One medication that has been making headlines lately is semaglutide (commonly known as Ozempic). In this blog post, I will provide an overview of how semaglutide works, how it is used, and what patients can expect when taking it.
How Does Semaglutide Work?
Semaglutide is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. These drugs work by mimicking the action of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in the body. GLP-1 helps regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of insulin from the pancreas, slowing down the absorption of glucose from the intestines, and reducing the production of glucose by the liver.
Semaglutide is a once-weekly injection (eg, Ozempic) that is typically used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is also available as a once-daily pill for the treatment of obesity under the brand name Wegovy. Semaglutide should be used in combination with diet and exercise to achieve optimal results.
How Is Semaglutide Used?
Semaglutide is available in pre-filled pens for injection and as tablets for oral administration. The dose and frequency of semaglutide depend on the patient’s medical condition and response to treatment. Patients should follow their healthcare provider’s instructions carefully to ensure safe and effective use of the medication.
For type 2 diabetes, the recommended starting dose of semaglutide is 0.25 mg once weekly. The dose can be increased to 0.5 mg once weekly after four weeks if needed. Patients can administer the injection at any time of day, with or without food. Semaglutide should be used in conjunction with diet and exercise, and patients should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly.
For obesity, the recommended starting dose of semaglutide is 0.25 mg once daily. The dose can be increased to 0.5 mg once daily after four weeks if needed. Patients should take the tablet at the same time each day, with or without food. Semaglutide should be used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
What Can Patients Expect When Taking Semaglutide?
Patients taking semaglutide should expect some common side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. These side effects usually go away on their own within a few days to weeks. However, patients should contact their healthcare provider if they experience severe or persistent side effects.
Patients should also be aware of the potential risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when taking semaglutide, particularly when used in combination with insulin or sulfonylurea medications. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include sweating, trembling, weakness, confusion, and rapid heartbeat. Patients should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly and contact their healthcare provider if they experience symptoms of hypoglycemia.
In summary, semaglutide is a medication that can be effective in managing type 2 diabetes and obesity. As with any medication, patients should follow their healthcare provider’s instructions carefully and report any side effects or concerns. If you have any questions about semaglutide or any other medication, please do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist.