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Does Ozempic make you tired?
Medically Reviewed by Felix Gussone, MD, Ro; Written by Nancy LaChance, BSN, RN
Last updated: Apr 26, 2023
6 min read
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a highly effective drug in helping people lose weight. Originally approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes and risks of heart disease, it’s frequently prescribed off-label to help people with their weight loss journeys.
Side effects can be a concern for people considering a new medication, but fortunately the side effects of Ozempic (and Wegovy, another brand name for semaglutide) tend to be minor. Ozempic can make some people feel tired, but this is rare, and typically resolves over time. Digestive upset is a more common side effect, and it also tends to improve as your body adjusts.
Does Ozempic make you feel tired?
The short answer is that, yes, Ozempic can make you feel tired, but it’s a rare side effect of the drug.
Ozempic and its active ingredient, semaglutide, have been extensively studied for safety and efficacy for blood sugar control and weight loss. While some people experience side effects while taking Ozempic, very few people (0.4% or more) in clinical studies experienced dizziness, fatigue or tiredness.
It’s unclear why some people feel tiredness and fatigue while taking Ozempic, and others don’t. It’s possibly due to how Ozempic works: by controlling blood sugar levels and curbing appetite.
Like other semaglutide-based drugs, Ozempic works by slowing a person’s digestion, reducing their appetite, and increasing the body’s release of insulin. These actions help to stabilize levels of blood sugar (glucose) and decrease their intake of food. Meanwhile, a consistent level of blood glucose is what gives the cells in your brain and body the fuel they need to function. It’s possible that, for a few people, Ozempic’s effect of leveling out blood glucose levels may result in slightly lower blood sugar than they are used to. Low blood sugar may prompt them to feel temporarily lethargic as their body adjusts to the drug. A decrease in appetite that prompts a person to eat significantly less than before taking the drug, may have the same effect.
This is not to say that Ozempic is going to weaken you and starve your brain of energy. The vast majority of Ozempic users don’t notice any fatigue or decrease in their energy levels. Unless you experience hypoglycemia, an uncommon but potentially serious side effect where your blood sugar levels could dip dangerously low (it’s more likely if you’re taking other diabetes medications like insulin), it’s unlikely that you will feel tired as a result of taking Ozempic. Taking Ozempic with other type 2 diabetes medications, like metformin, is generally safe.
In summary, Ozempic can make you feel tired, but it’s a rare side effect. In the long-term, you may notice the opposite: energy increases and you’re less tired, as you lose weight and improve cardiovascular health while taking Ozempic combined with physical activity and diet changes.
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Ozempic side effects
While drowsiness and fatigue are not common side effects of Ozempic, other minor side effects are common while taking Ozempic. However, most people find them to be manageable, and they can even resolve with time.
The most common side effects tend to be gastrointestinal in nature, which makes sense considering that one of Ozempic’s key effects is to slow your digestion down. Possible side effects can include:
Constipation and bloating
Side effect severity tends to go up with higher doses of Ozempic. Finding the sweet spot between seeing the benefit of the drug while minimizing side effects is a key element of figuring out the right dose of Ozempic with your healthcare provider, and works well for the vast majority of users; in clinical trials very few people stopped taking Ozempic because of side effects.
Still, gastrointestinal side effects aren’t pleasant for most people. Fortunately, there are many tools to help these side effects to be less uncomfortable and can be used while still taking Ozempic, especially as your body is adjusting to a new dose. These include:
Eating small, frequent meals
Eating bland, easily digestible foods like those in the BRAT diet
Taking over-the-counter anti-nausea treatments
Drinking mint or ginger tea, or taking ginger supplements
Paying attention to foods to avoid while taking Ozempic, like greasy fried foods and refined carbohydrates
How to improve fatigue
Whether or not Ozempic causes you to feel tired, there are several ways you can deal with fatigue and increase your energy:
Improve sleep quality
Getting enough sleep is widely recognized as vital for all aspects of keeping your body and mind healthy. However, restorative sleep isn’t just a function of the quantity, but also of the quality of those sleeping hours. Not getting enough hours of good quality sleep is associated with health problems ranging from fatigue to obesity to overall higher rates of mortality—suffice to say that paying attention to getting good sleep can help reduce both fatigue as well as other problems.
Fortunately, there are a lot of tools that can help improve sleep duration as well as quality. Many are part of a set of habits called “good sleep hygiene” that refers to things like:
Creating a consistent bedtime routine
Removing screens (TV, phone, tablets, etc.) from the bedroom
Keeping the bedroom dark
Using white noise
Avoiding large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
Focus on nutrition
It goes without saying that food is the body’s main energy source. The human body and its sources of energy are complex, but without food that contains basic and usable nutrients, the body won’t have what it needs to function and stay healthy.
Key nutrients can be found in lean protein (like eggs, beans, and lean meats), whole grains (like brown rice and oatmeal), and high-quality fats (like those in nuts, seeds, fish, and olive oil). Interestingly, the Mediterranean diet (which is full of foods such as these) is associated with improving people’s sleep quality.
One important thing to remember is that nutrition from food tends to be more accessible to our bodies than those from supplements, so be sure to only use nutritional supplements as additions to—not a replacement for—a healthy diet. Additionally, making sure you’re drinking enough water is important for enabling your cells to function and to use, process, and eliminate the nutrition they need.
Get regular exercise
It may sound counterintuitive because exercise can be exhausting, but many studies have shown that routinely exercising is associated with feeling less fatigued overall. Exercising also boosts mood as well as cognitive function, which can help a person to feel sharper and more alert during the day.
Physical activity benefits your energy levels in ways that are big and small. By increasing blood circulation and energy demand, exercise brings freshly oxygenated blood to your brain, heart, lungs, muscles, and other organs, helping them to function efficiently and stay in good condition. It can even prompt your cells to generate more ATP—the body’s biggest source of energy.
Pay attention to mental health
Mental and emotional health can have a big impact on mood, energy levels, and overall physical wellness. Indeed, fatigue is one of the hallmark symptoms of depression. Making sure that you’re taking proactive care of mental health even if you’re not aware of any issues can go a long way to keeping you feeling engaged and energetic.
Mental health self-care can look different for everyone. It can mean steps both big and small. Taking care of your mental health can be as simple as carving out a few minutes every day for calming, centering self-care activities. It can also mean reaching out to connect with a therapist to make sure that you have the right tools for coping with life’s stresses and challenges when they do come along.
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.
Felix Gussone, MD
Felix Gussone is a physician, health journalist and a Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.
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