Can Ozempic Cause Kidney Stones? Risks, Statistics, and Facts

Ozempic, a brand name for the drug semaglutide, has become a household name for many looking to manage their type 2 diabetes or embark on a weight loss journey. As with any medication, questions about side effects and potential risks are natural. One such concern that has emerged is whether Ozempic can cause kidney stones. Let’s dive into this topic to provide a clear and comprehensive understanding.

Key Points

  • No Direct Link: Current evidence does not directly link Ozempic to kidney stone formation, though side effects like dehydration and rapid weight loss could indirectly increase risk.
  • Potential Indirect Risks: Factors such as dehydration, rapid weight loss, dietary changes, and gastrointestinal effects may contribute to kidney stone formation while using Ozempic.
  • Preventive Measures: Staying hydrated, managing side effects, and consulting healthcare providers can help mitigate potential risks associated with Ozempic use.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, a class of medications that mimic the effects of the GLP-1 hormone in your body. GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) helps to regulate blood sugar levels, promotes insulin secretion, and slows down gastric emptying. This combination of effects makes Ozempic effective in managing type 2 diabetes and assisting with weight loss. Since its approval by the FDA, it has been hailed for its efficacy, but like all medications, it comes with a profile of potential side effects.

Understanding Kidney Stones

Before delving into the connection between Ozempic and kidney stones, it’s essential to understand what kidney stones are. Kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Common symptoms include severe pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and blood in the urine. They can form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.

The Link Between Ozempic and Kidney Stones

To date, there is no direct evidence linking Ozempic to the formation of kidney stones. Clinical trials and studies conducted on Ozempic have not identified kidney stones as a common or notable side effect. However, this does not completely rule out the possibility of a connection. It’s important to note that the occurrence of side effects can vary widely among individuals due to different health conditions, genetic predispositions, and other medications they might be taking.

What Do the Studies Say?

Clinical studies on Ozempic primarily focus on its effectiveness in managing diabetes and promoting weight loss. For instance, the SUSTAIN clinical trial program, which includes a series of phase 3 trials, has shown that Ozempic significantly improves glycemic control and aids in weight loss. The most commonly reported side effects include gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, but kidney stones have not emerged as a prevalent concern.

Potential Indirect Links

While there is no direct evidence that Ozempic causes kidney stones, there are a few indirect factors to consider:

  • Dehydration
    Dehydration is a well-known risk factor for kidney stone formation. One of the side effects of Ozempic is nausea, which can reduce a person's appetite and fluid intake. This reduction in fluid intake can lead to concentrated urine, providing a favorable environment for kidney stones to develop. Ensuring adequate hydration is vital for patients on Ozempic to mitigate this risk (BioMed Central).
  • Weight Loss
    Rapid weight loss, which is a potential benefit of Ozempic, can also increase the risk of kidney stones. When the body breaks down fat rapidly, it can lead to increased levels of certain waste products, such as uric acid, in the urine. High levels of uric acid can contribute to the formation of uric acid stones, one type of kidney stone (American College of Cardiology) (BioMed Central).
  • Dietary Changes
    Patients on Ozempic often make significant lifestyle and dietary changes to support their weight loss goals. While these changes are generally positive, certain dietary adjustments can inadvertently increase the risk of kidney stones. For example, a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet might increase the excretion of calcium and oxalate in the urine, leading to a higher likelihood of calcium oxalate stones.
  • Gastrointestinal Effects
    The gastrointestinal side effects of Ozempic, such as vomiting and diarrhea, can lead to loss of fluids and electrolytes. This loss can further contribute to dehydration, increasing the risk of kidney stones. Patients experiencing these side effects should seek medical advice to manage symptoms effectively and maintain adequate hydration (Diabetes Journals).

Statistics and Facts

  • According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), about 11% of men and 6% of women in the U.S. will have a kidney stone at some point in their life. The incidence of kidney stones has been increasing over the past several decades, particularly in developed countries.
  • About 50% of individuals who develop a kidney stone will experience a recurrence within 10 years. This highlights the importance of preventive measures and lifestyle adjustments (American College of Cardiology).
  • Kidney stones are more common in men than women. Men typically experience their first episode between the ages of 30 and 50, while women tend to develop stones in their 50s to 70s (BioMed Central).
  • The prevalence of kidney stones varies by region. For instance, people living in warmer climates, such as the southeastern United States, are at higher risk due to increased dehydration rates (BioMed Central).
  • Dehydration is a significant risk factor; ensuring adequate fluid intake is crucial for prevention.

Practical Tips for Ozempic Users

If you are taking Ozempic or considering it, here are some practical tips to help mitigate any potential risks related to kidney stones:

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Aim for at least eight glasses, but more if you are active or live in a hot climate.

Regular Check-Ups

Regular visits to your healthcare provider can help monitor your kidney function and catch any potential issues early.

Monitor Your Diet

Reduce the intake of foods high in oxalates, sodium, and animal protein, which can increase the risk of kidney stones.

Manage Side Effects

If you experience nausea or vomiting, speak with your doctor about how to manage these symptoms to ensure you maintain adequate hydration.


While the fear of kidney stones can be concerning, current evidence does not support a direct link between Ozempic and kidney stone formation. However, understanding the indirect factors and taking preventive measures can help mitigate any risks. Always consult with your healthcare provider about any concerns you have regarding medications and their side effects. By staying informed and proactive, you can safely manage your health while reaping the benefits of treatments like Ozempic.

Remember, your health journey is unique, and staying educated about your options and potential risks is the best way to ensure a safe and effective treatment plan. If you have any specific concerns or experience symptoms related to kidney stones, seek medical advice promptly.

By taking a balanced approach and maintaining open communication with your healthcare provider, you can navigate the complexities of managing your health with confidence.

About the author 

James Carter

I am James Carter, founder of Wellness for Youth. My journey in the health industry spans over 20 years, during which I have specialized in health, personal training, wellness and supplementation. I am passionate about promoting holistic wellness and better health practices. My mission with this platform is to deliver practical, scientifically grounded resources that cater to the diverse needs of our community, ensuring that everyone can achieve optimal health and wellness.

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