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Medical Weight Loss & Semaglutide: Benefits, Side Effects, and Weight Loss Potential

Medical Weight Loss & Semaglutide: Benefits, Side Effects, and Weight Loss Potential

-Cir. Nebraska Wellness Group. March 28, 2024.-

What can semaglutide offer for diabetes and weight loss? As a medication initially for type 2 diabetes, semaglutide now also provides hope for weight reduction. It acts by affecting appetite and blood sugar control. This article will clarify semaglutide’s effects, examine both benefits and side effects, and share insights on its role in weight management. If you’re evaluating semaglutide for your health needs, here’s a concise guide to inform your decision.

Key Takeaways

  • Semaglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist originally designed for type 2 diabetes, has proven to be effective for weight loss in obese patients, reducing average body weight significantly over 68 weeks.

  • Side effects from Semaglutide can range from mild gastrointestinal issues to rare but severe symptoms such as adverse thyroid conditions and allergic reactions, and precautions are necessary before starting the medication.

  • Lifestyle choices such as a balanced diet and regular exercise are essential when using Semaglutide and similar weight loss medications for weight loss, and it has secondary benefits of improving cardiovascular health in patients with type 2 diabetes.

  • Nebraska Wellness Group stands out by offering a unique compounded version of semaglutide, enhanced with vitamin B-12, at a fraction of the cost of commercial brands, making weight loss more accessible and affordable.

  • Our dedicated team at Nebraska Wellness Group is committed to providing personalized care and support, ensuring you have the best possible experience with semaglutide treatment.

Understanding Semaglutide and Its Clinical Uses

Illustration of a medical researcher studying the effects of semaglutide injections in a laboratory

 

Semaglutide, classified as a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, is a versatile medication revolutionizing the health landscape. Originally, it was designed to control blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, working in tandem with diet and exercise. But its potential did not stop there. Doctors soon realized that semaglutide had the power to go beyond diabetes treatment, offering a beacon of hope for weight loss and maintenance in obese patients.

But how does this miracle drug work? Let’s delve deeper into the science behind semaglutide’s mechanism of action.

Semaglutide’s Mechanism of Action

Semaglutide works by:

  • Mimicking a natural hormone that targets GLP-1 receptors in the brain, which are responsible for appetite regulation

  • Leading to increased release of insulin and decreased release of glucagon, effectively lowering high blood sugar levels

  • Delaying gastric emptying, contributing to the control of blood sugar levels and helping manage your appetite.

This unique mechanism of action sets the stage for semaglutide’s effectiveness not only as a diabetes medication but also as a powerful tool for weight loss.

Weight Loss Medications, Brands and Their Uses

Semaglutide is the active ingredient in several brands of medication, including Ozempic and Wegovy. Ozempic is primarily used for managing type 2 diabetes, while Wegovy is specifically FDA-approved for weight loss in patients with obesity or overweight conditions. The diversity among semaglutide brands demonstrates its versatility, extending its use beyond traditional diabetes treatment to weight management and anti obesity medications in patients with a certain BMI and weight-related conditions.

Nebraska Wellness Group offers a unique compounded version of semaglutide, enhancing it with the addition of vitamin B-12. This compounded GLP-1 and similar medications are designed to aid in weight loss, offering a cost-effective alternative to brand-name medications like Ozempic and Wegovy.

The Impact of Semaglutide on Weight Loss

Artistic representation of a person achieving weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with semaglutide injections

Semaglutide has made waves in the realm of weight loss medications, showing promising results in clinical studies. Patients using semaglutide can achieve an average weight loss ranging from 9.6% to 17.4% of initial body weight after 68 weeks, with significant weight loss also observed in non-diabetics. The weight loss over the course of clinical trials has been substantial, ranging from 5.9% at three months to an average of 14.9% at the end of the study.

This significant reduction in weight is achieved through semaglutide’s unique interaction with brain receptors to suppress appetite and signal fullness, which in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise, leads to a significant reduction in weight. However, not everyone experiences such dramatic results. Individual responses to semaglutide can vary, with some patients not achieving significant weight loss, defined as a weight loss of less than 5% at 12 weeks.

At Nebraska Wellness Group, our patients have seen outstanding results, with significant weight loss being a common outcome of our obesity treatment. However, it’s important to remember that every patient has a different response to these medications, which can affect dosing and necessitate additional treatments or even lead to weight gain in some cases.

Realistic Expectations for Weight Loss with Semaglutide

It’s crucial to approach your weight loss journey with semaglutide with realistic expectations. Clinical trial participants assessing semaglutide’s weight loss effects were generally 45 years or older and had a body-mass index of 27 or greater. While these guidelines provide a reference, it’s important to remember that Nebraska Wellness Group serves patients of all ages and backgrounds, from pediatric to geriatric care.

