Semaglutide is an injectable medication which, when used in combination with diet and exercise, helps with blood sugar control in type 2 diabetics. Semaglutide belongs to a class of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, which mimic the hormone GLP-1 in your body to lower blood sugar levels after you’ve eaten a meal. Even if you are not diabetic or have insulin resistance, Semaglutide has been shown to melt fat and contribute to significant weight loss!
Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is a hormone that causes dramatic effects on the regulation of blood sugar by stimulating glucose-dependent insulin secretion. Insulin is a hormone that promotes sugar uptake by the cells, stores sugar as glycogen, promotes the building of fat, and signals the body to build skeletal muscle. In addition, GLP-1 inhibits glucagon release (which slows down the release of sugar into the blood so that you burn more fat), slow down gastric emptying (makes you feel fuller longer), and suppresses appetite.
GLP-1 agonists like Semaglutide help to control blood sugar, but those taking them also tend to lose weight. GLP-1, the key hormone involved, slows down how fast your stomach empties food. In addition to causing the pancreas to release insulin, Semaglutide blocks the hormone that signals the liver to release sugar. Together, these functions help you feel less hungry, eat less, and lose weight.
All patients start on the lowest dose of Semaglutide at 0.25mg injected subcutaneously into belly fat once weekly. Patients increase 0.25mg (10U) monthly if well tolerated (slower if nauseous or GI upset), up to a total of 2.4mgs. The dosing being studied for weight loss was 2.4mg once weekly (after slow increase), which is currently higher than the doses approved in diabetes. What’s more, Semaglutide is being studied in a different population: people with body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30kg/m2 alone or 27kg/m2 with at least one weight-related comorbidity.
You will slowly work your way up to the target dose at which time you will see the most amount of weight loss. This was the case in clinical trials, where participants had their dose adjusted until they reached 2.4mg once weekly. In the phase 3 trial it measured outcomes at 20 weeks, most participants were able to reach the full dose and lost weight as the dose was increased. They saw additional weight loss over the remaining 48 weeks at the full dose. It is important to keep in mind that weight loss takes time, and you’ll see the best results when you are using Semaglutide in combination with healthy diet and exercise. Although rare, some medications may not work for you or you won’t tolerate the full dose due to unpleasant side effects.
No, Semaglutide is not a type of insulin or a substitute for insulin. Semaglutide does stimulate your pancreas to release insulin when glucose (sugar) IS present. Semaglutide relies upon your body’s own insulin production for this effect, Semaglutide isn’t used when your pancreas is no longer making insulin such as type 1 diabetics.
No, Semaglutide is not a stimulant. While other weight loss medications, like phentermine, have stimulating effects that help curb your appetite, Semaglutide works differently (see above).
Yes. Semaglutide is considered to be safe and effective when used as prescribed. But safe doesn’t mean without risks. Semaglutide also carries a boxed warning about thyroid C-cell tumors occurring in rodent studies (with unknown risks in humans). Semaglutide shouldn’t be used if you or your family have a history of certain thyroid cancers. Semaglutide should not be used if you are taking other blood sugar medications.
No. Semaglutide is not typically covered by insurance for those who are not type two diabetics.
The most common side effects of Semaglutide are:
Effects like nausea and diarrhea are the most common and have been found to be be minimized when taken with B12 injections.
Although rare, Semaglutide has been reported to cause the following side effects:
Serious allergic reactions. Stop using Semaglutide and get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of serious allergic reaction, including swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat; problems breathing or swallowing, severe rash or itching, fainting or feeling dizzy, or severe rapid heartbeat.