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How Long Does Semaglutide Take to Work for Weight Loss?

Obesity can be a difficult condition to overcome once being treated after other disorders arise like high blood sugar level, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and a risk of developing heart disease. Fortunately, on July 2021, semaglutide is used for chronic weight management in adults who are overweight or obese. Once prescribed with semaglutide treatment, those with obesity or overweight can see at least 10% body weight lost.

So when can you achieve weight loss with once weekly subcutaneous semaglutide injections? The newly-approved weight loss medication should be used with an effective weight loss program that uses a low-calorie diet and physical exercise. Once the body gets used to the drug, patients can expect weight loss results within the first 4 weeks of taking medication.

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How Quickly Does Semaglutide Work?

If the patient has already been going through an extensive weight loss program, they may see small results once they begin their semaglutide treatment. These will only increase with time as the dosages increase after one month’s worth of semaglutide medication. This may change depending on what your doctor prescribed or your current medical conditions but the dosages range from 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg, 1.7 mg, then 2.4 mg for its full effects.

Semaglutide medication has a titration period of 8 weeks which is enough time for the body to adjust to the actual amount required for weight management and subsequent weight loss which is 2.4 mg. So even if a patient may not see weight loss results with a sufficient weight management regimen within the first 4 weeks, it’s well expected as most studies show sufficient weight loss results after a period of 2.4mg semaglutide injections.

The most important point for a patient taking semaglutide is if they’re tolerating the drug at a manageable level. Depending on the severity of the side effects and how it impacts their blood sugar level, a doctor may change the dosage increase for a certain patient. If there has been no sufficient weight loss that has been earned when the patient has reached 2.4 mg of semaglutide medication, a more compatible weight management regimen like another diet may be needed.

How Does Semaglutide Help With Weight Loss?

Semaglutide replicates the effects of a hormone that controls how the brain processes appetite and insulin production. Hence, why it is categorized as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA). With these benefits, it aids in the weight management of those with obesity or type 2 diabetes when combined with sufficient lifestyle intervention such as physical activity — so weight loss results will only occur with a consistent weight management routine.

As a GLP-1 RA, semaglutide medication suppresses appetite and increases insulin production. Not only does this help the benefits and consistency of a low-calorie, low-fat, and low-carb diet and regular physical activity, but it also decreases the risk of near-fatal conditions like a stroke, heart attack, and other disease by regulating blood sugar level and blood pressure in those affected by obesity and/or type 2 diabetes.

Semaglutide medication achieves these benefits by modifying the hypothalamus — the control center of the brain that handles the body’s temperature, mood, and blood pressure. By toning down appetite and blood sugar level, a patient undergoing semaglutide medication can have an easier time adjusting to a different and healthier diet instead of cravings for foods that perpetuate and increase the condition of obesity.

It can even indirectly slow digestion as some doctors have noticed that patients who take semaglutide medication have their food remain longer in their stomach compared to those who don’t. This also helps patients maintain a feeling of fullness that helps them not go over their designated calorie intake for weight management.

Semaglutide medication is given in short doses first to avoid the severity and frequency of common side effects like nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. However, even with 0.25 mg, some patients report to begin feeling its effects as it can lower blood sugar level immediately, which can be impactful for those with type 2 diabetes that have yet to find a consistent diabetes medication.

It is for these reasons why semaglutide medication has proven to be an effective weight management treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes. With a persistent weight loss routine and the added benefits of semaglutide, it can fasten the natural weight loss process.

In a 2022 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 1961 adults that were diagnosed with obesity or had a heavy body weight were given either once-weekly semaglutide injections or a placebo and were observed throughout a 68-week period.

As a supplement to lifestyle intervention, those who took a semaglutide injection lost an average of 14.9% of their body weight, 12.4% percent more than the placebo group. This is also higher than the 4.0% to 10.9% weight loss of those who took other obesity medicine. The researchers concluded that the weight loss was mainly due to the lower amounts of appetite provided by the drug. 

Other benefits that the medication developed that the placebo did not have were a decrease in waistline, lower chances for inflammation, low blood pressure, normal blood sugar levels, and a reported increase in physical activity despite obesity. 

This was one of the studies that led to the eventual approval of subcutaneous semaglutide treatment for chronic weight management. It was first approved in 2017 for type 2 diabetes treatment for its benefits in the form of blood sugar control and boosting insulin secretion in the pancreas. Oral semaglutide medication was approved 2 years later as an additional and non-invasive diabetes medication. 

