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What is semaglutide?

Do you dream of a reduced appetite? Is your waist circumference larger than you’d like?

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What is semaglutide and how does it work?

Do you dream of a reduced appetite? Is your waist circumference larger than you’d like?

If you struggle with your body weight and you can’t lose weight, semaglutide injection could be the weight loss solution you’ve been looking for.

The new weight loss drug

If you require a lifestyle intervention to help you with weight loss because you eat large portions, semaglutide could be the weight loss solution to help you tackle weight gain.

If you’re looking to reduce your body weight and make significant reductions in the amount of food you eat, you’ll be amazed at the semaglutide treatment effect.

When used in conjunction with a reduced calorie intake diet and increased physical exercise, clinical trials have shown semaglutide to help with weight loss in obese adults living with type 2 diabetes.

What is semaglutide?

Semaglutide is a part of a class of medicines known as GLP-1 receptor agonists.

It works by mimicking the action of GLP-1, a naturally occurring hormone that helps our bodies regulate blood sugar levels.

It binds to the the GLP-1 receptor and stimulates insulin secretion, helping lower glucagon secretion when your blood glucose levels are high.

But that’s not all.

Semaglutide injections have also been proven to be an effective medication to reduce the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes.

Semaglutide injection has also been found, when taken alongside a reduced calorie intake diet and increased exercise programme, to help control blood sugar levels in adults living with type 2 diabetes.

Meaning, when used in conjunction with lifestyle changes such as a reducing food intake and increased exercise, and regularly checking blood glucose levels, semaglutide doesn’t just help manage diabetes, it helps you lose weight.

As an aside, semaglutide injections are not used to treat type 1 diabetes, nor is it used to treat diabetic ketoacidosis.

How does semaglutide aid weight loss?

One of the upsides of semaglutide injections has been to help people lose weight, in particular, people who have a high body mass index, who have previously struggled with weight gain, or who can’t keep the weight off.

For patients with type 2 diabetes, semaglutide injections are used to improve blood sugar control (glycemic control). It helps the pancreas with insulin secretion when blood sugar levels are high.

But how does it help with weight loss?

One of the side effects of semaglutide is that it slows gastric emptying, which, as well as signalling to our brain that we’re full, it reduces appetite, which aids weight loss.

How can I start using semaglutide injection?

Your doctor will give you a starting dose of just 0.25 mg. You will then increase your once weekly injection every four weeks until you’re on the higher dose – 2.4 mg.

While semaglutide is used to treat diabetes and aid weight loss, it isn’t a cure. You need to follow your regular dosing schedule as instructed by your healthcare professionals, even after you’ve lost weight, to ensure the weight stays off.

And if you’ve forgotten to take your scheduled dose, take your next scheduled dose as soon as you remember.

What should I know about the weight loss drug Wegovy?

Before taking semaglutide injection, always read the manufacturer’s instructions.

It’s important to tell your health care professionals if you take any other medications as they could affect how your body absorbs the medicine.

Family history

Tell your doctor immediately if you have ever had allergic reactions to semaglutide, or any other drugs with the similar ingredients.

Also tell your doctor if you have a family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type, or medullary thyroid carcinoma, or if you have thyroid cancer or thyroid c cell tumors, as you should not take semaglutide.

Inform health care professionals if you have ever had pancreatitis, diabetic retinopathy or kidney problems.

Planned pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you plan on becoming pregnant as they may advise you come off semaglutide injections two months before your planned pregnancy.

Pregnant women should tell the doctor immediately if they are using a semaglutide injection.

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Potential side effects of taking semaglutide for weight loss

It might seem like semaglutide is the answer to weight loss if you have type 2 diabetes. However like all medicines, it has potential side effects including:

  • low blood sugar levels

  • abdominal pain

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • diarrhea

The New England Journal reported the occurrence of thyroid C-cell tumours after trials of semaglutide injections in rats. However, it is not yet known if this medicine increases the risk of tumours in humans.

Semaglutide may also increase the risk of pancreatitis.

There have also been reports of kidney damage too.

Anaphylaxis and angioedema have also been reported as rare side effects.

Top Tips for taking semaglutide

Take oral semaglutide once a day. If you have difficulty swallowing pills, take it with a glass of water (120ml) at least 30 minutes before eating or other medications.

Swallow oral semaglutide tablets whole, don’t crush them.

If you miss a dose, take your next dose the next day.

If you’re prescribed an injection pen, the injection site is either in the subcutaneous skin of your upper arm, abdomen or thigh. Change injection sites every week so you don’t get a sore spot.

If you take semaglutide injections along with other medication such as insulin injections, space the injection sites 15 cm apart. Never mix your semaglutide injection with your insulin.

The drug interactions could result in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels), so make sure you routinely check your blood sugars.

Don’t reduce your intake to a lower dose without consultation with your prescriber.

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