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Semaglutide is a relatively new weight loss treatment. If you’re overweight, it could help you to drop several pounds. When used in conjunction with other weight loss efforts, such as a low-calorie diet and exercise, semaglutide can produce dramatic results if you’ve previously struggled to address your excess weight. Timothy Garvey, M.D., noted that semaglutide "is beginning to close the gap with bariatric surgery." This simple injection could change your experience with weight loss. Here, you can learn how to use semaglutide and what to expect with this treatment plan.

What Is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide, also known as Wegovy or Ozempic was originally developed as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Semaglutide uses a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor as its active ingredient. At low doses, this peptide-1 receptor agonist increases insulin secretion, which is low in diabetics. Patients using the medication noticed a dramatic decrease in appetite, which often resulted in weight loss. Making note of this, Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that makes Wegovy, began to test the medication's effectiveness as a weight-loss drug.

In 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved semaglutide for chronic weight loss management in adult patients. Semaglutide marks the first new drug treatment since 2014 for this purpose.

How Does Semaglutide Work?

Semaglutide mimics the GLP-1 protein that our bodies naturally make in the intestine. This hormone sends a signal to the brain telling it that the body is satisfied and doesn't need to consume any more food. The natural form of GLP-1 has a half-life of just two minutes, so you may begin to feel hungry again shortly after the body stops producing it. Semaglutide, on the other hand, has a half-life of seven whole days. The modified hormone resists the enzymes that would otherwise break down GLP-1. Patients need only one weekly injection for this therapy to work.

Since semaglutide affects how your body perceives and digests food, it can make you feel bloated or nauseous when you first start using it. As you adjust, semaglutide should give you a feeling of fullness and satisfaction that makes it easier to reduce your caloric intake and enjoy significant weight loss.

How Should You Use Semaglutide?

The FDA approved semaglutide for weight loss at a dose of 2.4 mg a week. Your healthcare professional will prescribe a dosage that's right for you which typically starts at a lower dose and gradually increases. It usually takes 16 to 20 weeks to reach the full 2.4 mg of semaglutide.

When you first begin using semaglutide, you may want to incorporate some other measures to decrease your caloric intake. Try using smaller plates for your meals, so your food fills the same percentage of the plate even though you're consuming far less. If you attempt to eat as much food as you're accustomed to while taking semaglutide, you may feel sick.

Semaglutide should be used in conjunction with other weight loss measures, including increased physical activity and reduced caloric intake. Incorporating semaglutide into a well-rounded weight management program is the best way to get the results that you're after from this drug.

What Are the Side Effects of Semaglutide?

The most common side effects of semaglutide are nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. These typically occur in the earlier stages of treatment and resolve over time. Slowly increasing your dosage under close supervision from your healthcare provider can help you minimize these side effects. You should seek medical attention immediately if you experience a change in urine production, vision changes, nausea and vomiting that doesn't go away, or severe abdominal or stomach pain.

What Kind of Results Does Semaglutide Deliver?

Studies have shown notable results with semaglutide injections when used in conjunction with other weight loss measures. In a double-blind study of 1,961 adults, those using semaglutide reduced their body weight by 14.9% over 68 weeks compared to just 2.4% for those using the placebo.

Of the patients in the semaglutide group, 86.4% had a weight reduction of at least 5%, 69.1% had a weight reduction of 10% or more, and 10.5% lost at least 15% of their body weight. In the placebo group, just 31.5% lost at least 5% of their body weight, 12% lost 10% of their body weight or more, and 4.9% lost at least 15% of their body weight.

Another 68-week study yielded similar results. Of the 611 participants, those using semaglutide had a mean body weight change of 16% compared to just 5.7% for those using the placebo. In this study, patients consumed a low-calorie diet for the first eight weeks and received intensive behavioral therapy over the course of 30 visits during the 68-week trial period.

Who Should Use Semaglutide?

The FDA approved semaglutide for chronic weight loss management in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or higher or those with a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or higher and at least one weight-related ailment, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes. You should have comprehensive blood work performed by a healthcare professional and go through a detailed consultation with your provider before you begin using semaglutide to make sure this treatment program is right for you.

If you're ready to start experiencing the dramatic results of semaglutide for yourself, we can help. At the biostation, we offer semaglutide injections as part of our bSlim Peptide protocol. This weight-loss program includes a personalized weight management plan, nutritional guides, and weekly monitoring. We will carefully assess you to determine whether semaglutide is the right choice. If you're a good candidate, you'll get the care and attention you need to make semaglutide work for you.