Dec 14, 2023 • 9 min read

Can I Drink Alcohol on Ozempic & Wegovy? 

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Ozempic and Wegovy are part of a new era of weight loss medications. They are being so widely used that it’s estimated that 1.7% of people in the U.S. have had a healthcare provider prescribe these medications in 2023. 

Both medications work to reduce appetite and slow digestion by mimicking the GLP-1 hormone produced in the intestines and brain. This makes it easier to manage cravings, reduce calorie intake, and lose weight. 

While taking these medications, it’s recommended that patients follow a healthy diet and incorporate physical activity. This will help maximize weight loss, better control blood sugar, and minimize the common digestive side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

But can you drink alcohol on Ozempic and Wegovy? 

Currently, there is no research to show that you cannot drink alcohol on Ozempic or Wegovy. There are also no FDA warnings against it, but alcohol may lessen the effectiveness of these medications. 

At the same time, some people lose the urge to drink while taking semaglutide. Since it reduces the desire for food, it can also reduce the desire for alcohol. Avoiding or decreasing alcohol intake can further help with managing blood sugar and losing weight. 

This guide goes over how alcohol may worsen some of the side effects of semaglutide, how much alcohol you can drink while taking these medications, and how to safely and comfortably enjoy alcohol while taking Ozempic or Wegovy. 

Can I drink alcohol while taking semaglutide (Ozempic & Wegovy)?

As we know so far, it’s safe to drink alcohol while taking Ozempic or Wegovy. However, there are things you’ll want to consider such as how it may affect your weight loss and how it might interfere with blood sugar regulation. 

Based on several studies, people generally don’t eat any less to compensate for the extra calories they’ve consumed from the alcohol. Plus, they tend to eat more after drinking alcohol. That’s a double whammy for your calorie intake. 

These extra calories could slow your weight loss despite taking Wegovy or Ozempic. 

The common side effects of semaglutides—nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting—may also become worse if combined with alcohol. 

review of studies shows that diarrhea and malabsorption are common digestive complaints with the use of alcohol. Interestingly, small doses of alcohol can speed up how quickly food moves through your system, whereas large doses of alcohol can slow digestion. 

Since semaglutides work to slow the transit of food in your body, alcohol in small doses may be counterproductive while alcohol in large doses could compound digestive issues like constipation. 

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How does alcohol affect blood sugar levels?

Did you know that alcohol may affect blood sugar levels for up to 12 hours? That’s longer than most people would expect and especially important to know if you’re diabetic. 

The body works to break down alcohol in the liver. The liver is also in charge of regulating blood sugar levels and, unfortunately, can’t effectively do both simultaneously. 

When breaking down alcohol, the body creates substances that block the liver’s ability to produce sugar. This makes it difficult for the liver to do its job of regulating the body’s glucose levels and avoiding low blood sugar or hypoglycemic episodes. 

Those with diabetes using blood sugar-lowering medications need to use extra caution when drinking alcohol due to its additional glucose-lowering effect. Additionally, there is an increased risk for hypoglycemia when drinking in a fasting state (having not eaten). 

On the other hand, alcohol can also raise blood sugar levels when it’s mixed with sugary beverages. This is due to the sugar in the mixer. Think margaritas, daiquiris, juice, or any caloric soda that you mix with alcohol. 

Diabetics should closely monitor their blood sugar before, during, and after drinking alcohol. 

How much alcohol can I drink while taking Ozempic or Wegovy?

Maybe you have an upcoming event where alcohol will be served, or perhaps you just want a couple of glasses of wine at the end of a busy week. It’s good to plan ahead and have a set limit on how much alcohol you can safely drink while taking Ozempic or Wegovy. 

For overall health, the CDC recommends drinking in moderation. This means one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. A drink is considered a 12-ounce beer, one and a half ounces of liquor, or a five-ounce glass of wine. This one-to-two alcoholic drink recommendation is also unlikely to do any harm while taking Ozempic or Wegovy. 

If you are hoping to grab a few more drinks on occasion, you’ll want to discuss this with your healthcare provider. They will be able to consider your overall health and how your medications may interact with alcohol. 

If you’re a diabetic taking insulin or sulfonylureas, you’ll want to be extra cautious when drinking. Alcohol has a greater impact on your blood sugar levels and could potentially lead to hypoglycemia. See more in the “How does alcohol affect blood sugar levels?” section below.

There are currently no studies published that provide concrete recommendations on how much alcohol you can safely drink while taking semaglutide. For now, it’s up to you and your healthcare provider to determine what’s safe for your body. 

Can Ozempic or Wegovy reduce my desire to drink alcohol?

Can Ozempic and Wegovy help you manage blood sugar, lose weight, and drink less? Yep. There are a couple of factors that come into play: 

  1. Initially, most people feel a bit nauseous when starting a semaglutide, making alcohol less desirable. This nausea may also return with every dose increase. 
  1. These medications impact part of the reward center of your brain in a way that reduces the gratification you typically get from drinking alcohol. 

Several animal studies have analyzed the effects that GLP-1 agonist medications have on the brain. Most studies thus far have used liraglutide, which is very similar to semaglutide but lasts a shorter amount of time in the body and is less effective for weight loss. 

In one of these studies, liraglutide was shown to reduce the reward system that is linked to the intake of alcohol. Other study results showed liraglutide prevented the typical increase in dopamine (the “feel good hormone”) when mice were given a dose of alcohol. 

These study results point to a decreased motivation to drink alcohol while taking semaglutide. When alcohol doesn’t make you feel much better, you’re less likely to want to drink it, which isn’t a bad thing when it comes to improving your health. 

