Semaglutide is a breakthrough treatment for those looking to manage their body weight and need to achieve low blood sugar. Neither a fad nor a diet, semaglutide is dubbed as a “miracle weight-loss drug” that can decrease the health risks caused by obesity.
So is there a difference between the generic semaglutide and brands that contain the active ingredient? Put simply, semaglutide is the generic form of the brand names Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus – and no, one is not necessarily better than another. Your healthcare provider should prescribe the appropriate brand for your health needs.
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The “wonder weight loss drug,” as semaglutide is known, is the generic form of Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus. All of which are FDA-approved medications for adults with weight-related conditions like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Semaglutide should be taken alongside with a calorie restricted diet and exercise routine for best results.
Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus are simply different brand names for the same drug. Their dosage is increased gradually over time until the patient reaches a suitable maintenance dose. These are their key differences:
|Wegovy||It comes in a pre-filled single-dose pen|
with different dose strengths.
|Wegovy should not be coadministered |
with other products that contain semaglutide.
|Ozempic||The patient-used pen is a once a week injectable given|
under the skin of your abdomen, upper arm, or thigh.
You must rotate injection sites with each dose.
|Ozempic is not used for treating|
type 1 diabetes mellitus and diabetic ketoacidosis.
|Rybelsus||This is a daily oral tablet version of semaglutide.|
It should be taken 30 minutes after
drinking 4 ounces of water.
|Oral semaglutide is not |
recommended as first-line therapy.
Semaglutide is a prescription drug for weight management. When you first start taking this drug, you may tend to overeat to compensate for your reduced appetite. For the first few weeks, we recommend that you eat from a smaller plate as your body adjusts to your new, smaller appetite. Gradual changes are easier to adjust to and adopt as new habits over time.
Semaglutide differs from other weight loss treatments like Orlistat because of how it works, being a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP 1) agonist. And so before we talk about the science behind semaglutide, we first need to understand what exactly a GLP 1 agonist is.
Naturally produced hormone GLP 1 is the hormone responsible for making us feel satisfied after eating. It doesn’t last very long, which is why we feel hungry a few hours after having a meal. GLP 1 agonists is a class of drugs that mimics the natural human GLP 1. This explains why weight loss is a common side effect of semaglutide as it suppresses your appetite, makes you feel full for a longer time, and thus reduces your calorie intake.
Since the active ingredient semaglutide is synthetic and structurally modified, it can last much longer than natural GLP 1. You feel satisfied after having a smaller food portion and are less likely to snack in between meals. Thanks to the mechanisms of the drug, the rate of gastric emptying slows down and it helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular events – such as heart attack – in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Generally, the doctor will start a low dose of semaglutide injection for the patient, and gradually increase it after 4 weeks. The dosage may be increased again after the succeeding 4 weeks depending on the patient’s response to the medication. This will go on until the maintenance dose of 2.4 mg/week is reached. The table below is an example of the standard dosing schedule for a semaglutide injection.
|1st Month||0.25 mg/week|
|2nd Month||0.5 mg/week|
|3rd Month||1 mg/week|
|4th Month||1.7 mg/week|
|5th Month and beyond||2.4 mg/week (maintenance dose)|
Administer the semaglutide injection only as prescribed by the doctor and exactly as directed, neither more nor less than the dosage and schedule.
Since semaglutide can lower blood sugar levels, it can interact with other medications that have similar effects (e.g., Glipizide, Metformin, or any insulin-based product). A combination of these medications can lead to dangerously low sugar levels. As a general rule, you should consistently monitor your blood sugar level, most especially if you have diabetes.
Semaglutide can also have potential interactions with oral medications because it slows down how quickly food and substances are absorbed by your body. It is important to be transparent with your doctor about all other medications that you’re taking, including vitamins and herbal supplements. Don’t start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine without consulting with your doctor.
While weight loss medications have been around for ages, a lot of them are modestly effective at best – some manufacturers even add harmful substances to dramatically improve their product’s efficacy. Semaglutide is a game changer as it pioneers a new type of weight loss medication that is safe and highly effective. That said, here are some reasons why you should turn to semaglutide:
It’s easily done by firmly pressing the pen straight into the skin like a dart. It can be taken at any time, and either with or without food. It is recommended to use the Semaglutide injection on the same day per week. However, the day of injection can be changed as long as the interval between the doses is at least two days.
