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What Are The Effects of Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults With Overweight or Obesity?

Obesity and being overweight are two of the most common health concerns in the United States. Even though people are becoming increasingly conscious of their lifestyles, losing weight is still a particularly difficult battle. Fortunately, the US FDA has approved once weekly semaglutide injections as a beneficial treatment for chronic weight management.

So how can once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide treatment help overweight and obese patients? Semaglutide is a type of GLP-1 receptor agonist that can help slow gastric emptying and control your appetite and food intake. This results in significant weight loss in obese and overweight individuals and prevents the risks of weight-related chronic conditions.

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What To Know About Once Weekly Semaglutide Injections for Weight Management

Over the years, there’s been a growing number of people who are becoming obese and overweight. According to statistics, obesity was prevalent in over 40% of the adult population in the United States, while more than 20% of children were diagnosed with the condition.

Unfortunately, there’s no instant cure for obesity and being overweight. Doctors normally recommend lifestyle intervention and intensive behavioral therapy to promote healthier eating habits and incorporate more physical activity so you can quickly shed those extra pounds.

But to help you see significant results in your weight loss journey, you may also encounter semaglutide medications in your treatment plan. Available in oral and subcutaneous injection forms, semaglutide has been approved by the US FDA not only for type 2 diabetes treatment but also for chronic weight management.

What Is Semaglutide and How Does It Help An Overweight or Obese Patient?

Semaglutide is generally more known as an anti-diabetic medication. It’s mostly used by patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus to help regulate their blood glucose levels. As a GLP 1 RA, this medication works by imitating the processes of natural glucagon-like peptides in the body, resulting in increased insulin secretion to lower blood sugar and improve glycemic control.

It’s for this reason that semaglutide also becomes effective for weight management in obese and overweight patients. When used for weight loss, it’s commonly administered subcutaneously via once-weekly injections. They’re administered to help stimulate the release of peptides that improve the body’s metabolism and energy production.

Subcutaneous semaglutide treatments also produce hormones that target the receptors in the brain which are responsible for controlling your hunger and appetite. As a weight loss injection, semaglutide can help you feel fuller for longer periods of time so you can lessen your food intake to avoid gaining extra pounds.

Combined with a sustained weight loss plan and a more active lifestyle, semaglutide can provide a significant reduction in total body weight in obese and overweight patients. If you’re interested in this medication, you should have a consultation with your healthcare provider and get a prescription.

Benefits of Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults

a woman injects semaglutide

There are many medications that claim to help reduce weight and improve obesity. However, semaglutide is one of the only FDA-approved prescription drugs that have been proven to be effective in weight loss in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients. To know more about this treatment, here are the other expected benefits of once-weekly semaglutide in adults with overweight and obesity:

1. Controls High Blood Sugar in Diabetic and Prediabetic Patients

When someone is obese or overweight, they’re at higher risk for having type 2 diabetes due to the increased levels of fatty acids which contribute to insulin resistance. Taking once-weekly semaglutide injections can help lower blood glucose by stimulating the pancreas to release more insulin.

With increased insulin secretion, your body can easily transport the sugar from the blood into the muscles for energy production or it becomes stored in the liver. Patients with prediabetes may also benefit from taking subcutaneous semaglutide medications to keep their blood sugar levels at a normal range.

2. Improves Cardiovascular Health

Diabetic patients with weight-related conditions may also develop at least one cardiovascular disease. Some of the common problems they may encounter are high blood pressure, stroke, blood vessel disorder, and heart failure. Starting once weekly semaglutide treatment can help treat diabetes and reduce excess weight while improving your overall heart health.

3. Helps Control Cravings and Improve Your Food Preference

GLP 1 is also one of the specific hormones that influence your hunger and food intake. It’s produced in the gastrointestinal tract and is released when you eat to help signal when you should stop consuming a meal.

Studies have shown that semaglutide injections have a significant effect in reducing the frequency of your food intake by suppressing your appetite. It works by delaying gastric emptying which means that food stays longer in your stomach so you’ll feel fuller and lessen the need to consume calories.

Taking once-weekly semaglutide injections may also improve your food preferences. This anti-obesity medication may help you establish healthier eating habits by reducing your cravings for sweets and high-fat foods. It’s also helpful in controlling your food portions so you can easily lose excess weight.

4. Effective for Long-Term Weight Management

There’s no easy route to achieving weight loss which is why doctors always suggest a combination of lifestyle intervention and behavior modification with medical treatments. Semaglutide is a highly recommended weight loss medication in obese and overweight patients.

With the right dosage and administration, once-weekly semaglutide injections can be sustained for long-term weight management and diabetes treatment. This will lead to an improved quality of life and reduced risk of weight- and cardiovascular-related complications.

A Look at Semaglutide Weight Loss Trials and Studies: Efficacy and Safety of Injections

As with any prescribed medication, semaglutide has been thoroughly studied and underwent different controlled trials to showcase its efficacy for weight loss management and diabetes treatment. Here’s an overview of some of the studies that support the use of once-weekly semaglutide in adults with overweight and obesity problems:

1. Efficacy of Semaglutide in Obese and Overweight Patients Without Diabetes

Since its approval for weight management, semaglutide has been tackled in various randomized clinical trials involving obese and overweight patients who aren’t necessarily diabetic. In a study done by Domenica M. Rubino, MD, and their colleagues, they gathered 338 participants in a 68-week treatment to compare the efficacy of semaglutide versus liraglutide.

With a ratio of 3:1:3:1, each participant received subcutaneous semaglutide or matching placebo and liraglutide or matching placebo. Their results showed that patients who received 2.4 mg semaglutide experienced greater weight loss compared to those who received liraglutide. Obese patients who received semaglutide had a mean weight reduction of 15.8%, while those who had liraglutide had 6.4%.

