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If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus, your doctor may prescribe Ozempic, a medication that can regulate hormones that lower blood sugar levels and affect appetite. As with any medication, proper storage is essential to ensure efficacy and safety—but does Ozempic need to be refrigerated? What are the proper storage guidelines for this weekly injectable medication?
In this article, we’ll explore the storage guidelines for Ozempic, including whether it should be refrigerated and how long it can safely be left unrefrigerated.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic (semaglutide; see Important Safety Information) is a once-weekly subcutaneous injectable medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating type 2 diabetes—along with a healthy diet and regular exercise. It’s also used to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as stroke, heart attack, or death, in adults with diabetes and heart disease. In some cases, it may be prescribed off-label to help with weight loss—this means the FDA hasn’t approved it for weight loss, but there’s research backing its use for this purpose (FDA, 2022).
Ozempic belongs to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, which work by stimulating insulin release, reducing glucagon release, and delaying gastric emptying. As a result, GLP-1 medications can help control blood glucose levels and may also help you lose weight (Nauck, 2021).
Should Ozempic be refrigerated?
Ozempic should be refrigerated at a temperature between 36°F and 46°F until the first use. After using the prefilled pen for the first time, you can then store it at either room temperature (59°F to 86°F) or in the refrigerator (36°F to 46°F) for up to 56 days. You shouldn’t put the medication in the freezer at any time.
Any unused Ozempic pen should remain in the refrigerator until it has reached the expiration date on the label. Always dispose of expired pens, even if they’re unused and properly stored in the fridge (FDA, 2022).
I left my Ozempic out overnight—what should I do?
If your Ozempic pen was left out overnight, consider whether it has been used. If already used before being left out, you can continue to use the pen—a used Ozempic pen can be left at room temperature (59°F to 86°F) for up to 56 days after being used for the first time.
However, Ozempic should always be stored in the refrigerator until its first use. If you left your Ozempic pen out overnight before its first use, contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider before using it. They may recommend that you dispose of that pen and start a new one before your next weekly injection (FDA, 2022).
How long can Ozempic be left unrefrigerated?
After first use, Ozempic can be left unrefrigerated at room temperature (59°F to 86°F) for up to 56 days. The pen should be disposed of after 56 days, even if there is medicine remaining in the pen.
If left unrefrigerated before first use, you should contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider. They may recommend that you dispose of the pen (FDA, 2022).
Storing your Ozempic
A new, unused Ozempic pen should be stored in the refrigerator between 36°F and 46°F before first use. Once used, it can be stored for 56 days at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F or in a refrigerator between 36°F and 46°F. Ozempic will expire 56 days after the pen’s first use and should be properly disposed of, even if there is medicine remaining in the pen. It’s recommended to keep track of this date so you know when it’s time to start a new pen.
It’s important to keep Ozempic away from light and heat. You should replace the pen cap after each dose of Ozempic to protect the medicine from the light. You should also avoid storing your Ozempic pen in the freezer or near the refrigeration cooling element to avoid cooling it below the recommended storage temperature. Do not use Ozempic if it has been frozen.
If you have questions about storing your Ozempic medication, talk to your pharmacist or healthcare professional. They will provide medical advice, review possible side effects, and help answer any questions you may have to ensure you get the best results from your prescription diabetes medication (FDA, 2022).
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.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2022). Highlights of prescribing information: Ozempic. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2022/209637s009lbl.pdf
- Nauck, M. A., Quast, D. R., Wefers, J., et al. (2021). GLP-1 receptor agonists in the treatment of type 2 diabetes – state-of-the-art. Molecular Metabolism, 2021(46), 101102. doi:10.1016/j.molmet.2020.101102. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8085572/
Felix Gussone is a physician, health journalist and a Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.