Ozempic and Wegovy needles require proper disposal, health officials say

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Semaglutide medications — including Ozempic and Wegovy — have spiked in popularity, with 6% of U.S. adults having tried the injectable weight-loss drugs and 3% currently using them, according to a Gallup poll.

Both drugs are injected weekly using prefilled pens — and it’s important for people to know how to properly dispose of the needles after the meds are administered, doctors say.

The needles cannot simply be tossed into the trash or recycle bin or flushed down the toilet. 

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The general rule of thumb is to dispose of needles in a “heavy-duty plastic household container,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s website.

In many areas, needles, like the ones used to inject Ozempic and Wegovy, can be disposed of in a sturdy container, such as a coffee can or laundry detergent bottle.   (iStock)

Ideally, this should be a puncture-resistant sharps container, similar to the ones at doctors’ offices, the agency advised. 

If that isn’t available, people may be able to dispose of needles using household items depending on local regulations, according to Lifespan Health System’s website. 

If using a household item, such as a coffee can or laundry detergent bottle, it must be sturdy and have a tight-fitting lid to keep the needles safely inside.

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In certain states, you can put your sturdy container into your trash, while in others, the needles must be brought to a facility for proper disposal.

In most cases, however, regulations are similar across states, according to Joseph Wendelken, the public information officer for the Rhode Island Department of Health.

A person throwing a trash bag into garbage bin

Experts recommend familiarizing yourself with local regulations for needle disposal to confirm that you are taking the proper precautions. (iStock)

“In Rhode Island, you would put needles in a sharps container,” he told Fox News Digital. “That’s ideal, and you can just put them in a dark trash bag.”

To ensure proper disposal of needles, the FDA recommends checking with local trash removal services or the health department to verify official recommendations.

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Novo Nordisk, which manufactures both Ozempic and Wegovy, also offers a Drug Disposal Program, where consumers can order a sharps disposal container or medicine return container on the company’s website.

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Ozempic was approved in 2017 to help patients manage type 2 diabetes. Along with proper diet and exercise, it can help to regulate blood sugar levels and could contribute to weight loss, but the drug has not officially been approved for that purpose.

Laundry detergent bottles

Certain state regulations allow for needles to be disposed of in sturdy containers such as a laundry detergent container.  (iStock)

The drug has gained widespread media attention, as many celebrities, including Sharon Osborne, have publicly discussed their use of the product for weight-loss purposes.

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Wegovy was approved by the FDA in June 2021 for weight loss and weight management, intended for obesity patients ages 12 and older. 

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To ensure safety, experts advise following proper procedures when throwing away needles. If you are not sure of the guidelines in your area, check with your local health department.

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