Semaglutide is a prescription medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that works by increasing insulin secretion, suppressing glucagon secretion, and slowing down the absorption of glucose from the gut. In addition to its blood sugar-lowering effects, semaglutide can also promote weight loss.
How Does semaglutide Help with Weight Loss?
Semaglutide is believed to work by suppressing appetite and reducing food intake, which leads to a calorie deficit and ultimately results in weight loss over time. GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide also delay gastric emptying, which means that food stays in the stomach for longer, promoting feelings of fullness and reducing the urge to eat.
In a clinical trial called STEP 1, which involved 1,961 participants with obesity or overweight and at least one weight-related health condition, semaglutide was shown to be highly effective in promoting weight loss. Participants who received semaglutide lost an average of 15% of their body weight, compared to 2.4% in the placebo group. This weight loss was sustained for up to 68 weeks.
In another study called STEP 4, which included 803 participants with type 2 diabetes and a BMI of 27 or higher, semaglutide was shown to be effective in promoting weight loss and improving glycemic control. Participants who received semaglutide lost an average of 6.8% of their body weight, compared to 2.3% in the placebo group.
It’s worth noting that semaglutide is not a magic weight loss pill and should not be used as a substitute for healthy lifestyle habits such as a balanced diet and regular exercise. However, it can be a useful tool for those who are struggling to lose weight on their own.
Dosage and Administration of semaglutide
Semaglutide is available as a pre-filled pen that is injected once a week. The recommended starting dose is 0.25 mg once a week, and the dose can be increased to 0.5 mg once a week after four weeks if needed to improve glycemic control. The maximum dose is 1 mg once a week.
Semaglutide should be injected subcutaneously in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. The injection site should be rotated to prevent lipodystrophy, which is the loss of fat tissue under the skin due to repeated injections in the same area.
Possible Side Effects of Semaglutide
Like all medications, Semaglutide can cause side effects. The most common side effects include:
These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own as the body adjusts to the medication. However, if they persist or become severe, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider.
In rare cases, semaglutide can cause more serious side effects, such as:
Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
Acute kidney injury
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
These side effects are rare but can be serious, and anyone experiencing them should seek medical attention immediately.
Who Shouldn’t Take semaglutide?
Semaglutide is not recommended for people with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. It is also not recommended for people with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, as semaglutide can increase the risk of thyroid tumors.
Additionally, semaglutide may not be suitable for people with a history of pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, or kidney problems. It is important to talk to a healthcare provider about any medical conditions or medications before starting semaglutide.
Ssemaglutide is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes that can also promote weight loss. It works by suppressing appetite and reducing food intake, leading to a calorie deficit and ultimately resulting in weight loss over time. However, it should not be used as a substitute for healthy lifestyle habits such as a balanced diet and regular exercise.