Everyone’s journey is unique, and individual results may vary.

Long-Term Weight Management with Semaglutide

Semaglutide and similar weight loss medications play a significant role in maintaining weight loss over an extended period. However, it’s important to remember that weight loss is not just about taking a pill. Individuals under unsustainable circumstances have the potential to regain weight after discontinuing semaglutide treatment, which illustrates the challenge of long-term weight management without sustained medication.

Our goal at Nebraska Wellness Group is to help you achieve healthy behaviors that you carry with you beyond your time with us. While continuous or ongoing semaglutide therapy may sometimes be necessary to prevent weight regain and sustain the benefits of initial weight loss, it’s also crucial to consider other interventions such as conscious eating and exercise for sustainable results.

Weight gain can be an incredibly frustrating aspect of implementing healthy behaviors, but weight loss drugs such as semaglutide and tirzepatide provide the best opportunitiy to keep the weight off.

Not only this, but new research has shown the potential these weight-loss drugs have for to treat depression, as well as treating obesity.

If one of these medications don’t seem to work for you, Nebraska Wellness Group also offers alternative medications to meet your needs.

Side Effects: What You Need to Know About Semaglutide

Illustration of a person experiencing potential side effects of semaglutide injections

While Semaglutide and weight loss medications offer many benefits, it’s important to be aware of its potential side effects. Some common side effects include low blood sugar, upset stomach, and nausea. While these side effects are generally mild, Semaglutide can also lead to more serious side effects.

Rare but severe side effects may manifest as signs of an adverse thyroid condition, including swelling or a lump in the neck, trouble swallowing, a hoarse voice, or shortness of breath. Allergic reactions to semaglutide are rare but may exhibit symptoms like hives, itching, dizziness, fast heartbeats, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

In the case of an overdose, Semaglutide and some weight loss medications can lead to severe nausea, vomiting, or dangerously low blood sugar levels. It’s critical to monitor for side effects vigilantly and seek immediate medical attention if serious side effects are suspected or if an overdose happens.

Remember, our team is here for you, and we make ourselves accessible so that we can help if you’re unsure about what to do.

Managing Mild Side Effects

Mild side effects such as nausea and constipation are common with weight-loss drugs like Semaglutide. To manage these symptoms, consider:

  • Eating several small meals a day

  • Ensuring a diet rich in nutritious foods

  • Staying hydrated

  • Consuming small, frequent meals throughout the day

These measures can help alleviate common gastrointestinal symptoms associated with digestive and kidney diseases.

If you have questions about proper eating habits, our team is here to help!

Recognizing and Responding to Serious Side Effects

While severe side effects are rare, it’s critical to recognize and respond to them promptly. Semaglutide may interact with beta-blocker medications, potentially masking signs of hypoglycemia such as a rapid heartbeat. If you’re on Semaglutide and beta-blockers and experience signs of serious side effects, consult your healthcare provider promptly.

Rest assured, our team at Nebraska Wellness Group is trained to spot the potential for adverse effects and is committed to your health and wellbeing.

Precautions Before Starting Semaglutide

Before starting Semaglutide, it’s crucial to take certain precautions. Understading your family medical history as well as disclosing your personal medical history, particularly any incidents of diabetic retinopathy, pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, kidney issues, and stomach or intestinal disorders, is important. Semaglutide is not recommended for patients with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). This precaution should be taken into consideration when prescribing the medication.

Before administration, the medication should be checked for particulate matter or discoloration, which indicates it should not be used. It’s also crucial to rotate the injection sites with each weekly dose of Semaglutide to minimize the risk of tissue damage. Lastly, be informed about potential drug interactions, as Semaglutide can be affected by medications that slow digestion or influence absorption, such as other diabetes medications.

Assessing Your Health Status

Navigating your health can be challenging, and that’s where we at Nebraska Wellness Group step in. Our team is here to help you assess your health status and determine if medical weight loss is right for you. We believe in health equity and accessibility and provide services to patients of all backgrounds.

So, whether you’re a young adult or in the golden years of life, we’re here to support you on your health journey.

Potential Drug Interactions with Semaglutide

While Semaglutide has a well-tolerated interaction profile, it’s important to be cautious of potential drug interactions. As research has continued, adverse interactions have maintained a low overall incidence among study groups. If you have any concerns about an existing medication and its use with Semaglutide, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’re here to provide you with the information and support you need.