By releasing more insulin and less glucagon, semaglutide ends up suppressing your appetite so that you don’t feel hungry as often. You can have a full stomach after having smaller food portions and without feeling the urge to snack. Individuals taking semaglutide also experience improvements in their weight level, waist circumference, BMI, blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels.
In 2021, the New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study on overweight and obese adults that took semaglutide once-weekly. The proponents found that most of the participants reduced their weight by at least 10%. In fact, this amount significantly reduces the risk for future chronic weight management illnesses.
Semaglutide is usually prescribed to type 2 diabetes patients in order to decrease their risk of further complications like nerve damage, eye problems, and gum issues. The drug also prevents patients from fatal cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Other benefits include enhanced mobility, less joint injuries, lower risk of erectile dysfunction, boosted libido, higher self-esteem, and better sleep quality.
While semaglutide is safe for most, not everyone can benefit from it. Semaglutide is contraindicated in patients with the following conditions:
Although it is an extremely rare case – occurring in less than 1 percent of patients taking Semaglutide – acute kidney injury could lead to kidney failure, which may require hemodialysis. Symptoms of acute kidney failure include significant nausea, lightheadedness, and diarrhea.
But remember to arrange a blood test appointment before taking semaglutide to assess your kidney function. You should also drink at least half a gallon of water daily while taking semaglutide. Cut out sugary drinks and alcohol from your diet too, as these contribute to obesity.
You are more likely to develop gallstones if you are overweight due to higher levels of cholesterol in your bile. Signs of gallbladder disease include stomach pain, yellowing of skin or eyes, fever, and clay-colored stools. Contact your primary care physician for a diagnosis.
Do not take semaglutide if you have depression and/or a history of suicidal thoughts. Taking this medication could cause sudden changes in your feelings, behavior, and mental state. If you are already taking semaglutide and notice significant mental changes, stop immediately.
If you have a personal or family history of thyroid cancer, do not take semaglutide as it might trigger or exacerbate your health condition. It could also increase the risk of developing a thyroid tumor.
If you and your partner are looking forward to having a child, stop using semaglutide at least 2 months before you plan to get pregnant. Being overweight and having diabetes may harm the unborn baby; hence, it is best to ask your doctor for a safer medicine alternative for maintaining a healthy weight.
Keep in mind that semaglutide is a prescribed medication. Your doctor will only prescribe it if they have determined that its benefits outweigh the risks. So just make sure to inform your doctor about any known allergies and underlying health conditions. Here is a list of the average duration of this product’s most common side effects:
Adverse but rare side effects of semaglutide include hives, difficulty breathing, vision changes, confusion, feeling jittery, allergic reaction, signs and symptoms of infection, and little to no urination. Report these to your doctor as soon as possible.
Yes. In fact, the semaglutide + B12 combination is an effective solution – a powerful appetite suppressant – if you’re looking to shed pounds consistently. Further, vitamin B12 is not only energy-enhancing, but it also helps with weight management.
It’s generally recommended that your weekly subcutaneous semaglutide injection be taken with B12, as well as incorporating healthy lifestyle choices, to maximize results. Since semaglutide is a highly-potent drug, it must be titrated slowly to decrease the risk of gastrointestinal issues.
Semaglutide + B12 essentially stimulates insulin secretion, inhibits glucagon secretion, thereby decreasing blood sugar levels. That’s why in addition to a host of the aforementioned benefits, the medication is also a promising agent for hypoglycemia.
You can already buy semaglutide online or in a compounding pharmacy as long as you have a prescription. The generic drug was approved by the FDA in 2017 after it was proven to contribute to weight loss, have cardiovascular benefits, and be an effective diabetes medication.
We understand that shedding unwanted pounds is difficult. It can be frustrating to commit to daily exercise and a restrictive diet only for you not to see the results you want. Not to mention, keeping the weight off is another problem of its own.
If you no longer want to deal with the hunger pangs that come with depriving yourself of food, combining a healthy lifestyle with a dose of semaglutide is a promising solution. It comes in the form of oral tablets and once-a-week injections that can help you lose weight by suppressing your appetite and increasing your metabolism. Dr. V Aesthetics is a top provider of semaglutide treatment. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.
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