A recent small study looked at six participants who tested positive for alcohol use disorder (AUD) based on a screening test. After taking semaglutide for weight loss, all six showed a significant reduction in AUD symptoms. These are promising results, likely to promote more research.

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Can alcohol make Ozempic or Wegovy side effects worse?

Pairing the use of Ozempic or Wegovy with occasional alcohol use (in small amounts) may not pose any serious risk. Still, you’ll want to use caution as it could aggravate some of the common side effects of the medications. 

The most common side effect of the medication is digestive issues. This is typically the worst when first starting the medication as well as when increasing the dose. You may want to hold off on drinking alcohol during these times to avoid worsening any nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. 

Heavy and more frequent alcohol use (especially long-term term), on the other hand, may put you at a higher risk of experiencing the more serious side effects of these medications. This includes pancreatitis and kidney damage. 

Here are some of semaglutide’s side effects that may worsen with the addition of alcohol: 

  • Digestive issues. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are the most common side effects of semaglutide. Drinking may exacerbate these side effects since low doses of alcohol can speed the transit of food through the digestive system. 
  • Dehydration. The digestive issues mentioned above can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. The addition of alcohol may worsen these issues as its impact on the kidneys impairs the body’s ability to regulate fluid and electrolytes.
  • Inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is a rare, serious side effect that’s been reported with the use of semaglutide. It is also a ramification of heavy alcohol use. So, combining the two could put you at a higher risk for pancreatitis.
  • Kidney damage. Semaglutide’s common side effects (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) can cause dehydration that may worsen existing kidney problems. Paired with alcohol, which is shown to impact kidney structure and function, this could lead to kidney damage.
  • Blood sugar imbalances. Diabetics, especially those taking diabetes medications, are at a higher risk of low blood sugar when taking semaglutide. Alcohol use may increase the risk of hypoglycemia since alcohol reduces the liver’s ability to produce sugar. 

Tips for safely drinking alcohol while taking Ozempic or Wegovy

As the nauseating effects of your weight loss medication wear off, you may start to consider enjoying some alcoholic beverages. Now that you’ve read how alcohol can impact blood sugar, you’ll want to make sure you learn how to drink safely. 

There are certain things you can do to limit the negative impact alcohol will have on your digestion and blood sugar. Here are some tips on how to safely drink alcohol while taking Ozempic or Wegovy:

  • Monitor blood sugar. If you usually test your blood sugar, be sure to test it while drinking and before bed. If your blood sugar has recently been unstable, you’ll want to avoid drinking as this could lead to hypoglycemia. 
  • Limit your drinks. One to two drinks per day is considered your safest bet. Drinking excessively could cause an increase in blood sugar for some and, alternatively, lead to more pronounced blood sugar lows for others. 
  • Avoid high-sugar-containing alcoholic beverages. Drinks, like daiquiris and margaritas, with high sugar content will significantly increase your calorie intake, interfering with your weight loss efforts and blood sugar levels. 
  • Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, after, and in between alcoholic beverages to avoid dehydration. 
  • Eat before drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can further increase the possibility of a hypoglycemic or low blood sugar episode. Have a meal or snack before drinking. 
  • Take all medications as prescribed. If you easily forget things while drinking alcohol, you’ll want to set an alarm to remind yourself to take all of your medications, including Ozempic or Wegovy.  
  • Don’t go to bed on an empty stomach. Have a small snack that includes protein and some healthy fats before bed. This could be a boiled egg and an apple or a handful of cashews and grapes. This will help keep your blood sugar stable during the night. 

If you’re taking Ozempic or Wegovy for weight loss and choose to drink alcohol, you’ll want to consider both the calorie content and the carbohydrate content of your drink. Making the wrong choice could derail your weight loss efforts. 

The best options include straight distilled spirits (or liquor) such as vodka, whiskey, gin, rum, or brandy. The worst alcohol options include beer, cider, wine, champagne, and cocktails that use caloric mixers. 

Although some of the above “worst options” may be low in actual sugar content, they all still contain higher amounts of carbohydrates and calories than the “best options” listed above. 

Why you should consider working with a dietitian while taking Ozempic or Wegovy

There are many benefits to working with a dietitian, particularly when taking a medication like Ozempic or Wegovy. These medications were designed to work along with lifestyle modifications. If you are not following a healthy eating pattern and getting enough exercise, you might not lose weight while taking them or see the other benefits they are supposed to deliver.

By working with a registered dietitian, you can learn the best diet plan for Ozempic or Wegovy, including whether and how to incorporate alcohol. Dietitians can help you understand your unique nutrition needs so you can feel confident about managing your blood glucose and losing weight.

Another reason to work with a dietitian is to help manage potential side effects. Possible side effects of taking Ozempic and Wegovy include nausea, diarrhea, and constipation. Your dietitian can help you choose the best foods to help manage your symptoms and decide whether alcohol will make these effects worse. 

Dietitians can help you lose weight by building you a custom nutrition plan that fits your lifestyle and preferences. This will set you up for long-term, sustainable results while taking Ozempic or Wegovy.

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Vanessa Imus is a Registered Dietitian of 12 years, a mom of 3, and a travel enthusiast born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She specializes in weight management and bariatrics but has extensive dietitian experience in nutrition writing, media work for brands, and corporate wellness. She runs Integrated Nutrition for Weight Loss offering nutrition coaching programs and personalized meal plans for weight loss. Vanessa is passionate about helping others optimize their health and lose weight by using evidence-based nutrition strategies.