Another clinical trial by John P.H. Wilding, D.M. and colleagues followed 1961 adults who had a body mass index of over 30 but had no diabetes. At a 2:1 ratio, they were randomly administered with semaglutide or placebo, along with lifestyle intervention. Regardless of treatment discontinuation, the study revealed that subcutaneous semaglutide provided noteworthy weight reductions of 5% to 15% over the course of 68 weeks.

2. Efficacy of Semaglutide in Diabetic Patients With Weight-Related Issues

Researchers have also been keen on studying the primary effects of semaglutide in obese and diabetic patients. In a study published by Chiara Di Loreto with their colleagues, 216 patients with obesity and diabetes were treated with once-weekly semaglutide for 1 year. Each participant was assessed during the 6th and 12th month period to look at their improvements.

The results of the clinical trial showed reinforced how semaglutide injections provided significant changes in blood glucose levels and weight. The researchers observed relevant differences in the baseline body weight, blood sugar levels, lipid profile, waist circumference, and BMI of patients who received the treatment.

Are There Side Effects to Taking Once Weekly Semaglutide?

Throughout all the published studies about semaglutide for weight management, it’s been shown that semaglutide injections have minimal side effects. It also rarely causes an adverse event provided that the proper dosage and administration are followed. Here are some of the expected side effects of once weekly semaglutide in adults with overweight and obesity:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Bloating
  • Dyspepsia or indigestion

To ensure that no serious complications occur from taking semaglutide for weight management, you should disclose to your doctor if you’re taking other medications. Although it’s generally a safe anti-diabetic and anti-obesity medication, it may interact with other treatments and cause an unwanted reaction.

Some people may also not be qualified to take semaglutide for their weight loss plan. To be on the safe side, you shouldn’t receive once weekly subcutaneous semaglutide if you have any of the following health conditions:

  • History of diabetic retinopathy
  • Kidney disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2
  • Thyroid cancer

What’s The Proper Usage of Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults?

The dosing of once weekly subcutaneous semaglutide varies depending on the purpose of your usage. If you’re taking it for weight loss, you’d need to receive the injections once a week for 4 weeks. Most patients start at the lowest dose for the initial treatment and it increases for the subsequent weeks.

Here’s an overview of the recommended schedule and dosage for administering semaglutide in adults with overweight and obesity:

  • Week 1 to 4: 0.25 mg of subcutaneous semaglutide
  • Week 5 to 8: .5 mg of subcutaneous semaglutide
  • Week 9 to 12: 1 mg of subcutaneous semaglutide
  • Week 13 to 16: 1.7 mg of subcutaneous semaglutide
  • Week 17 and onward: 2.4 mg of subcutaneous semaglutide

If there’s no unwanted semaglutide treatment effect throughout the initial dosing schedule, you may continue taking the injections at 2.4 mg once a week. The medication usually comes in a liquid solution that’s placed under the skin using an injector pen. It can be given under the skin on the stomach, upper arm, or thighs. It’s recommended to use a different area each time you inject the medication.

What Happens If You Miss A Semaglutide Injection?

While there are no serious consequences to missing a dosage, you should immediately take it as soon as possible so you’re not behind on the schedule. If you forgot a dose but it’s almost time for your next injection, you can skip the missed dose and follow your regular schedule.

But do note that if several days (2 to 5 days) have only passed since your missed dose, use the injection as soon as you remember. Missing more than 2 weeks of injection doesn’t always result in treatment discontinuation. You can consult with your doctor to restart your semaglutide treatment plan.

What to Expect While You’re Taking Semaglutide

Even if you’re already taking semaglutide for weight loss, its results won’t happen overnight. You’ll get the best effects from the injections if you consistently take them along with a proper diet and increased physical activity. To prevent unwanted reactions during treatment, you should take note of these reminders about once weekly semaglutide therapy:

  • Follow the instructions for use as indicated in the injection pen. Consult with your healthcare team or provider if you have questions about the usage.
  • If you’re also taking insulin for diabetes management, avoid using them in the same syringe.
  • Always monitor your blood sugar level once you start administering the subcutaneous injections.
  • When injecting the medicine, make sure that you’re using new needles for the pen.
  • Avoid sharing injectors with other individuals to avoid transmission of infections.
  • As much as possible, don’t miss an injection and administer the treatment on the same day each week.

Is There Another Way to Take Semaglutide If You Don’t Want Injections?

Yes, overweight and obese patients may also choose to take oral semaglutide if they don’t subcutaneous injections. Oral treatment usually comes in the form of pills and is given once daily at 3 mg for 30 days. After the initial dosing schedule, you may increase the dosage to 7 to 14 mg once a day.

According to a certain clinical trial, oral semaglutide with basal insulin is more effective than the injectable form for treating diabetic patients. It does provide the same effects when used for weight loss management.

Since both treatments are effective for weight reduction, the choice of semaglutide therapy will depend on the patient’s lifestyle and preference. If you’re afraid of needles or aren’t confident with administering the injection by yourself, your doctor may check if you’re a good fit for oral semaglutide. But if you’re taking other medications which may interact with semaglutide, you should get the once weekly injections.

Know More About Semaglutide for Weight Management at Dr. V Medical Aesthetics

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If you’re having a hard time losing those extra pounds, once weekly semaglutide therapy may be able to help. It’s a proven safe and effective treatment that can provide significant weight reduction and blood sugar control so you live a healthier life.

At Dr. V Medical Aesthetics, we have a team of specialists who can help you with your weight loss journey. Depending on your health goals, we can create a comprehensive semaglutide treatment plan that will help you achieve your target weight. Call us today to schedule a consultation or inquire about our weight management programs.

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