If you're using semaglutide, available under the brand names Ozempic for diabetes and Wegovy for weight loss, or in its compounded form, knowing how to store your vials and pens is very important-more than you might think!

Semaglutide is delicate medication with a complex biological composition, and it requires strict storage protocols to maintain its effectiveness. As a general rule, semaglutide must be kept refrigerated before use and has a limited shelf life at room temperature. But it's a bit more intricate than that and there are many nuances to consider depending on the type of semaglutide you're using and other factors.

In this guide, we dive into the best tips and practices for storing semaglutide, why temperatures matter for your treatment's efficacy and safety, and provide helpful answers to common questions about semaglutide refrigeration and storage temperatures, including:

  • Why does semaglutide need to be refrigerated?
  • How long does it last in the fridge?
  • How long can it be at room temperature?
  • What to do if your semaglutide gets warm?
  • What if it wasn't delivered cold?
  • Is it safe to use expired semaglutide?
  • How to keep it cool when traveling?
  • Can it freeze?
  • And much more!
4AllFamily travel cooling cases for Semaglutide injections

Related article: Does Ozempic Need to Be Refrigerated? Storage and Refrigeration Tips!

Does Semaglutide Need to Be Refrigerated?

The short answer is yes. Whether it's Ozempic, Wegovy, or compounded semaglutide, all forms and brands of semaglutide need to be refrigerated before use. Ideally, your refrigerator's temperature must be set between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C), with minimal fluctuations.

You must place your Ozempic or Wegovy semaglutide injections, or your vials of compounded semaglutide in the refrigerator as soon as you get back from the pharmacy.

After opening, semaglutide can be kept at room temperature for a certain period, which varies depending on the product.

Why does semaglutide have to be refrigerated?

Like for most biological drugs, refrigeration is key to slowing down the biological or chemical processes that might degrade semaglutide. Keeping it refrigerated before opening ensures that the medication's integrity is maintained, preventing the active ingredients from breaking down prematurely. This is crucial for ensuring that each dose of semaglutide is as effective as the last and your medical treatment is optimal.

Related article: How to Store Wegovy: Refrigeration and Out-of-Fridge Lifespan.

How long does semaglutide last in the fridge?

When correctly stored in the refrigerator at the recommended temperature, and assuming the cold chain has never been broken, semaglutide lasts until the expiration date labeled by the manufacturer on its packaging and containers.

Generally, this "official" expiration date occurs from a few months to a year after the purchase date, though it can vary depending on the manufacturer, specific batches, and the preservatives used in compound formulation.

What happens if semaglutide is unrefrigerated for too long?

Leaving semaglutide out of the fridge for too long can lead to its accelerated degradation or bacterial growth, making it less effective, not effective at all, or even unsafe to use.

However, short periods without refrigeration don't immediately compromise your semaglutide injections. For instance, laboratory tests from Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Wegovy and Ozempic, have shown that these semaglutide formulations can safely stay unrefrigerated for up to 28 days for Wegovy and 56 days for Ozempic without losing efficacy or risking contamination. The variance between the two is due to different concentrations and preservatives used in each medication. For compounded semaglutide, always check the specific storage requirements directly with the compounding pharmacy.

In any case, once your semaglutide pens or vials have spent more than the recommended time out of the fridge, they must be discarded, even if there's still medicine inside.

Related article: How to Travel with Ozempic: Travel Cases and Flying Tips!

Medical travel coolers for transporting semaglutide

How Long Can Semaglutide Stay Out of the Fridge?

Once you begin using a semaglutide vial or pen, how long it can stay out of the fridge depends on the specific product:

  • Ozempic (semaglutide injections prescribed for type 2 diabetes) can stay out of the fridge for up to 56 days.
  • Wegovy (semaglutide injections prescribed for weight loss) can stay unrefrigerated for up to 28 days.
  • Compounded semaglutide vials can generally stay unrefrigerated for shorter time, but it depends on the specific formulation and the preservatives used.

Related article: Traveling with Wegovy: Travel Cases and Flying Tips!

How to store semaglutide at room temperature?

