- What is semaglutide and how does it work for weight loss?
Semaglutide is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. It works by mimicking the effects of a naturally occurring hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which helps to regulate blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness.
By activating GLP-1 receptors in the brain, semaglutide can help to reduce appetite and promote weight loss. Both Ozempic and Wegovy are brands of semaglutide.
- How effective are semaglutide shots for weight loss?
Clinical studies have shown that semaglutide can help to produce significant weight loss in overweight and obese individuals. In a randomized controlled trial, participants who took semaglutide lost an average of 15% to 20 % of their body weight over 68 weeks, compared to an average of 2.4% weight loss in those who received a placebo.
- What is the recommended dosage of semaglutide for weight loss?
The recommended starting dose of semaglutide for weight loss is typically 0.25 mg once a week for the first four weeks, followed by an increase to 0.5 mg once a week. Some patients, however, may benefit from an increased dose of 1 mg once a week.
The typical dosage strengths of Ozempic and Wegovy are also different. The recommended dosage of Ozempic for diabetes is 0.5 mg or 1 mg once a week, while the recommended dosage of Wegovy for weight management is 2.4 mg once a week. Thus, Ozempic is available in 0.5 mg and 1 mg pens, while Wegovy is available in a single 2.4 mg pen.
Like any medication, Our providers can determine the optimal dosage for your weight loss needs.
- How long do I need to take semaglutide for weight loss?
The duration of semaglutide treatment for weight loss will depend on your individual needs and goals. In clinical trials, treatment typically lasted for 68 weeks, but some patients may continue treatment for longer periods of time.
Patients with less weight to lose, or who are more disciplined about combining semaglutide with a healthy diet and exercise may reach their target weight even sooner!
- What are the side effects of semaglutide shots?
Because semaglutide mimics the body’s natural substances, replicating a hormone that the body produces naturally, it is generally considered quite safe and well tolerated.
The most common side effects of semaglutide for weight loss include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. Other possible side effects include abdominal pain, decreased appetite, headache, and fatigue.
These side effects typically subside over time, as the patient’s body becomes used to the medication and they learn the routine of the new reduced fat and caloric intake.
- Can semaglutide be used in combination with other weight loss medications?
Most patients who take Ozempic, Wegovy, or another semaglutide find that they do not need additional weight management meds.
However, semaglutide should not be used in combination with other GLP-1 receptor agonists or insuline. It may be used in combination with other weight loss medications, but the safety and efficacy of such combinations have not been studied.
Any medications you are or wish to take at the same time as semaglutide should be discussed with our providers.
- Can semaglutide be used by people with diabetes?
Semaglutide is also approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, so it can be used by people with both obesity and type 2 diabetes. The safety and efficacy for use by type 1 diabetics has not been studied yet.
- How is semaglutide administered?
Semaglutide is administered as a subcutaneous injection – “shot” – which is typically given in the abdomen or thigh once a week.
- How much weight can I expect to lose with semaglutide?
Weight loss results will vary from person to person, but clinical studies have shown that semaglutide can help to produce significant weight loss in overweight and obese individuals.
In clinical trials for Ozempic, participants lost an average of 13.5 pounds over 26 weeks when used in combination with moderate diet and exercise. In a 68-week study, participants taking Ozempic lost up to 20% of their body weight and those on Wegovy lost an average of 16.0% of their initial body weight, compared to 5.7% for those taking a placebo.
- Can I take semaglutide if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
There is limited information available about the safety of semaglutide during pregnancy or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should generally refrain from taking semaglutide for weight loss. However, if semaglutide (Ozempic) is being prescribed for type 2 (or gestational) diabetes, it should be discussed with your Obstetrician or endocrinologist.
- Who is a good candidate for semaglutide?
Semaglutide is recommended for adults who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m² or greater, or for those with a BMI of 27 kg/m² or greater and at least one weight-related health condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. Semaglutide is also recommended for those who have tried to lose weight through diet and exercise but have been unsuccessful. (Note: individuals who have a history of pancreatitis or thyroid cancer should not use semaglutide. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine if semaglutide is a good option for you.)