Does Ozempic Need to Be Refrigerated?

ozempic-in-the-fridge
woman holding an insulin pen

When taken as prescribed by a doctor, Ozempic can be an effective addition to diet, exercise and other diabetes medications for managing type 2 diabetes. But like most medications, it requires proper storage and handling to remain safe and effective.

 

One common question people have is whether Ozempic needs refrigeration or not. Let’s shed light on the correct storage practices for Ozempic, ensuring its efficacy and your peace of mind.

Does Unopened Ozempic Need Refrigeration?

One of the common questions that patients ask is, “What happens if Ozempic is not refrigerated before first use?”

 

The answer lies in understanding the manufacturer’s guidelines. Before its first use, Ozempic must be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature range of 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F). Storing it at the wrong temperature can affect the medication’s effectiveness.

 

If Ozempic is accidentally left out at room temperature before its first use, there is no guarantee that it will last until its expiration date. So this, of course, underlines the importance of adhering to refrigeration guidelines right from the start.

 

Does Opened Ozempic Need Refrigeration?

Not necessarily. According to the prescribing information, once you inject your first dose, you can store your Ozempic pen at room temperature between 59ºF to 86ºF (15ºC to 30ºC) for 56 days or refrigerate it between 2°C and 8°C (36°F to 46°F). 

However, when you refrigerate, you must keep it away from the freezer compartment and freezer packs, and if you store it at room temperature, make sure to keep it in a cool place away from light or heat, as this can cause it to degrade quickly. 

Should You Use Ozempic That Has Been Exposed to High Temperatures?

The active ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, is a protein-based medication. High temperatures can cause proteins to degrade and destabilize. If Ozempic is exposed to high heat for a long period of time, the semaglutide may start to break down and lose potency.

Therefore, using an Ozempic pen that has been exposed to high temperatures is ideally not recommended because it will be less stable and effective, and there are also potential safety issues.

Should You Use Frozen Ozempic That Has Been Thawed?

For starters, you should never freeze Ozempic, as freezing can cause irreversible changes in the medication’s structure, impacting its effectiveness. Therefore, it is recommended not to use Ozempic that has been frozen and thawed because it will not be as well as it’s supposed to and neither is it safe. 

Ozempic Storage Tips

Ozempic should always be stored properly to maintain its effectiveness. Here are some tips to ensure proper refrigeration of Ozempic:

  • Store unopened Ozempic pens and needles in the original carton in a refrigerator, but don’t freeze.
  • Once opened, the Ozempic pen can be stored for 56 days, either refrigerated or kept at a room temperature no higher than 86°F (30°C).
  • When traveling, use an insulated travel case to store your Ozempic. 
  • Avoid storing the medication in places like a car glovebox or bathroom cabinet where temperature fluctuations can occur.
  • Check the expiration date printed on the Ozempic pen, and do not use expired medication. Discard opened pens after 56 days.
  • Keep Ozempic pens in the original sealed foil pouches until first use to protect from light.
  • Do not expose Ozempic to heat or direct sunlight.
  • Inspect the medication prior to each injection. Discard it if it appears cloudy or discolored. Properly refrigerated Ozempic should look clear and colorless.
  • Use a refrigerator thermometer to ensure that the temperature remains between 36°F and 46°F.
  • When in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of refrigeration to maintain Ozempic’s potency.

Handling and Administration Tips

Handling Ozempic correctly is as important as storing it properly. Before each use, it’s important to inspect the medication; it should be clear and colorless. Any change in color or consistency could indicate a problem. 

Additionally, it’s important to follow the administration guidelines provided by your healthcare provider. This includes understanding the dosing schedule and the proper technique for injection.

Closing Thoughts

Storing Ozempic properly not only ensures its potency and effectiveness, but you also don’t have to worry about its safety. However, doing the complete opposite of that can literally put your health at risk of complications, especially if you’re using it to manage diabetes.

If you’re in doubt about how to properly store Ozempic, speak with your healthcare provider.

FAQs

Does Ozempic Have to be Refrigerated?

If it’s unopened, yes. Ozempic should be stored in the refrigerator at 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) at all times before first use. Leaving it unrefrigerated, even for a short time, can affect its potency.

You should discard any Ozempic that has been left unrefrigerated for more than 8 weeks and is past the expiration date. An injection pen or bottle that has been kept at room temperature for less than 4 weeks can be put back in the refrigerator for later use.

Check that the liquid in the Ozempic pen or bottle looks clear and colorless, with no particles. If the medication is cloudy, discolored, or contains particles, it may have been stored improperly and should be discarded.

If you suspect that you have accidentally used Ozempic that has been improperly stored, consult your healthcare provider. They will be able to assess any potential risks and guide you on the appropriate steps to take, which may include monitoring your blood sugar levels closely and adjusting your medication as needed.

Exposure to extreme cold might affect the stability and effectiveness of Ozempic. If you believe your Ozempic has been exposed to extreme cold temperatures but not frozen, do not use the medication before consulting with your healthcare provider.
They will advise you on whether the medication is still safe to use based on the specific conditions it experienced and provide guidance on what to do next.
Always remember to follow the proper storage guidelines to ensure the effectiveness and safety of your Ozempic medication.