Even though you can store semaglutide at room temperature for the allowed time, it must be done correctly. Indeed, while unrefrigerated, the medication still requires some storage precautions and should always be protected from temperatures above 86°F (30°C) and direct light.

Here are some tips and real-life strategies to store semaglutide safely at room temperature:

  • Protecting it from light: When possible, keep your semaglutide vials and pens in their original carton. Many medications come in opaque or amber-colored pens or vials precisely for this reason, but if additional protection is needed, consider storing them in a dark drawer or a medicine cabinet away from light. Never leave semaglutide on a windowsill or anywhere that sunlight can directly hit it. UV rays can degrade the medication faster than normal.
  • Control the temperature: Regularly check the room temperature where your semaglutide is stored. Even indoor environments can fluctuate, especially near kitchens, windows, or heating elements. Always keep semaglutide away from direct heat sources such as radiators, stoves, ovens, and electronic devices that may emit heat.
  • Transport semaglutide in cooling cases: When you need to carry your semaglutide injections with you, a medical-grade cooling case can really make the difference, especially during summer days where the temperature can get above 86°F (30°C).

Remember to stay informed and refer to the specific storage instructions provided by your pharmacist or the medication's packaging. Different formulations of semaglutide might have slightly different storage requirements.

Can you re-refrigerate semaglutide after opening?

Well, it depends, and things are not that clear across all semaglutide formulations.

For example, according to Novo Nordisk, you can place Ozempic back in the refrigerator after it's been at room temperature. But the manufacturer does not specify if it's safe for Wegovy. For compounded semaglutide, as always, check the specific requirements to know if it's safe to return it to the refrigerator after opening.

In any case, re-refrigerating semaglutide won't extend its lifespan. Once it has been opened and unrefrigerated, it must be used within its allowed timeframe, regardless of whether you put it back in the fridge. Re-refrigeration doesn't reset the allowable room temperature duration!

Related article: Wegovy Vs. Ozempic: Comparing 2 Semaglutide Injections.

What happens if semaglutide gets warm?

If semaglutide gets warm, it can undergo rapid degradation. This not only reduces its effectiveness but may also pose health risks, making it crucial to keep it cool, even when unrefrigerated.

Exposures to temperatures above 86°F (30°C), even for a brief period, are really not good for your injections. And it's surprisingly common for medications like semaglutide to accidentally become too warm, way more often than you might expect!

For instance, one common mistake is leaving semaglutide in a car, especially during hot weather. Cars can quickly heat up to temperatures well over 100°F (38°C), far exceeding what semaglutide can tolerate.

Storing semaglutide vials or pens near a window where it is exposed to direct sunlight can also cause the temperature to rise rapidly, risking its stability.

Or, placing semaglutide near heat sources such as ovens, radiators, or in rooms with poor ventilation (like a bathroom where hot steam is common) is another common scenario where your medication will get too warm for safe use.

Related article: How to Store Zepbound? Does it Need to Be Refrigerated?

Semaglutide Refrigeration and Storage Temperatures: FAQs

How to keep semaglutide cool when traveling?

Keeping semaglutide cold when traveling is crucial for maintaining its efficacy.

When traveling with unrefrigerated semaglutide pens or vials: If there's a chance that the ambient temperature will exceed 30°C (86°F), it's important to carry your semaglutide in a medical-grade cooler. This helps protect the medication from excessive heat and ensures it stays within a safe room temperature range.

When traveling with semaglutide needs to be refrigerated: For journeys where continuous refrigeration is necessary, using a refrigerated cooling case is essential. This type of cooler function like real portable mini-fridges and will maintain the temperature between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) throughout your trip.

Keeping semaglutide cold and refrigerated while traveling

Related article: How to Travel with Semaglutide?

Does semaglutide expire?

Absolutely, semaglutide does come with an expiration date. You'll find this date clearly marked on each pen or vial of Ozempic, Wegovy, or compound semaglutide.

But remember that semaglutide is also subject to a secondary expiration date: the one that occurs 28 or 56 days after you've removed Wegovy or Ozempic from the refrigerator. If you're using compounded semaglutide, these time frames might differ, so always check with your pharmacist or consult the storage guidelines provided with your prescription.