General Dosage Guidelines for Semaglutide

When starting Semaglutide, it’s important to follow general dosage guidelines. The recommended starting dosage of our compounded Semaglutide is 25 units (.625 mg) injected subcutaneously once-weekly. If a patient does not tolerate the initial .625 mg once-weekly dose, the dose can be temporarily decreased to evaluate tolerance.

If the patient cannot tolerate the reduced dose after an attempt to reduce the initial dose, Semaglutide should be discontinued and a different medication may be prescribed. In the event of a missed dose, use the medication as soon as possible, then return to the regular schedule if the next dose is due in less than 2 days, skip the missed dose. Semaglutide injections are administered subcutaneously once a week.

Starting and Adjusting Dosage

Starting Semaglutide treatment with a lower dose and gradually increasing the dose over time can help reduce side effects. For weight management, the initial dosing starts at 8 units (0.2 mg) once a week for the first week, and may be progressively increased every week based on individual tolerability to a maximum of 100 units (2.5 mg) per week. Semaglutide injections should be administered subcutaneously into the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm, with the site of injection being rotated each time to prevent tissue irritation.

Adhering to Dosing Schedules

Adhering to dosing schedules is a key to achieving optimal efficacy with Semaglutide. If a dose is missed and it is within 5 days of the scheduled dose, it should be administered as soon as remembered. If it’s beyond 5 days, the missed dose should be skipped.

Following these guidelines can help maintain consistent levels of prescription medications in your body and enhance their effectiveness.

Lifestyle Integration: Diet, Exercise, and Semaglutide

Illustration of a balanced diet and exercise regimen integrated with semaglutide treatment

To optimize the benefits of Semaglutide, it’s important to integrate it into a comprehensive approach that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise. A balanced diet rich in nutritious foods can manage gastrointestinal side effects and support successful weight loss.

Moreover, regular physical activity can boost the effectiveness of Semaglutide in aiding weight loss.

Crafting a Sustainable Healthy Eating Plan

Creating a nutritious and sustainable eating plan is a critical component of your weight loss journey with Semaglutide. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Focus on the nutritional quality of the consumed foods rather than a specific calorie count.

  • Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats in your diet.

  • Limit processed and high-sugar foods.

  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

  • Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

  • Consider working with a registered dietitian for personalized guidance.

A diet that follows these guidelines can enhance Semaglutide’s efficacy and support your weight loss goals.

Remember, it’s not just about limiting high-fat foods or those containing unhealthy fats to reduce body fat. It’s also about being cautious with alcohol and foods high in added sugars. A balanced and enjoyable diet is crucial to support chronic weight management and improve general well-being, helping you to lose weight effectively and treat obesity.

Incorporating Exercise into the Treatment Regimen

Alongside a healthy diet, incorporating regular exercise into your treatment regimen can enhance Semaglutide’s weight loss effects. Here are some tips for incorporating exercise into your routine:

  1. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activities per week.

  2. Choose activities that you enjoy, such as walking, swimming, or cycling.

  3. Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration and intensity.

  4. Include a mix of cardiovascular exercises and strength training.

  5. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program.

Regular physical activity boosts metabolism and, when combined with Semaglutide, enhances fat and calorie burning.

Financial Considerations: The Cost of Semaglutide

While the cost of medications can vary based on the dosage, at Nebraska Wellness Group, we aim to make our costs as absolutely affordable as possible for you. We offer Semaglutide, tirzepatide, and similar weight-loss medications at a fraction of the cost of commercially available brand-name medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy.

If you decide to pursue coverage through your insurance provider, the Patient Assistance Program (PAP) is likely the most viable option.

Financial Considerations: The Patient Assistance Program (PAP)

Novo Nordisk’s Patient Assistance Program is available for U.S. citizens or legal residents who meet the following criteria:

  • Have a household income at or below 400% of the federal poverty level

  • Are uninsured or with Medicare

  • Are not enrolled in Medicaid or other government assistance

To apply, individuals can submit an application online or via paper with the necessary documentation like proof of income and insurance details. The application process requires parts to be completed by healthcare providers, including prescribing information and signatures.

Eligible patients should reapply for the Patient Assistance Program as their enrollment period concludes, ensuring the use of the latest form. Approved applicants will receive their Semaglutide medication at their healthcare provider’s office, where they must pick it up as direct shipping is not permitted. The program also enables automatic refills for medications at the direction of the prescribing healthcare provider.

Remember, patients and healthcare providers need to stay informed about possible changes to the guidelines of the Patient Assistance Program, as they may change without notice.

Navigating Pregnancy and Breastfeeding with Semaglutide

If you’re planning to start a family, there are some important considerations when using Semaglutide. Individuals planning pregnancy should consult with a healthcare provider to discontinue Semaglutide two months prior due to risks to the fetus as seen in animal studies. In the event of an unplanned pregnancy, the discontinuation of Semaglutide is recommended due to potential risks.

