohol. Chronic heavy drinking may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and pancreatitis.
When drinking moderately, avoid sugary drinks and cocktails containing soda and juice. Instead, opt for distilled spirits, wine, and low-calorie cocktails. No matter who you are, drinking alcohol is never without risk. Alcohol consumption may increase your risk of liver disease, heart disease, strokes, cancer, and more. And, despite some studies suggesting that moderate drinking comes with certain health benefits, a new analysis has concluded that many of those studies were poorly designed, and that the opposite is true: no amount of drinking seems to be good for you.
What is Ozempic & how to get it for weight loss
How much alcohol is too much when taking Ozempic?
While sugary drinks may stand in the way of your weight loss goals, moderate alcohol consumption is typically not associated with obesity (heavy drinking is). Moderate alcohol consumption means you drink fewer than two drinks per day if you’re a guy, and one drink or less if you’re a woman. For perspective:
- 1 drink = 12 oz beer = 1.5 oz liquor = 4 oz wine
If your main concern is keeping your blood sugar levels in control, limit sugary beverages containing soda and juice as previously mentioned, and stick to low sugar options.
How long should you wait to drink alcohol after taking Ozempic?
Because alcohol consumption in and of itself does not dangerously interact with Ozempic, feel free to moderately and safely consume alcohol with Ozempic during any time frame. However, if drinking alcohol is likely to make you forget to take your medication, consider taking Ozempic before your night out on the town or set an alarm to remind yourself to take your medication.
What conditions does Ozempic treat?
Ozempic is primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes. When used in combination with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, or with other diabetes medications such as metformin, Ozempic helps people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Ozempic also lowers the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death in people with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Ozempic may also be prescribed off-label to adults with obesity to help them with weight loss because it may reduce your appetite. When combined with diet and exercise, this effect can help people with excess weight or obesity to lose weight faster.
Ozempic drug interactions
Ozempic is safe to use with most medications, but there are a couple of things to be aware of. If you are taking Ozempic with other diabetes medications, like insulin, you are at higher risk of developing low blood sugar and your medication doses may need adjustments.
GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic can also affect how quickly your body absorbs oral medications, because it slows down how the medications move through your stomach into your intestines. To be safe, talk to your healthcare provider about other medications you are taking, and follow their medical advice.
Your healthcare provider may advise you to avoid smoking if you have type 2 diabetes. Smoking cigarettes can cause high blood sugar levels and worsen insulin resistance, which can interfere with your glycemic control. If you are in the process of quitting smoking, it can take some time for your body and blood sugar levels to adjust to the change. Because Ozempic can lower blood sugar levels, ask your healthcare provider about what they recommend for you.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a “black box” warning for Ozempic. This is the most serious advisory issued for a medication. While we don’t know if Ozempic has the same effect in humans, animal studies have found that Ozempic increases the risk of thyroid tumors in mice. People with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer, or who have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, should not use Ozempic.
Remember that consuming alcohol is never without risk. While it may be safe to drink moderately while taking Ozempic, have a conversation with your healthcare provider to be sure that consuming alcohol won’t have a negative impact on your treatment plan.
If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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Felix Gussone is a physician, health journalist and a Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.