The Banner Poison and Drug Information Center has noticed a significant increase in calls related to semaglutide, commonly known as Ozempic or Wegovy, reported from both the public and healthcare professionals. Many of the calls are coming from emergency departments about adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances. Many of the exposures are therapeutic, in which the patient has been taking the medication as prescribed. 

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“Most of the calls we are receiving are a result of adverse side effects, with an increasing number of people requiring hospital care,” said Bryan Kuhn, PharmD, DABAT, Clinical Educator at the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center.

“We urge caution with use, especially if receiving the medication from a compounding pharmacy where you may be drawing up the dose yourself,” advised Maureen Roland, RN, Director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center. “This is where we are seeing many therapeutic errors. Patients should speak with their providers about all benefits and risks before taking any medication.”

Semaglutide is a medication typically prescribed for Type 2 diabetes; however, it has gained recent popularity as a weight-loss medication. Common side effects can include gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation.

“It is increasingly important for patients to understand that this is not a recreational weight-loss treatment,” said Dr. Farah Husain, division chief of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery at Banner Health. “Semaglutide and other compounded medications need to be closely monitored with your health care provider to watch for serious side effects.”

If you have any questions about semaglutide, or other questions about poisonings, medications, or chemicals, please call the poison center immediately at 1-800-222-1222 for free and confidential advice at any time.

If you or a loved one believe there has been exposure to any poison, medication or chemical please call the poison center immediately at 1-800-222-1222. The poison centers can assist in the evaluation and management and help determine if it is necessary to seek additional medical attention.