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An In-Depth Guide to Semaglutides

  • Monday 24 July 2023
  • 5 minute(s) read
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Semaglutide, marketed under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy, is a medication that has gained significant attention for its potential in diabetes management and weight loss.

In this comprehensive article, we will dive into the world of semaglutides. We’ll explore how they work, their uses, potential side effects, administration methods, drug interactions, and recommended dosages for different conditions.

What Are Semaglutides and How Do They Work?

Semaglutides belong to a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs). These medications mimic the action of the GLP-1 hormone, which is naturally released in the small intestine after meals. 1

The GLP-1 hormone binds to receptors in the pancreas and the hypothalamus, it plays a vital role in regulating blood sugar levels and controlling appetite. 1 As such, semaglutides are used in varying dosages for both type 2 diabetes and weight loss.

What Are Semaglutides Used For?

Semaglutides & Type 2 Diabetes

For the management of type 2 diabetes, semaglutides are prescribed at a lower dosage under the brand name Ozempic.

Ozempic stimulates GLP-1 receptors in the pancreas to increase insulin release after meals and reduce blood sugar levels. This, in turn, helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues in adults with type 2 diabetes. 1

However, it is important to note that Ozempic is not a first-line therapy for patients who do not practice healthy diet and exercise. 2

an image showing a man

Semaglutides & Weight Loss

In higher dosages, semaglutides are marketed as Wegovy and have been shown to be effective in managing obesity. Wegovy acts on the hypothalamus, a part of the brain responsible for appetite regulation. 3

By targeting the hypothalamus, Wegovy reduces hunger by promoting the feeling of fullness, leading to better control over food intake. When combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, Wegovy can be a valuable tool in achieving and maintaining weight loss goals. 3

Your doctor may prescribe you Wegovy if you have a BMI of

  • 30 kg/m2 or greater
  • 27 kg/m2 or greater if you experience one or more weight-related comorbidities such as dyslipidemia, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or obstructive sleep apnea. 4

It is important to remember that semaglutides are not a standalone solution but rather a part of a comprehensive approach to health and well-being. Alongside these medications, adopting healthy lifestyle habits can make a significant difference in your health journey.

Semaglutide Side Effects

In this section, we’ve broken down the side effects of two common semaglutides: Ozempic and Wegovy.

Ozempic Side Effects

Commonly reported side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain 5

These side effects are usually mild and diminish over time as the body adjusts to the medication. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

The following symptoms require immediate medical attention:

  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Vision changes
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Kidney failure
  • Allergic reactions
  • Gallbladder issues 5

These side effects are serious, and you should seek immediate medical care or call 911 if you experience any of the above.

This list does not contain all the side effects associated with Ozempic. If you have any questions or troubling symptoms, please contact your physician. You can also contact us with any concerns or side effects-related questions.

a man experiencing the side effects of semaglutide

Wegovy Side Effects

Commonly reported side effects include: 

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Bloating
  • Stomach flu
  • Heartburn
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose 6

These side effects are typically temporary and may diminish over time. However, if symptoms persist, please contact your physician.

Serious side effects include: 

  • Kidney failure
  • Allergic reactions
  • Changes in vision
  • Gallbladder issues
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Increased heart rate
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts 6

Seek medical attention or call 911 immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms.

How Are Semaglutides Administered?

When you’re prescribed Ozempic or Wegovy, your doctor will provide you with proper training in self-administering these medications. Both medications are typically taken once a week using a convenient pre-filled pen. 6 7

Semaglutides are injected subcutaneously (just below the skin) into the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Rotating these injection sites to prevent reactions such as redness or irritation is essential. 6 7

Semaglutide Dosages

Ozempic Dosages

Ozempic is typically prescribed in a two-phase dosing schedule. Your physician will prescribe a starting dosage of 0.25 mg once weekly for the first four weeks so your body has a chance of getting used to the medication. Afterward, your dosage will increase to 0.5 mg once weekly for the next four weeks. 7

If you still require additional blood sugar control, your physician will increase your dosage to either 1 mg once weekly or 2 mg once weekly. The maximum dosage for Ozempic is 2 mg once weekly. 7

Wegovy Dosages

To achieve weight loss with Wegovy, your doctor will prescribe a 5-stage dosing schedule. The dosing schedule starts at 0.25 mg once weekly and increases every four weeks until you reach the full dose of 2.4 mg once weekly. 6

We’ve included the Wegovy dosing schedule below:

Wegovy dosing schedule

+ 6

Maintaining the full dose of 2.4 mg once a week is essential for optimal weight loss. 6

Semaglutide Drug Interactions

Before putting together a treatment plan that includes semaglutide, your doctor will take a look at your current medications to ensure there are no potential drug interactions that could occur.

We’ve included a helpful table below outlining some Ozempic and Wegovy drug interactions.

Semaglutide drug interactions

* 8 + 4

Conclusion

With their ability to regulate blood sugar levels, suppress appetite, and promote weight loss, semaglutide has revolutionized the management of type 2 diabetes and weight loss. Like any medication, it is important to discuss the use, dosage, and side effects of semaglutide with your doctor before starting treatment.

At mailMymeds, we are committed to helping you achieve your health goals. By combining a healthy diet and the right amount of exercise with prescription meds like Ozempic or Wegovy, your ideal weight will be within reach. Read more about weight loss treatments in our related articles below, or browse other health topics in our blog today.

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