Semaglutide, a member of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs), has emerged as a revolutionary solution for weight loss. Initially used to manage Type 2 diabetes, semaglutide, under the brand name Wegovy, has received FDA approval for chronic weight management.
Wegovy is the first drug since Saxenda to be approved by the FDA to treat chronic obesity for the 70% of American adults who are overweight or obese. Semaglutide injections are continually shown in the research to be effective for weight loss, highlighting the importance of viewing obesity as a chronic metabolic disease rather than an issue of choice and willpower.
However, weight loss injections are not a one-size-fits-all solution; semaglutide is not a miracle drug. We recommend a thorough consultation at one of our weight loss clinics to ensure you are suitable for treatment, and to recommend any potential alternatives.
What is Semaglutide?
Semaglutide is a prescription weight loss drug that imitates the GLP-1 hormone. GLP-1, released in response to eating, plays a crucial role in insulin production, reducing blood sugar.
Beyond diabetes management, semaglutide, in higher amounts, interacts with the brain, suppressing appetite and signalling fullness. This dual action, coupled with diet and exercise, yields significant weight loss.
Semaglutide Injections for Weight Loss
Wegovy is the only brand name currently approved for weight loss by the FDA. Administered weekly as 2.4-milligram subcutaneous self-injections, Wegovy and other weight loss injections stand as a beacon of hope for those battling obesity.
The demand for semaglutide has surged, leading healthcare professionals to prescribe alternative brands, such as Ozempic and Rybelsus, off-label to manage weight. These brands are approved for alternative uses such as managing diabetes, but not directly for the treatment of obesity or weight loss.
How effective are Semaglutide Weight Loss Injections?
There have been previous medications that can help to achieve weight loss, but they are not as effective as semaglutide.
A recent study has shown that obese adults, combining semaglutide with diet and exercise, achieved an average 14.9% reduction in weight after 68 weeks, compared to just 2.4% in the other participants who did not use the drug.
Additional studies have replicated similar results, but also reveal that adults may regain their lost weight after the trial when they stop using semaglutide. Consistent diet and exercise are fundamental to consistent weight loss. This is why it is so important to have a doctor-led and supervised weight loss programme to ensure you maintain a healthy weight.
What are the side effects of semaglutide?
Semaglutide generally induces mild side effects, particularly in contrast to the complications linked to excess weight and obesity.
Individuals using semaglutide for weight loss might encounter:
- Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea, constipation, and gassiness
- Stomach-related concerns, such as nausea, vomiting, pain, or bloating
Among those starting semaglutide, gastrointestinal issues are frequently reported. However, initiating the medication at a lower dose and gradually escalating it may help mitigate these side effects.
Is Semaglutide Right for you?
The weekly weight loss jab is suitable for those who are over the age of 18 and with a BMI above 30 (or 27 with a weight related co-morbidity). After you complete your online consultation you will be assessed by the doctor who will take into account factors such as you BMI, your medical history, current medication etc.
Semaglutide will not be suitable and will not be prescribed if you fall into one of the categories below:
- Under 18 or above 75 years of age
- If you are breastfeeding, pregnant or actively trying to get pregnant.
- Anyone who has liver or kidney problems, heart failure or pancreatitis.
- Type 1 diabetics or patients taking diabetic medication which cause hypoglycemia, such as insulin or sulphonylureas.
- Have or ever had eating disorders
- Take other weight loss drugs or medication that work in the same way as Wegovy, e.g. GLP-1’s such as Victoza, Ozempic, Saxenda, Trulicity.
Embarking on a semaglutide-based weight loss journey requires a consultation with a GP. Private Medical Clinic offers personalised guidance based on your medical history, ensuring a tailored approach to your weight management goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
The typical dose for weight loss is 2.4 milligrams, administered weekly as subcutaneous self-injections. Private Medical Clinic recommend a step-up programme to ensure that the medication is taken safely and so side effects can be managed effectively.
- Weeks 1-4: 0.25 mg weekly
- Weeks 5-8: 0.5 mg weekly
- Weeks 9-12: 1.0 mg weekly
- Weeks 13-16 (or later): 1.7 mg weekly
- Weeks 17 onwards (or later): 2.4 mg weekly
Yes, healthcare professionals may prescribe alternative brands like Ozempic and Rybelsus off-label to manage weight. However, these medications are only approved for other conditions such as diabetes.
Common side effects include dizziness, fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, headache, and stomach discomfort. These are generally mild and manageable.
Individuals with a history of thyroid cancer, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, or MEN2 should avoid semaglutide.