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Can You Take Oral Semaglutide if You Have Diabetes?

Your Guide to Using This New Medication for Better Blood Sugar Control

Diabetes impacts over 34 million people in the United States. Keeping blood sugar under control is key for managing diabetes and lowering risks of complications. If you or a loved one has type 2 diabetes, you may be interested in learning about a new oral medication containing semaglutide.

Semaglutide was recently approved by the FDA as the first oral form of a GLP-1 drug for treating type 2 diabetes. Clinical trials have demonstrated oral semaglutide can lower A1c, reduce blood sugar spikes after meals, promote weight loss, and improve many other markers of diabetes control.

Read on to learn more about how oral semaglutide works, its effectiveness and safety, who can take it, and how this innovative new pill can help with your diabetes management.

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What is Semaglutide and How Does Oral Semaglutide Work?

Semaglutide is a synthetic version of a human hormone called GLP-1. GLP-1 helps stimulate the release of insulin from your pancreas while suppressing production of glucagon, another hormone involved in blood sugar regulation.

By mimicking natural GLP-1, semaglutide enhances your body's own ability to control blood sugar levels in a glucose-dependent way. This means it only boosts insulin and lowers glucagon when blood sugar is higher than normal.

The oral semaglutide medication is a once-daily pill. When absorbed from your gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream, it can start lowering blood glucose within 30 minutes.

Some ways oral semaglutide impacts glucose control and diabetes management:

  • Reduces average blood sugar levels based on hemoglobin A1c, a marker of long-term glucose control. In clinical trials, semaglutide lowered A1c by around 1.4% compared to placebo.
  • Lowers fasting and post-meal blood glucose by stimulating insulin release and reducing glucagon secretion for better control throughout the day.
  • Delays stomach emptying so carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly. This blunts the spike in blood sugar after meals.
  • Promotes weight loss by suppressing appetite and caloric intake. Losing 5-10% body weight can additionally improve A1c and cardiovascular risk factors.
  • Provides benefits beyond blood sugar control like improving cholesterol, blood pressure, liver health, and reducing diabetes complications risks.

Discover how oral semaglutide can revolutionize your diabetes management with personalized guidance from Dr. V Medical Aesthetics

Oral semaglutide taps into multiple mechanisms to address elevated blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. But is it appropriate for you? Let's explore who might benefit from taking oral semaglutide.

Who is a Good Candidate for Oral Semaglutide?

can you take semaglutide oral if you have diabetes

Oral semaglutide is FDA approved as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It can be prescribed alone or with other diabetes medications like:

  • Metformin
  • Sulfonylureas
  • SGLT2 inhibitors
  • Insulin

Oral semaglutide is not for people with type 1 diabetes or for treating diabetic ketoacidosis.

You may be a good fit for oral semaglutide if you:

  • Were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and need medication
  • Have not reached your A1c target with your current treatment
  • Want an oral diabetes drug instead of injections
  • Need help losing weight plus lowering blood sugar
  • Want extra cardio and kidney protective benefits

Talk to Dr. V Medical Aesthetics doctors to determine if adding daily oral semaglutide fits your health profile and diabetes regimen. They will assess your medical history and medications to evaluate appropriateness.

What are Possible Side Effects of Oral Semaglutide?

While typically well-tolerated, oral semaglutide can cause some potential side effects, especially when first starting treatment. The most common include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion

These gastrointestinal effects tend to be mild to moderate and improve within a few weeks as your body adjusts. Taking oral semaglutide with food may worsen nausea, so take it on an empty stomach when you first wake up.

There is also a risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) if you take insulin, sulfonylureas, or other glucose-lowering medications with oral semaglutide. Work with our doctors to adjust doses of these other drugs as needed.

While pancreatitis was initially a concern, recent analyses found no significant association between semaglutide use and pancreatitis risk. Those with a history of pancreatitis should discuss the risks versus benefits of oral semaglutide with their healthcare provider.

Tips for Managing Side Effects

a woman drinks a glass of water

To help minimize common GI side effects when first starting semaglutide:

  • Take with ginger tea to reduce nausea: Ginger is a known remedy for nausea, and taking semaglutide with ginger tea may help alleviate nausea.
  • Stay hydrated with extra fluids: Drinking plenty of fluids can help manage side effects like dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals: Eating smaller meals can help reduce the feeling of nausea and prevent overeating, which may exacerbate side effects.
  • Avoid fatty, greasy, or spicy foods: These foods can be difficult to digest, and avoiding them may help reduce gastrointestinal side effects.
  • Try temporarily lowering your dose and increase slowly: If side effects are severe, our doctors may recommend lowering your dose and gradually increasing it to allow your body to adjust to the medication.
  • Notify your doctor if nausea or diarrhea persist: If side effects persist, it's essential to inform our doctors, who may suggest supportive treatments or adjusting your dose.

Making diet adjustments, staying hydrated, and slowly acclimating to the medication can help reduce gastrointestinal side effects. 

Get tailored advice on minimizing side effects and maximizing the benefits of oral semaglutide with the expertise of Dr. V Medical Aesthetics

Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations When Taking Semaglutide

It's important to continue following a healthy diabetes diet and staying active even when taking oral semaglutide. Specific diet tips include:

Diet and Lifestyle Tips
Limiting carbohydrate intake by reducing portions of grains, starches, sugars
Choosing high fiber foods like vegetables, beans, berries
Getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, is also recommended

The combination of a nutritious diet, regular activity and oral semaglutide works better than any one strategy alone.

How Should I Take Oral Semaglutide for Best Results?

To get the most out of your oral semaglutide treatment, be sure to follow the doctor’s instructions on proper dosing and administration:

  1. Take it first thing in the morning before eating or drinking besides sips of plain water.
  2. Swallow the tablet whole with water. Do not split, crush, chew or dissolve the pill.
  3. Start with 3 mg daily for a month, then increase to 7 mg once your body adjusts, if directed. The maintenance dose is usually 7mg.
  4. Report any side effects like nausea, vomiting, or GI issues to the doctor. They may adjust the dose accordingly.
  5. Monitor blood sugar closely and watch for signs of low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia is more likely if taken with other diabetes medications.
  6. Keep taking oral semaglutide even if you miss a dose. Do not take two pills to make up a missed dose.

Following the dosing schedule, diet, exercise and other medical advice will help oral semaglutide work optimally to control your blood sugar.

Get Control of Your Blood Sugar Again

Dr. V and her staff at Dr. V Medical Aesthetics

If you have diabetes, contact Dr. V Medical Aesthetics today to ask about oral semaglutide or exploring other cutting-edge treatment options that fit your needs. 

We offer the following convenient methods:

Our experienced healthcare professionals can work with you on a personalized plan to help get your blood sugar back into your target range. We also offer medical weight loss programs, vitamin infusions, Botox, dermal fillers and more to help you look and feel your best!


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