Semaglutide Injection for Weight Loss in Overweight or Obese Adults
The Semaglutide injection is a prescription medication approved for weight loss and weight management in adults with overweight or obesity. Marketed under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy, semaglutide belongs to a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists. This article provides an overview of using semaglutide for weight loss, including its dosage, administration, efficacy, and potential side effects.
How Semaglutide Promotes Weight Loss
Semaglutide helps people achieve weight loss mainly by decreasing appetite and reducing calorie intake. In clinical trials, adults treated with semaglutide lost significantly more weight compared to placebo. The maintenance dose of 2.4 mg once-weekly was associated with average weight loss of around 15% after 68 weeks. As you can see when Semaglutide is combined with proper diet and exercise you can lose a considerable amount of body weight. Ozempic was originally used for adults with type 2 diabetes because it helps decrease blood glucose and HbA1c levels. The brand name Wegovy has been approved by the food and drug administration for chronic weight management.
Who Should Take Semaglutide
Semaglutide is for people who have a Body Mass Index of 30 or above or a BMI of 27 or more with a weight related comorbity such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc… and have not been able to lose weight with healthy lifestyle changes, diet, exercise and behavior modification.
Dosage and Administration
Semaglutide is given as a subcutaneous injection under the skin. The best injection sites are the front of your thighs, the abdomen, or upper arms.
The dosing schedule starts at a low dose of 0.25 mg weekly for 4 weeks. The dosage may then be increased to 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and eventually to the maintenance dose of 2.4 mg. Inject semaglutide once weekly on the same day each week.
If you miss a semaglutide (wegovy – ozempic) injection and your next scheduled dose is more than 2 days away, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if your next scheduled dose is less than 2 days away when you realize you missed a dose, skip taking the missed dose and just take your next regularly scheduled dose. If you go longer than 2 weeks without taking your semaglutide injection contact your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.
Side Effects and Safety
The most common side effects of semaglutide are gastrointestinal, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These tend to be transient but can persist in some patients. More serious potential adverse effects to be aware of include thyroid tumors, kidney problems, allergic reactions, pancreatitis, gastroparesis and diabetic retinopathy complications.
Is Semaglutide Right for You?
Semaglutide offers a significant new option for weight management in overweight and obese individuals who have not been able to lose sufficient weight with just lifestyle modifications alone. Talk to your doctor about whether semaglutide may be appropriate as part of a comprehensive weight loss plan including diet, exercise, and other interventions. Monitoring and adjusting dosage based on effectiveness and tolerability is important for optimal, safe results.
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Contraindications for Semaglutide Treatment
Here are some common reasons why people may not be able to take semaglutide:
- Allergies – Semaglutide contains ingredients that some people may be allergic to. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis – Semaglutide should not be used by people with type 1 diabetes who have diabetic ketoacidosis (high ketones and blood sugar).
- Severe gastrointestinal disease – People with severe gastrointestinal disease may not be able to tolerate semaglutide due to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea side effects.
- Pregnancy/breastfeeding – Semaglutide has not been adequately studied in pregnant or breastfeeding women and is not recommended.
- Severe kidney problems – Semaglutide has not been studied in people with severe kidney problems and is not recommended.
- History of pancreatitis – There may be an increased risk of pancreatitis in people who take semaglutide. It should not be used in people with a history of pancreatitis.
- History of medullary thyroid cancer – Semaglutide has not been studied in people with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2.
- Other medications – Semaglutide may interact with certain medications like insulin, blood thinners.
- If you have suicidal thoughts or mental health issues you should not take Semaglutide.
Alternatives to Semaglutide Treatment
Other options for weight management besides semaglutide include lifestyle changes such as adhering to a calorie-controlled diet and engaging in regular physical activity. If lifestyle changes alone are not effective, additional prescription medications for weight loss may be considered, such as Qsymia ,Phentermine / Topiramate, Adipex or Phentermine. For patients who have not achieved sufficient weight loss through medications and lifestyle changes, bariatric surgical procedures like gastric banding or gastric bypass could also be discussed as more invasive weight loss alternatives.
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