What Is Semaglutide?
What is Semaglutide?
The FDA recently approved the use of Semaglutide, a weekly injection, for the management of chronic weight. However, it should be used with exercise and a healthy diet for effective results. Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide that was initially used to manage blood sugar levels in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Most people who use this drug to control their sugar levels also lose weight as an added benefit.
What is a Peptide?
As mentioned, Semaglutide is a peptide. However, what are peptides? Peptides are small versions of proteins that initiate signals to various body functions, including gut health, metabolism, muscle building, cell healing, and reducing inflammation. Several drug companies have leveraged the positive effects of natural peptides to create drugs with specific benefits to the body.
What are the Effects of Semaglutide?
Studies suggest that Semaglutide:
- Promotes fullness and satiety after eating
- Reduces appetite
- Controls cravings
- Slows stomach emptying
- Improves glycemic control
- Increases insulin release
How Does Semaglutide Work?
Semaglutide provides weight loss and cardiovascular health benefits through its influence on various parts of the body. It influences:
- The brain – Semaglutide reduces the desire to eat by sending signals to the hypothalamus; this part of the brain controls thirst and appetite. Since the peptide reduces the desire to eat and drink, those using this drug should watch out for dehydration danger. Because it kills the thirst sensation, you should drink plenty of fluids.
- Pancreas – increase in glucagon-like peptides in the blood stimulates the pancreas to increase insulin production. This lowers the level of glycogen in the blood after meals. GLP-1 impairs the production of glucagon, an important hormone that prevents sugar levels from dipping extremely low.
- Muscle – Semaglutide stimulates glucogenesis or the production of glucose. It stimulates the conversion of proteins, instead of carbohydrates, to sugar for cellular use.
- Stomach – Semaglutide decreases the secretion of digestive acids in the stomach and stomach emptying. This prolongs sensation, which limits food intake.
- Liver – the drug reduces the production of sugar in the liver, which lowers overall blood sugar levels.
Semaglutide is available in injection form in a single-use injection pen. Therefore, patients can readily inject the preset dose and discard the syringe after use. The injection should be taken once every week, on the same day. Semaglutide injection should be given subcutaneously in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Patients are encouraged to change the injection site.
Patients can experience nausea after the first injections because Semaglutide slows stomach emptying. However, your physician can adjust the dosage after the first few doses to minimize these side effects. While the target dose is 2.4mg per week, your healthcare provider can suggest this dosage schedule:
1st month – 0.25mg once weekly
2nd month – 0.5mg once weekly
3rd month – 1mg once weekly
4th month – 1.7mg once weekly
5th month and target maintenance dose – 2.4mg once weekly
Some patients can’t tolerate the target dose due to adverse side effects.
What are the Side Effects of Semaglutide?
As mentioned, nausea can be a common side effect of this medication. These effects typically increase with increased dosage. Other side effects include:
- Stomach pain
Very few patients experience serious side effects, such as kidney damage, hypoglycemia, and pancreatitis.
Who Should Use or Avoid Semaglutide?
Healthy patients who are not allergic to Semaglutide ingredients and not pregnant or lactating can use this drug safely. However, you should discuss with your healthcare provider if you are using other medications. Similarly, Semaglutide isn’t recommended for patients with:
- A history of pancreatitis
- History of gastroparesis or paralysis of the stomach
- Are on dialysis
- Diagnosed with medullary thyroid cancer or a family history of this condition
- Impaired kidney function
How Long Should You Take Semaglutide to See Results?
While there’s no predetermined time, patients who adopt a healthy lifestyle and exercise regimen can see results after the first week. Most patients lose between 0.5 to 2 pounds weekly. However, some surpass this rate due to other contributing factors, such as high BMI when starting therapy, adherence to nutrition and exercise, and the type of exercise chosen.
How Much Weight Can You Lose with Semaglutide?
While this also varies, the average weight lost by most patients using Semaglutide averaged 14.9% of their initial weight. However, this varies depending on the patient’s commitment to weight loss, exercise, and diet. Even then, it isn’t unusual for patients to lose up to 20% of their body weight during treatment.
Should You Use Semaglutide?
Semaglutide is FDA-approved. Unlike other weight loss medications available on the market, Semaglutide is safe and very effective. Patients reach their target dose within four months, and very few experience serious side effects. However, you should consult your healthcare provider before using this medication. For more information or a consultation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.