Moreover, semaglutide expires immediately if exposed to temperatures above 86°F (30°C)!

Related article: How to Use an Ozempic pen?

What happens if you use expired semaglutide?

Like with any medication, using expired semaglutide is a bad idea; it can pose a risk to your health and significantly reduce the medication's effectiveness, impacting your health and the success of your diabetes or weight-loss treatment.

To avoid confusion, always check the expiration date printed on the label before each injection. When you first take it out of the fridge, note that date on the pen or vial, or keep a note on your calendar to keep track of how many days it's been unrefrigerated. And immediately dispose of any expired pens or vials of semaglutide!

Related article: The Do's and Don'ts of Tirzepatide Refrigeration and Storage.

Can you freeze semaglutide?

No, semaglutide should never be frozen. Freezing can damage the medication's molecular structure and make it irreversibly ineffective, even if it thaws afterwards.

Here are a few tips to prevent semaglutide from accidentally freezing:

  • Store your vials and pens in the middle of the fridge, away from the freezer section. The middle shelf is typically the safest spot to avoid freezing.
  • Be cautious with DIY cooling bags: When using DIY cooling bags made with ice to transport your semaglutide injections, be careful. Direct contact with ice can freeze your medication. It's best to use medical-grade coolers with anti-freeze safety features, like the ones from 4Allfamily. 
  • Protect your medication in extreme cold weather: If you live in or are traveling to places with extreme cold, keep your semaglutide in an inside pocket so your body warmth prevents it from freezing.
Portable travel coolers for medications


Does semaglutide go bad?

Yes, semaglutide can go bad in several ways:

  • If passed its expiration date.
  • If unrefrigerated for too long.
  • If exposed to heat or light.

While it's not always visible, there are a few signs that may indicate your semaglutide has gone bad, including:

  • Change in appearance: The liquid inside the pen or vial should be clear and colorless. If you notice any discoloration, cloudiness, or particles floating in the liquid, it's likely that semaglutide is bad.
  • Reduced effectiveness, especially if using Ozempic or compound semaglutide for blood sugar control. If you notice that your blood sugar levels are not being managed as effectively as usual, this could be a sign that the semaglutide is no longer working properly.

If you have any doubts about whether your semaglutide is still good to use, it's best not to take any risks. Stop using this pen or vial, get a new one from the refrigerator and ask for your pharmacist or doctor's advice.

What to do if you forgot to refrigerate semaglutide?

If you forget to refrigerate semaglutide but catch the mistake within a few minutes and the medication has not been exposed to heat, it can be returned to the fridge without issue.

However, if it has been out for a few hours or you've left it out overnight, it's reached room temperature. In this case, it's still okay to use, but you must use it within the timeframe it can stay unrefrigerated. For Wegovy, that's up to 28 days, and for Ozempic, it's up to 56 days. For compounded semaglutide, always check with your pharmacist or refer to the specific instructions provided. And remember, if there's any doubt, it's safer to consult a pharmacist.

Related article: A Step-by-Step Guide to Injecting Wegovy the Right Way.

What if your semaglutide was delivered warm?

If your semaglutide wasn't cold when delivered to your door, or worst if it was warm, don't panic! The first thing to do is contact your supplier or pharmacy immediately. Explain the situation and express your concerns about potential temperature exposure during shipment.

It's often best to request a replacement to ensure the medication's integrity and effectiveness. Most suppliers understand the importance of proper storage conditions and will arrange for a new shipment if there's any doubt about the medication's safety.

In the meantime, store the medication in the refrigerator until you receive further instructions.

Related article: Switching from Wegovy to Zepbound: What You Should Know.

Can you inject semaglutide cold from the fridge?

Yes, you can inject semaglutide cold directly from the fridge. However, letting it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before the injection may feel more comfortable. While it's safe and effective too, injecting cold medication may cause more resistance and pain at the injection site. But never warm up the vial or pen. Let it reach room temperature naturally.

We'd Love to Hear From You!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share your story. Whether it's a clever trick to keep semaglutide correctly stored at the right temperature or a question about its storage requirements, we're all ears!

June 07, 2024

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The information presented in this article and its comment section is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns or questions you may have.