Breastfeeding mothers must weigh the potential adverse effects of Semaglutide on the infant against the benefits of breastfeeding and the mother’s need for the drug. There are no data on the presence of Semaglutide in human milk or its effects on breastfed infants. However, in animal studies, Semaglutide was detected in milk, and its absorption enhancer, SNAC, showed potential risk for higher plasma levels in breastfed infants due to their lower capacity for clearance.

Storing Semaglutide: Best Practices

Proper storage of Semaglutide is crucial for maintaining its potency and effectiveness. Unopened vials of compounded Semaglutide should be kept refrigerated at temperatures between 36-46°F (2-8°C). The medication must be safeguarded from direct sunlight and heat sources.

If you’re traveling, unopened Semaglutide vials should be carried in a cooler bag or an insulated container with an ice pack.

Beyond Weight Loss: Semaglutide’s Role in Cardiovascular Health

Artistic representation of a heart symbolizing improved cardiovascular health with semaglutide injections

Semaglutide offers benefits beyond weight loss. It aids in reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes, contributing to cardiovascular health. Losing 5% to 10% of total weight and maintaining this weight loss can lead to lower high blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and triglycerides, which are crucial factors in cardiovascular health.

Combining Semaglutide with a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise offers several benefits:

  • Supports weight management

  • Improves cardiovascular health

  • Takes a holistic approach to health

  • Enhances overall wellbeing

With Semaglutide, you’re not just losing weight; you’re taking a comprehensive approach to your health.

Summary

In summary, Semaglutide is an innovative medication that offers a comprehensive approach to health, beyond merely controlling blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. It plays a significant role in weight loss and maintenance. Yet, it’s important to approach Semaglutide use with realistic expectations and a commitment to lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular exercise.

While Semaglutide may have side effects, these can be managed with appropriate precautions and medical supervision. It’s critical to disclose personal medical history before starting Semaglutide and to be aware of potential drug interactions. Adhering to dosing schedules and properly storing the medication is also key for optimal efficacy. With these strategies in place, Semaglutide can serve as a powerful tool in your health journey, aiding in weight loss and enhancing cardiovascular health.

Nebraska Wellness Group stands out in its commitment to addressing this epidemic by offering Semaglutide and similar medications at an affordable rate. By doing so, we are making these life-changing treatments more accessible to those who might otherwise be unable to afford them. Our unique approach includes a compounded version of semaglutide enhanced with vitamin B-12, tailored to support the individual needs of our patients.

We understand that the journey to overcoming obesity is a personal and often challenging one. That’s why Nebraska Wellness Group is dedicated to providing not only affordable medication options but also comprehensive support through our team of healthcare professionals. Our goal is to empower patients with the tools they need for successful weight management, thereby contributing to the broader effort to combat the obesity epidemic in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does semaglutide do to your body?

Semaglutide helps treat type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin levels in the body, lowering blood sugar, reducing the amount of sugar released into the blood, and slowing down digestion. This medication is an incretin mimetic that assists the pancreas in releasing the appropriate amount of insulin when blood sugar levels are elevated.

Can you lose weight with semaglutide?

Yes, studies have shown that adults using semaglutide can lose about 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks when combined with a diet and exercise program. It’s important to continue making lifestyle changes for sustainable weight loss.

Weight loss is made much easier with these medications, but there is also research that has shown that these medications can lower blood pressure, reducing appetite, and improving overall health.

Is Ozempic the same as semaglutide?

Yes, Ozempic is the same as semaglutide. Both are names for the drug semaglutide, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes or obesity (Reuters, 2022).

Not only this, but our compounded medications fall under the category of prescription drugs, personally provided by our practitioner.

What is the dark side of semaglutide?

The dark side of semaglutide includes potential risks for pancreatitis, kidney issues, and the development of certain types of cancers. If you experience sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, or lightheadedness while using semaglutide, seek medical attention immediately.

Can semaglutide be used in combination with other weight loss medications?

Semaglutide may be used in combination with other weight loss medications, but this should only be done under the guidance of a healthcare provider. It’s important to evaluate the potential benefits and risks, as well as any possible drug interactions, before combining treatments.

Are there any lifestyle changes recommended while taking semaglutide?

Yes, to maximize the effectiveness of semaglutide for weight loss, it is recommended to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Making changes such as reducing calorie intake, eating nutrient-dense foods, and engaging in both cardio and strength training exercises can greatly enhance the weight loss effects of the medication.

Who should not take semaglutide?

Semaglutide is not recommended for individuals with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome.