Semaglutuide Weight Loss Program
Semaglutide is well established as an effective weight loss medication. Millions of Americans are starting or have started a semaglutide weight loss program recently, since a 2021 study in the New England Journal of Medicine. This landmark study demonstrated a 15-20% reduction in weight for participants however, many patients had side effects. A few simple tips will help you reduce side effects and maximise weight loss.
Wegovy and Ozempic are the brand names of Semaglutide, however, they are expensive ($900-$1600/month), difficult to gain insurance approval for, and may not be stocked at your local pharmacy. Compounded Semglutide offers the same medication in a vial that can be drawn up by the patient for weekly injections. Before we get started with tips, let us look at how this medication works.
Semaglutide is a GLP-1 agonist and it works by mimicking the natural hormone GLP-1 which is released from the intestine in response to food. GLP-1 causes the pancreas to secrete insulin after a meal and also slows the emptying of the stomach so that people feel full for longer after eating. Semaglutide helps people lose weight by doing two things: it reduces hunger so that people eat less, and it causes the body to burn more calories.
Some of the benefits of semaglutide include :
- 20% weight loss on average
- Improvement in blood sugar control
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Lowers blood pressure
7 Semaglutide Weight Loss Tips
Like any other medication semaglutide has side effects, including nausea, vomiting and constipation. These side effects can derail a patients’ weight management plan and turn them away from the medication. Having a provider who understands semaglutide for weight loss, these side effects and the best ways to avoid them is essential for success.
1.Always take semaglutide on an empty stomach. This medication will slow gastric emptying (how long it takes for your stomach to move food into the intestines). If your stomach is full, when you take the medicine this increases your risk for nausea and vomiting. “We ask our patients to fast for 12-14 hours before injecting, this limits the nausea patients experience. This is especially true with the first injection, related Dr. Jake Weinstein from Mobile Care.
2. Avoid dairy. Dairy is difficult to digest because it requires multiple enzymes to break down dairy products (more work for your digestive system). When you take semaglutide, your digestive system is already working hard to break down the medication so that it can be absorbed. Adding dairy will further slow this process and increase your risk of nausea and vomiting. Patients who avoid dairy on the day of injection experience fewer side effects.
3. Start with a lower dose. Side effects are more common when starting semaglutide or increasing your dose. Talk to your provider about your dose before starting.
4. Use nausea medicine. Zofran (ondansetron) works by blocking the action of serotonin, a chemical that can cause nausea and vomiting. This can be taken as an orally disintegrating tablet under the tongue when patients inject semaglutide.
5. Semaglutide may cause bloating, due to delayed gastric emptying. Tums or a similar medication can help alleviate this discomfort.
6. The timing of Semaglutide is critical for minimal interference in your daily life. Since many patients experience nausea, the injection should be taken on a day with the least personal and professional obligations. For example, if you plan to entertain family or clients, this is not the day to take your injection. Patients may space out their dose further, from weekly to once every 10-14 days if needed. This is something that you should talk to your provider about before changing the dosing schedule.
7. Semaglutide can be expensive. If you have insurance, your insurance company may not cover the medication. One way to get around this is by using a compounded version of semaglutide. This is the same medication but in a vial that can be drawn up and injected by the patient instead of being prefilled in a pen. The cost for compounded semaglutide is often less expensive than the name-brand medication. Concierge practices, like Mobile Care, can ship semaglutuide directly to you, with all the necessary supplies for weekly injections.
Finally, get training from your provider. Injection training starts with learning how to draw up medications into a syringe. Semaglutide is a clear, colourless solution that does not require mixing. Some tips for injecting semaglutide include:
- Use a 27 gauge or smaller needle,
- Inject subcutaneously (just below the skin) into the thigh, abdomen or upper arm
- Rotate injection sites and do not use the same spot two weeks in a row
- Pinch the skin and insert the needle at a 90 degree angle. Push the plunger until all of the medication is injected and then pull out the needle quickly.
- After injecting, massage the area for 10 seconds to ensure absorption of the medication.
It’s normal to feel a little anxious before starting semaglutide injections. Learning how to give yourself the injections and understanding the side effects will help you feel more comfortable about starting this weight loss journey. These tips should help get you started on the road to success!
Your healthcare provider can also provide tips on diet and exercise to optimize semaglutide weight loss. Remember that healthy eating and physical activity are always important, whether you are taking medication or not. Your hormones can also play a role in weight loss and should be checked before starting a weight loss program. And finally, don’t forget to enjoy the process! Losing weight is hard work but it can be rewarding, both physically and mentally.
If you have any questions about starting a semaglutide weight loss program, talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you create a plan that is right for you and answer any questions you may have.