A new GLP-1 analogue, semaglutide, lowers blood glucose and improves weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes. However, it also causes gastrointestinal side effects. Contact Semaglutide San Diego now!
A recent trial of once-a-week subcutaneous semaglutide 2*4 mg versus placebo in people with obesity and type 2 diabetes found that continued treatment led to greater reductions in waist circumference and systolic blood pressure than did placebo. SF-36 physical functioning scores also improved more with semaglutide than with placebo.
When used as part of a medical weight loss program, semaglutide can significantly boost the effectiveness of a person’s overall effort to lose excess weight. It also helps improve metabolic health beyond the amount of weight lost, which is a great benefit for people who struggle with obesity or excess weight related to a health condition like heart disease.
In a recent study sponsored by the manufacturer of the medication, researchers found that obese patients who were taking semaglutide experienced improved cardiovascular outcomes compared to those on placebo. In addition to reducing BMI, the drug improved diastolic blood pressure, HbA1c, total cholesterol and C-reactive protein levels when compared with the placebo group. These improvements were seen in both those with a normal body mass index (BMI) and those with a high BMI.
Unlike many diet pills and other weight loss supplements, the medication semaglutide is an injectable prescription drug that is designed to help with long term weight management. It is given once a week via an injection under the skin in the abdomen, thigh or upper arm. This allows for a more convenient delivery method than pill or pump options and can be taken any time of day without impacting a person’s lifestyle or diet.
A major benefit of semaglutide is the ability to reduce appetite, resulting in a reduction in calorie consumption. Studies have shown that the drug can cause a reduction in calories by causing the stomach to produce a substance called glucagon-like peptide-1, which is similar to the hormone produced in the small intestine after eating. This in turn signals the brain that you are full.
However, a potential drawback of semaglutide is that it can lead to nutrient deficiencies in some cases if overused, so it’s important to ensure a balanced diet is followed while on the medication.
It’s also important to note that, as with most weight loss medications, a significant portion of the initial weight loss on semaglutide is water and muscle weight. Those results can be misleading and can lead to an unrealistic perception of how effective the medication is, but it’s still one of the most popular treatments for obesity and excess weight.
In addition to helping people lose weight, research suggests that semaglutide—along with liraglutide, another GLP-1 drug, which is approved for type 2 diabetes treatment—can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Researchers found that in obese patients with type 2 diabetes and a history of heart failure, the once-weekly injection of liraglutide and liraglutide (brand names Ozempic and Wegovy) reduced the risk of stroke and cardiovascular problems by 20%.1
These medications, which are injected under the skin, appear to work by suppressing the appetite and slowing digestion. They also help increase fat burning, which may help reduce inflammation and other metabolic problems.
However, these drugs are fairly new, and there’s still a lot that we don’t know about long-term use. They’re also only available by prescription and are typically used along with other treatments, including exercise, diet, and weight loss surgery.
It’s important to talk with your doctor about potential side effects and how they may affect you. You should tell your doctor about any other medical conditions you have, as well as about any other medicines you are taking, including vitamins and supplements. You should also let your doctor know if you have kidney or pancreas problems, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Those who have gastrointestinal symptoms from these medications can try strategies to minimize them, like delayed up-titration and re-titration or maintaining at a lower tolerated dose. Dietary changes, such as reducing fat intake, increasing fruits and vegetables, limiting processed foods, and stopping eating when you feel full, can also be helpful.
Some pharmacies offer to compound medications, which means they mix, alter or combine ingredients to create a tailored medication. However, these medications haven’t been tested in rigorous randomized clinical trials and may be contaminated with other substances. This could make them unsafe.
Currently, the only two brand-name semaglutide products that are approved for use in the United States are Ozempic and Wegovy. Those who have a BMI of 30 or higher or who are at least 27 and have one or more weight-related medical conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol are eligible for the drug.
One of the most common gastrointestinal side effects of semaglutide is nausea and vomiting. This side effect can be reduced or eliminated by eating smaller meals throughout the day and using over the counter remedies like ginger and chamomile teas. It’s also important to stay hydrated while taking the medication. Dehydration can exacerbate nausea and vomiting symptoms, so drinking plenty of water is essential.
Diarrhea is another gastrointestinal side effect of semaglutide that’s more likely to occur with higher doses of the medication. It’s often accompanied by stomach pain, bloating or cramping. It can be prevented by avoiding greasy or fried foods and limiting dairy and caffeinated drinks. In addition, eating more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables can help prevent diarrhea.
Constipation is a less common side effect of semaglutide. Symptoms are typically mild and improve with time. If you’re experiencing bloating or gas, try eating more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and slowly adding them to your diet to avoid overexerting the body. Additionally, drinking plenty of water and getting regular exercise can help with constipation as well.
Low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, is a potentially serious side effect of semaglutide that can lead to confusion, blurred vision, headache, dizziness, or a feeling of weakness or anxiety. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately. To help prevent hypoglycemia, eat small meals with carbohydrates every four hours and carry a fast-acting source of carbs with you in case you experience a low blood sugar episode.
In some animal studies, GLP 1RAs, including Ozempic and Wegovy, have been linked to thyroid tumors and cancer. If you have a family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumors in the glands), you should not use these medications. It’s also recommended that you don’t get pregnant or breastfeed while taking these medications.
Gastrointestinal side effects associated with semaglutide include nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are thought to result from a buildup of acids in the small intestine. This buildup may be exacerbated if the medication is taken on an empty stomach. Other gastrointestinal side effects associated with semaglutide include diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain. Some patients may experience nausea or vomiting to the point that they cannot drink liquids. This can lead to dehydration.
In a previous real-world disproportionality analysis of GLP-1RAs, the pooled ROR and later pooled time to onset for gastrointestinal AEs were higher for semaglutide compared with liraglutide. This finding was based on 2,047 cases in the FAERS database. The authors also noted that the serious gastrointestinal AEs of gallbladder disease and malignant neoplasms were not found to be associated with either GLP-1RA.
A number of patients reported pancreatitis while taking semaglutide. The severity of the side effect varied from mild to severe. The median time to onset was 23 days. The authors suggested that this was due to the fact that the compounded drug was being administered to a patient with preexisting inflammatory pancreatic conditions or underlying liver disease, both of which are risk factors for developing pancreatitis.
Compounding pharmacies are not required to follow the same standards as FDA-approved drugs, and there is no way for patients or health care professionals to know if a compounded product contains the same active ingredient as an FDA-approved one. In addition, some compounding pharmacies use salt forms of the medication—such as semaglutide sodium and semaglutide acetate—instead of the base form that is used in FDA-approved products. FDA has sent letters to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and Federation of State Medical Boards expressing concerns about this practice.
Before using semaglutide, patients should tell their doctor if they have any underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or gallbladder disease. They should also let their doctor know if they are pregnant or, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant. They should not take the medication if they have a history of pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. They should also avoid drinking alcohol or eating fatty foods while they are taking the medication, as these can increase the risk of a gastrointestinal side effect.