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Semaglutide is a relatively new medicine that was initially used for diabetes but it is now receiving increasing attention for use for weight loss. In fact, many patients who have used this medication for diabetes have experienced significant weight loss. Consequently, further studies have been performed to address the weight loss potential of this medication. In recent trial data released just last year, this medicine was associated with significantly reduced body weight compared to placebo (-15.2% versus -2.6%) that was maintained over 1 year when used in conjunction with diet and exercise.
The weight loss potential of this medication has also been demonstrated in my own clinic with many patients losing significant weight since starting it. Most patients have had minimal to mild side effects.
In regards to weight loss, semaglutide appears to act to reduce appetite and food intake by acting on the nervous system. It also works to delay gastric emptying which aids the feeling of satiety. The majority of weight loss is due to decreased caloric intake.
Some common side effects of the medication include nausea and vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort. These side effects are not thought to be a significant cause of weight loss with this medication.
What are some other benefits of semaglutide? In some patients like those with diabetes and a high risk of heart disease, semaglutide was associated with decreased rate of cardiovascular death, non-fatal heart attack, and non-fatal stroke.
Some potential concerns with the medication include an increased chance of pancreatitis, possible thyroid cancer, gallstones, and retinal changes. It should not be given in patients with a family or personal history of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2, impaired renal function, or medullary thyroid cancer.
The injection is a once weekly mildly painful subcutaneous injection often given in the abdominal area. In order to ensure tolerability and efficacy the dosage starts at 0.25 mg and can increase to 2.4 mg which was the most effect dose. Even lower dosages were found to be effective but the higher dosages were associated with more weight loss.
The goal with each patient is to use lowest effective dosage for the shortest duration of time and to focus on creating good eating and exercise habits which can be continued after the medication has been stopped.
If you have questions about this medication or are interesting in trying it please give us a call.
See below for further resources:
1. Wegovy (semaglutide): a new weight loss drug for chronic weight management
To get access to my entire catalogue of weight loss information, articles, mindset advice, experience, strategies, and tips/tricks that I have gathered and published over the years click here.
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