In their approval of subcutaneous semaglutide injections, it was cited that losing 5% to 10% of body weight in those with obesity through a weight loss program with diet and physical activity substantially decreases the probability of developing heart disease. It's the first weight management drug for adults that has been approved since 2017.

Duration of Semaglutide Therapy

how long does semaglutide take to work for weight loss

The recommended dosage of semaglutide medication must be increased to its effective level of 2.4 mg during the 16 to 20 weeks of the therapy to include its weight loss benefits and other advantages and to reduce the impact of common side effects like gastrointestinal disorders.

Those who can take it indefinitely are patients with type 2 diabetes who use it for glycemic control to manage their symptoms and blood sugar level. However, it can’t be taken with other diabetes medication like insulin and sulfonylureas as it may lower blood sugar levels to dangerous degrees. Hypoglycemia is a rare side effect that can be induced if the patient is skipping meals or not properly maintaining their blood sugar after exercise.

Other medications that may affect the dosage or outcome of semaglutide medication include chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and venlafaxine. Your healthcare provider should do an extensive medical interview to assume what effects the semaglutide medication will do to your current body weight.

For those taking it for weight management or weight loss due to obesity or high body weight, it can be stopped if the body cannot tolerate its side effects or when it doesn’t need its benefits any longer. Consult a doctor as to how you can slowly stop taking semaglutide medication.

Since it is a hormone-based medication, it must be taken consistently over a long period of time for its benefits to be incorporated into the body. If a scheduled semaglutide injection is missed for more than 2 days, take one as soon as possible. If the dose is less than 2 days away, skip the missed dose but make sure that the next scheduled injection is taken. Consult a doctor if you missed more than 2 weeks of doses to restart the medication schedule.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Semaglutide?

Similar to other weight management medications, the weight loss results that occurred during treatment can be regained after it has stopped. A clinical trial published in Practice Update reported that participants regained 11.6% of the 17.3% of the body weight they lost while they were on semaglutide medication and lifestyle intervention. This occurred after a year of stopping semaglutide treatment.

The researchers surmise that this rebound of body weight may be due to the turnaround of the cardiovascular benefits of the semaglutide treatment like regular blood sugar levels and blood pressure. This highlights the effects of obesity as a chronic health condition that needs maintenance medication and on-going treatments to safely overcome it while easing its determinants on quality of life and heart health.

Some of the best examples to stop semaglutide medication and other anti obesity medication is when the weight loss goal has been achieved, a cause of the perpetuation of obesity has been resolved, and if a medical condition that prevents natural weight loss has been treated. If it is used as a diabetes medication, don’t stop receiving doses without your doctor’s approval or if another medical condition arises that is affected or exacerbated by it.

Best Ways to Extend the Effects of Semaglutide Therapy

To fully counter the effects of obesity, it helps to have a full-sided approach that covers how body weight reduction and gain can be influenced by external practices. Take note of these steps to help adjust to the semaglutide medication.

1. Receive a Skinny Dip IV Treatment at Dr. V Medical Aesthetics

While you cannot combine other weight reduction medications like herbal products and prescription drugs, IV Therapy is a safe and natural way to add more fat-melting nutrients to your body. Dr. V Medical Aesthetics offers an IV Cocktail with vitamin D and lipotropics to help you organically burn more fat with physical activity.

2. Follow Your Diet

The most effective path to weight loss is strictly following a diet that maintains a low-calorie intake by avoiding foods high in fats and carbohydrates while providing the body with essential nutrients and protein. Given the common side effects of semaglutide that affect the stomach, consult with your doctor to recommend a better-suited diet that can help ease their severity.

3. Exercise Regularly

By creating a calorie deficit, or eating just enough food that is enough to feed the body but not gain additional body weight, the next step is to do physical activity to burn the excess fat in the body. Basic cardio and strength training exercises are one of the many instances of weight loss exercises that will reinforce muscles and burn fat.

Efficient Weight Loss Management at Dr. V Medical Aesthetics

Dr. V

Semaglutide may seem like a miracle weight loss-inducing medication but it needs to be used with lifestyle intervention to fully work its effects. If other weight loss medications don’t work and bariatric surgery may seem like your only option, consider semaglutide medication as your next step. Ensure that your chosen healthcare provider is familiar with the drug and its effects by choosing a trusted and reliable clinic.

At Dr. V Medical Aesthetics, weight loss management, with the addition of semaglutide medication, is one of our first-rate services. We know how to achieve your weight loss goals with a comprehensive weight loss program best suited for your specific concerns and current health conditions. Achieve your health goals with us by scheduling a consultation online.


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