What is Semaglutide?
Semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic, Rybelsus) is an FDA-approved medicine used for chronic weight management in individuals who are overweight or with general obesity with at least one weight-related disorder (such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure) in addition to increased physical activity or a reduced calorie diet. It is also used to lower blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of serious cardiovascular events such as stroke or heart attack in type 2 diabetes patients. Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist and works by increasing insulin release, reducing the amount of glucagon released, delaying gastric emptying, and reducing appetite. It is not for use in individuals with type 1 diabetes. Each of the different brands of semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic, Rybelsus) is FDA approved for different disorders.
What is the difference between Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus?
The different brands of semaglutide have different forms and different uses:
- Wegovy (subcutaneous injection) is employed for weight management for a particular group of patients and is administered as a subcutaneous injection weekly.
- Ozempic (subcutaneous injection) is employed for reducing blood sugar levels for type 2 diabetic patients, along with exercise and diet. It is also employed for diabetic patients who already have cardiovascular disease, to help reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as stroke or heart attack. Ozempic is administered as a subcutaneous injection weekly.
- Rybelsus (tablet) is employed to reduce blood sugar levels for type 2 diabetic patients along with diet and exercise and is given as a tablet once a day.
Indications for Semaglutide
Semaglutide is indicated for chronic weight management in individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 kg/m2 or greater who have at least one weight-related condition or in individuals with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater.
How Does Semaglutide Work?
About 70% of American adults are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese is a serious health problem connected with some leading causes of death, including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, and is associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Shedding 5 to 10 percent of body weight through exercise and diet has been linked with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease in adult patients with overweight or obesity. Semaglutide works by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that targets regions of the brain that control food intake and appetite. Clinical trials have established that semaglutide lowers glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels and decreased body weight, proving to be successful for individuals with weight-related disorders, such as type 2 diabetes.
The dose of semaglutide will be different for different patients. Follow your physician’s orders or the directions on the label.
For type 2 diabetes and reducing the risk of stroke or heart attack:
For injection dosage form (Ozempic® solution):
Adults – Initially, 0.25 milligrams injected under the skin in the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm as directed by your physician, once a week for 4 weeks. Your physician may increase your dose as needed. Nonetheless, the dose is typically not more than 2 mg once a week.
Children - Use and dose will be determined by your physician.
For weight management:
For injection dosage form (Wegovy™ solution):
Adults – Initially, 0.25 milligrams injected underneath the skin in the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm as directed by your physician, once a week for 4 weeks. Your physician may increase your dose every 4 weeks. Nonetheless, the dose is typically not more than 2.4 mg once a week.
Children – Use and dose will be determined by your physician.
What are the Precautions that Need to be Taken Before Taking Semaglutide?
You should not take semaglutide if you are allergic to it or if you have conditions, such as:
- Stomach or intestinal disorder
- Kidney disease
- Retinopathy (eye problems caused by diabetes)
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
- Family or personal history of thyroid cancer
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumors in your glands)
Side Effects of Semaglutide
Semaglutide may cause side effects, such as:
- Stomach pain
- Low blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes
- Flatulence (gas buildup)
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