What is Semaglutide?

It’s an injectable weight management medication that works on the appetite receptors in the brain to reduce feelings of hunger and cravings.  Ultimately, this medication decreases “gastric emptying,” the process by which stomach contents are moved into the first part of the small intestine as part of the digestive process. 

This medication was approved by the Federal Drug Administration (“FDA”) in 2016 to treat obesity and was also recognized in 2017 as a potential treatment option for type 2 diabetes. In clinical trials, patients lost approximately 10% of their body weight over a period of 40 weeks compared to only five percent (5%) weight loss from those taking placebo. Studies have shown that it can improve glucose metabolism and lead to reductions in glycated hemoglobin levels.  

It may help patients adhere to a reduced-calorie diet, but it is important to use this medication in conjunction with lifestyle interventions such as diet and exercise.

Benefits of Semaglutide

  • Reduces food intake by lowering appetite
  • Slows food digestion in the stomach
  • Decreases body fat percentage & aids in weight management
  • Decreases adverse cardiovascular outcomes in subjects with type 2 diabetes
  • Lowers HbA1c levels
  • Enhances the growth of β cells in the pancreas
  • For every pound lost you take three (3) pounds of pressure off your knees (walking)
  • Improve joint performance
  • Help prevent degenerative joint disease
  • Prolong joint surgery and replacement

How is it used?

An injection comes as a solution (liquid) in a prefilled vial to inject subcutaneously (under the skin, normally into the belly fat). The needle is comparable to those used for insulin injections, making self-injection easier and less painful. It’s injected once a week without regard to meals. You will have injection training once your product is received at the clinic. However, if you do not feel comfortable self-injecting, once a week appointments can be scheduled to receive the injection from a healthcare provider. 

It should be injected on the same day each week but can be injected at any time during that day. You may change the day of the week that you administer it as long as it has been two (2) or more days (48 or more hours) since you administered your last dose. Use injection exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it than prescribed. Do not use more frequently than prescribed by your provider.

Your healthcare provider will start you on a low dose and increase your dose after four (4) weeks. Your provider may increase your dose again after another four (4) weeks depending on how you respond.

How effective is the therapy for weight management?

It does not work alone, and it is not a substitute for exercise and a healthy diet. For the program to be most effective, you will also need a weight management plan, workout routine, a low-calorie diet, and behavior and lifestyle changes. 

It can take more than a year for the drug to be fully effective, although some patients may hit a weight loss “plateau” before one year. It is important to see a loss of five percent (5%) total body weight in the first three (3) months, which is a good indicator of whether the medication will continue to be effective.

Is it for everyone?

You should not use Semaglutide if you are allergic to it, or if you have a history of the following:

  • Endocrine tumors in the thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, pancreas, or adrenal glands
  • A family history of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2 (MEN2)
  • A history of diabetic retinopathy or vision problems
  • Pancreatitis
  • Active gallbladder disease
  • Kidney disease, kidney failure, or other kidney problems
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Thyroid cancer, thyroid tumors, or a family history of thyroid cancer
  • Injection may increase the risk that you will develop tumors of the thyroid gland, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC; a type of thyroid cancer). Laboratory animals who were given Semaglutide developed tumors, but it is not known if this medication increases the risk of tumors in humans. 
  • Pregnant, breast-feeding, or are planning on becoming pregnant
  • Heavy alcohol consumption

Can I start if I have diabetes?

If you are a diabetic, you should first meet with your healthcare provider managing your diabetes for authorization to begin treatment.

Does it Work for everyone?

Not everyone will respond to Semaglutide. About 13% of individuals with weight management issues in clinical trials did not lose weight. 

Weight management side effects

Some of the more common side effects include nausea, vomiting, headache, reactions at the injection site, diarrhea, constipation, and gas. These side effects may decrease over time as your body adjusts to the medication.  There are also certain allergens that should be avoided before taking medication including foods such as yeast, soybeans and meat prepared using strong-flavored spices. 

Can I drink alcohol while taking medication? 

We recommend limiting alcohol while using this medication because it can increase your risk of developing low blood sugar as well as dehydration. It is also important to remember that if you are eating less food, there will not be as much in your stomach so you may feel the effects of alcohol more acutely. If you have eaten healthy all week and then end up drinking a lot of calories through alcohol, it may hinder your progress. 

Treatment plan and cost

We are offering a three (3) month or six (6) month program. The cost of these programs includes initial labs (we send you to a lab and you are required to use your insurance), lab review and determination of eligibility, product costs, monthly visits (or weekly visits depending upon your injection needs), diet review and recommendations for diet plan.  This medication is not covered by most insurance carriers unless you have received prior authorization with your provider.  We do not provide prior authorizations.