What Is Semaglutide? – A Complete Guide to the Weight Loss and Diabetes Medication

Used initially as a diabetes medication, semaglutide is also effective in managing weight loss. It comes down to controlling blood sugar, whereas additional ingredients help reduce hunger.

If you drink alcohol, stress, or skip meals, you could be affecting your blood sugar negatively. There are ways to appease these problems, but sometimes, controlling blood sugar is more complex and requires supplementary medication.

Since I started using semaglutide, I have experienced positive changes in my weight loss management. Continue reading to learn all you need to know as you consider including it in your lifestyle.

What Is Semaglutide Generic for?

Semaglutide is a medicine for chronic weight management that assists people in lowering blood sugar and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and other issues, such as heart attack and stroke – particularly for people with type two diabetes.

However, you do not have to have high blood sugar or diabetes to take certain types of semaglutide medications. Examples of these medications include:

What Are the Differences Between Semaglutide Brand Names?

It is critical to note that not all semaglutide medications are the same. Only one of the examples listed above – Wegovy – is FDA approved for weight loss. Nevertheless, doctors can prescribe other semaglutide medications off-label.

Wegovy and Ozempic are administered through injections. Whereas Wegovy is used for weight loss, Ozempic’s official purpose is to lower blood sugar among patients with type two diabetes along with diet and exercise. It also assists with cardiovascular disease.

Rybelsis is a tablet, which many prefer to an injection. Its purpose is similar to Ozempic in that it works to control blood sugar levels with a sufficient diet and exercise program for patients with type two diabetes.

Wegovy Semaglutide

What Is Semaglutide for Weight Loss?

Semaglutide is a medication that mimics the GLP-1 hormone, which the body releases upon eating. It produces insulin to reduce blood sugar within the body. Resultingly, patients can effectively manage their diabetes.

The medication also works with the part of the brain that signals hunger. Semaglutide acts as an appetite suppressant, which aids in weight loss alongside diet and exercise. What’s more, it prevents cancer and heart disease.

What Is the Semaglutide Injection?

Semaglutide is often put into the body through injections. While there are oral tablet alternatives not geared toward weight loss, injections are not too challenging to administer.

When I started with semaglutide, I was concerned about the injection component. However, my doctor helped ease my worries by showing me how to inject the medication safely.

You should always chat with your doctor about being confident in giving yourself the injections and following any other directions.

How Effective Is Semaglutide?

There are weight loss medications that specifically work to lower your body weight. I have also tried the ever-present method of eating fewer calories and exercising more often. However, these attempts do not have a leg up on semaglutide.

According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, almost 70 percent of participants lost at least 10 percent of their body weight after 68 weeks of taking the medication.

A little more than 50 percent of participants lost 15 percent or more of their body weight.

As such, semaglutide effectively helps people manage weight loss. It is no wonder why the drug is in low shortage. Everyone wants to try it out – so much so that, unfortunately, some people with type two diabetes cannot easily acquire it.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you are like me, it is not challenging to forget to take medications. Even though I have pills and supplements galore that I must take, there is always a possibility I could forget one. That’s why I have a strict routine I carry out each morning. Nevertheless, if you accidentally miss a dose, you should contact your doctor for medical advice.

Here is what I was told to do:

If you are using an injection, such as Ozempic, inject the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if more than five days have passed since the date you were supposed to take it, skip the missed dose and continue with your usual schedule.

If the next dose is less than 48 hours away, you should also skip the missed dose.

In addition, you should never inject two doses at once to make up for a missed dose. If there is a situation in which you forget a dose for two weeks or more, then contact your doctor immediately.

Contact the Poison Control Center if you believe you have overdosed.

Possible Side Effects

As with any other medication, you should be aware of the possible side effects of semaglutide. In general, they are mild but can cause discomfort. Users should be aware of the following effects:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain

Gastrointestinal problems are the most common for people using the semaglutide injection for the first time. Talk to your doctor about starting with a lower dose so that your body adjusts to the medication before taking more.

Signs of an Unusual or Allergic Reaction

Some side effects are not normal when taking weight loss medication. The semaglutide injection could cause allergic reactions as a sign that your body cannot process an ingredient.

Signs of allergies to the medication include:

  • Hives or itching
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling in the face, tongue, or throat

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away. Healthcare professionals are most likely going to recommend you stop usage after stabilizing the reaction.

Other serious side effects can occur, which require users to seek medical attention right away:

Low Blood Sugar

High Blood Sugar

Semaglutide is meant to treat high blood sugar, but it could take this function too far. Common symptoms of low blood sugar include headache, weakness, hunger, fast heartbeat, jitteriness, confusion, sweating, and dizziness.

If you believe you are experiencing low blood sugar, call your doctor.

