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What is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide better known as Ozempic and Wegovy is the first once-weekly medication in its class that’s FDA-approved to help with chronic weight management. It works best when used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise.

The largest clinical trial showed that adults taking semaglutide lost an average of almost 15% of their initial body weight — about 12% more than those who didn’t take the medication. Adolescent clinical trials showed an average weight loss of 16%.

In June 2021, a higher-dose injection version sold under the brand name Wegovy was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as anti-obesity medication for long-term weight management in adults.


How does semaglutide work for weight loss?

Semaglutide is a hormone that plays a role in your appetite and digestion.

It mimics a hormone called glucagon-like peptide that targets areas in the brain that regulate appetite and food intake. Your digestive tract releases this incretin hormone after you’ve eaten a meal, lowering your blood sugar by triggering insulin release to block sugar production. 

It also slow down how quickly food leaves your stomach (called gastric emptying).

The result of these actions causes you to feel full — lowering your appetite and ultimately leading to weight loss making it an effective treatment option for weight control.

Mechanism of Action

Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist. By mimicking the action of the incretin glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), it increases the production of insulin, the hormone which lowers the blood sugar level.

Additionally, it inhibits the production of glucagon, the hormone that increases glycogenolysis (release of stored carbohydrate from the liver) and gluconeogenesis (synthesis of new glucose).

It reduces food intake by lowering appetite and slowing down digestion in the stomach, helping to reduce body fat. It reduces hunger, food craving and body fat.

In addition to its effects on blood glucose and weight, semaglutide has been shown to have cardiovascular benefits, including reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events in people with type 2 diabetes.

What are the benefits?

Convenient administration: Semaglutide is administered as a once-weekly self-injection under the skin, making it a convenient treatment option for people who have trouble taking daily oral medications.

May improve kidney function: Semaglutide has been shown to improve kidney function in people with type 2 diabetes, reducing the risk of kidney disease progression.

More significant improvement in cardiovascular risk factors associated with obesity.

Causes weight loss: Semaglutide has been shown to cause significant weight loss in people with obesity, making it a promising treatment option for those who struggle to lose weight through diet and exercise alone.

Lower blood sugar without any increase in hypoglycemia.

Reduced glucagon levels in fasting and after eating.

A promoted sensation of fullness in the brain.


How does semaglutide compare to other weight loss medications?

One important thing to note about semaglutide is the amount of weight people lost during clinical trials. Typically, we tend to see an average of 5% to 10% weight loss with other medications. 

The largest clinical trial studying semaglutide in adults showed an average weight loss of about 15% of initial body weight over 68 weeks (almost 16 months). Over the same length of time in another study, adolescents lost 16% of their initial body weight on average.

Oral weight loss medications tend to be less expensive than the injectable options, but you may not lose as much weight. Let’s review a few of the more popular weight loss medications and how they compare to semaglutide.

Can semaglutide interact with other medications?

Since semaglutide can lower your blood sugar, it can interact with other blood sugar-lowering medications. Examples include insulin and medications that cause insulin to be released, like sulfonylureas. Combining these medications can result in dangerously low blood sugar levels.
If you’re taking one of these medications, your healthcare provider may lower the other medication’s dose while starting you on semaglutide. And as a general rule, it’s important to diligently monitor your blood sugar if you have Type 2 diabetes. This is especially the case before and during treatment to ensure that your readings stay within a safe range.

How much weight can I lose with Semaglutide weight loss?

Studies have shown that Semaglutide weight loss can lead to modest weight loss when it’s used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise. However, the weight loss effects of Semaglutide weight loss may be more likely to occur in people who are already obese or who have been struggling to lose weight for a long time.

What are the side effects?

In people with heart problems, it can cause damage to the retina of the eye (retinopathy). Additional common side effects can include: constipation, stomach pain, headache, fatigue, indigestion, dizziness, bloating, burping. Other, less common side effects include kidney problems, allergic reactions, low blood sugar, and pancreatitis.

Book a consultation today to learn more about Semaglutide Therapy