The medical professional may tell you to always have a quick source of sugar on hand, such as glucose tablets, to prevent these symptoms from occurring. Nevertheless, it is always crucial to tell your doctor about these happenings.

Severe Stomach Pain or Stomach Flu Symptoms

The diabetes medication could give rise to extreme stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. These could all be signs that you should stop taking semaglutide, so contact a trusted health professional if these symptoms occur.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis or Gallbladder Disease

Symptoms that feel like pancreatitis include severe pain in the upper stomach that accompanies nausea and possibly vomiting.

Additionally, symptoms that feel like gallbladder disease are signs of a severe reaction. These include fever, upper stomach pain, and jaundice.

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

The semaglutide injection could cause signs that point toward thyroid tumors. If you notice a lump or swelling in the area around the throat, have trouble swallowing, feel short of breath, or experience a hoarse voice, this could be thyroid cancer.

Miscellaneous Symptoms

Some other side effects of the weight loss medication include:

  • Vision changes or eye problems
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Changes in mood
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Kidney problems

All these symptoms could point to something more severe. Therefore, you should contact your doctor if you experience any of the above problems.

You’ll also need to know foods to avoid while taking semaglutide as some can make you sick.

How to Administer a Semaglutide Injection

While these are the steps that I take to receive the semaglutide injection, you should always confirm with your doctor. They understand your medical problems and how best to use the medication.

Nevertheless, here are the rules that I follow to give you a better picture of how taking semaglutide looks:

I use the semaglutide injection, which I can apply in my upper arm, thigh, or stomach area. My doctor told me to rotate the semaglutide injection site each time that I administered the medication to myself.

If you store the medication in the refrigerator, ensure that it warms to room temperature before injecting it.

I receive my semaglutide in a prefilled injection pen that has a dosage of 2.4 mg. My doctor started me on a lower dose so that my body could accustom itself to the drug. I inject the medicine once per week on the same day.

While it does not have to be at the same time, I stick to a schedule so that I do not disrupt the process.

I have been told that you can adjust the day on which you receive the diabetes medication, but it should be more than 48 hours since your previous dose.

Do not stop taking semaglutide unless your doctor has directed you to do so. The medication helps with a weight-related condition but is not a cure-all. There was a time when I started feeling better than ever and wanted to stop taking semaglutide. However, my doctor told me to continue using it. There is a reason you start feeling so good.

Always read the manufacturers and prescription labels. Consult your doctor if you have specific questions and always refer to a healthcare professional to understand your specific situation with the semaglutide injection.

If you accidentally skip a dose, I recommend referring to the prescription or calling your doctor about taking the next dose.

Contact the Poison Control Center if you are experiencing an overdose.

Who Should Take Semaglutide Injections?

Semaglutide for weight loss is directed to people who experience at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure and type two diabetes. Additionally, people with a body mass index of more than 27 kg/m2 should consider the medication.

Tell your doctor that you are considering this option to manage these conditions if they have not recommended it yet.

Who Should Avoid the Medication?

Due to the possible side effects and severe reactions that could arise, certain people should avoid the semaglutide injection if they have a medical history that consists of any of the following:

  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)
  • Gallbladder problems or gallbladder disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma

Tell your doctor if you are considering this diabetes and weight loss medication yet have experienced any of the above problems. They can help you find the next best solution.

Before Using Semaglutide

I always try to ensure that I fully understand a medicine before taking it. As a result, I highly recommend that you talk to your healthcare professional so that you are ready to inject semaglutide regularly into your body.

Before using this medication, you must tell your doctor your medical history, especially if you have experienced kidney disease, gastrointestinal issues, or eye problems. They may redirect you to another weight loss solution.

Additionally, personal or family history affects whether you can take the medicine. You should have a general understanding of your family’s medical history before taking semaglutide.

You should also inform your doctor about any dietary supplements or other medications you take, as this can affect how your body reacts to the drug.

Finally, always mention to your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you plan to get pregnant, there is a certain time you must pass without taking semaglutide injections before carrying.

Controlling diabetes and weight is critical for a healthy pregnancy, so your doctor may guide you to a safer medication.

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons to take semaglutide for diabetes and weight loss management. Most of the brands treat diabetes and other weight-related problems that can be resolved through weight loss.

Only Wegovy is approved by the FDA to be used for weight loss, yet some doctors can prescribe the drug off-label.

Since starting my journey with semaglutide, I have experienced improvements in managing my weight. However, I ensure that I get plenty of exercise through daily walks and the occasional recreation class, of course.

Using this medication has given me more confidence in upholding a healthier lifestyle while keeping a weight that prevents further medical conditions.

If you have certain medical problems, such as multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome or an acute kidney injury, doctors advise you to find another solution. As medicine becomes more advanced, medical professionals can help you find the best fix.

Overall, my life has changed for the better by using semaglutide.

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