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Semaglutide Weekly Injection (Ozempic)

Semaglutide (Ozempic) is a drug that’s currently used to treat those with type 2 diabetes and control blood glucose levels by reducing them when they become too high.
It’s a once-weekly injection, which is a refreshing change as most of these medications come as a daily injection, like liraglutide. In a similar way to liraglutide, there’s some evidence that semaglutide might also help clinically obese patients lose weight, even if they aren’t diabetic. This is because of the way medicines like this work - suppressing the appetite and leaving you feeling more satisfied after a meal.

Semaglutide is still going through clinical trials with a view of being released as a drug for weight-loss, but until then, it’s only licenced for use in diabetics. However, GPs may prescribe the injection as an off-licence use if an urgent clinical need to lose weight is shown.

Semaglutide (Ozempic) is a drug that’s currently used to treat those with type 2 diabetes and control blood glucose levels by reducing them when they become too high.
It’s a once-weekly injection, which is a refreshing change as most of these medications come as a daily injection, like liraglutide. In a similar way to liraglutide, there’s some evidence that semaglutide might also help clinically obese patients lose weight, even if they aren’t diabetic. This is because of the way medicines like this work - suppressing the appetite and leaving you feeling more satisfied after a meal.

Semaglutide is still going through clinical trials with a view of being released as a drug for weight-loss, but until then, it’s only licenced for use in diabetics. However, GPs may prescribe the injection as an off-licence use if an urgent clinical need to lose weight is shown.

Details

What is Semaglutide (Ozempic)?

Semaglutide is a prescription medication used in the treatment and management of type 2 diabetes. It is a medicine designed to reduce high blood sugar levels when they become too high and pose health risks to an individual. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that develops when blood sugar levels are too high because the body cannot produce enough insulin or it is not using insulin correctly. Ozempic contains the active ingredient, semaglutide, which helps to lower blood sugar levels. Semaglutide is the generic name Ozempic. However, there’s also some evidence to suggest that semaglutide can help obese patients with weight loss due to the way the medication works. Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, and these type of medications work to do the following:

  • •Stimulate the release of insulin after eating
  • •Inhibits the release of glucagon
  • •Slows glucose absorption into the bloodstream so it leaves you feeling more satisfied after a meal.

For those with diabetes, the focus of semaglutide is on the release of insulin as well as the slowed release of glucagon. Type 2 diabetes is a serious and long term condition that can lead to life-threatening complications such as heart attack and stroke if not the condition is not managed. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adulthood as a result of being inactive and overweight. Ozempic can be used alone or with other medicines which treat diabetes to keep the condition under control and avoid complications. If semaglutide is used for weight loss, the fact that the medication leaves you feeling fuller and more satisfied after a meal is the main focus point. In fact, one of the side effects of semaglutide is a reduced appetite and weight loss. These claims that semaglutide may be able to be used for weight loss aren’t founded on nothing, in fact, manufacturers of Ozempic, Novo Nordisk, are currently putting the drug through trials to see how effective it might be for those without diabetes who are wanting to lose weight. You can find the study here. If used for weight loss, it will be in a similar way to how liraglutide branched out from being a daily injection for diabetes into also being prescribed for weight loss. The branded version of liraglutide for diabetes is Victoza, whilst for weight loss, the injection was re-banded as Saxenda. Should semaglutide pass studies and be proven as an effective weight-loss drug, it’s likely to be re-branded and licenced in a similar way. Findings from the Novo Nordisk study show that patients using semaglutide experience a greater weight loss than those using liraglutide, suggesting that semaglutide is a more potent drug and possibly better suited to those with a higher BMI, or who may be classed as morbidly obese. However, details of this are to be confirmed as the drug continues its clinical trials. So far, semgalutide has been proven to be more effective than liraglutide for weight loss, with 35% of patients using the drug over 52 weeks losing 20% or more of their baseline weight, even without the presence of diabetes. Should the clinical trials involving Semaglutide go to plan, we can expect to see it being released as a new weight-loss medication within the next 5 years, as phase 3 studies are still ongoing until 2020.

How does Semaglutide (Ozempic) work?

Blood sugar levels become too high when there is a lack of insulin production, or insulin not being used effectively, and too much glucose in the blood. Ozempic is an injectable prescription medicine that improves the body’s ability to lower blood sugar. It does this by helping the body respond when blood sugar levels become too high by increasing the amount of insulin released from the pancreas and reducing the amount of sugar released from the liver.

How might Semaglutide (Ozempic) help with weight loss?

Whilst the drug has been manufactured for diabetes, part of how it works makes patients feel more satisfied after a meal as well as suppressing their appetite. This means that those using semaglutide are likely to consume fewer calories as they feel more satisfied after a meal and are unlikely to snack as much between meals. The reduction in appetite may also contribute to patients eating smaller portions than what they’re used to. Those using semaglutide are therefore likely to consume fewer calories than what they’re used to, and will therefore begin to lose weight rather than maintaining their current weight.

Can I take Semaglutide (Ozempic)?

At the moment, semaglutide is only licenced for use in patients with type 2 diabetes who haven’t been able to manage their blood glucose levels with diet and exercise alone. Metformin would ususally be the first choice of medicine to treat diabetes but not everyone is able to take this. If oral antidiabetics or insulin are not enough to control your condition, Ozempic is suitable to be used alongside other treatments. It’s important to know that semaglutide isn’t currently licenced for weight loss, but could be prescribed off-label in cases where a doctor thinks you may be a suitable candidate. This is up to the discretion of each individual doctor. Currently, the patient information leaflet states that if you have any of the following conditions of complaints, you should either avoid the medication or speak to your own GP before using the weekly injection:

  • •Allergic to any of the ingredients in the semaglutide injection
  • •Type 1 diabetes
  • •Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • •Kidney problems
  • •Dehydration
  • •Pancreatitis
  • •Hypoglycaemia
  • •Diabetic eye disease
  • •Pregnant
  • •Breast feeding

In addition to these, you should also speak to your GP if you’re using any other medicines which can be used to treat diabetes such as metformin or insulin, and if you’re using blood thinners such as warfarin.

How to use Semaglutide (Ozempic)

Ozempic is given as an injection and your doctor or nurse will show you how to use it correctly if this is your first time using it. You will inject yourself once a week preferably in the thighs, abdomen, or upper arm but never in a vein or muscle, the injection goes under the skin. You will usually begin on a dose of 0.25mg for four weeks, and depending on how well your blood sugar is being controlled, this may be increased after the four weeks.

What are the side effects of Semaglutide (Ozempic)?

The side effects of semaglutide are currently listed as:

  • •Retinopathy
  • •Eye problems
  • •Severe allergic reactions
  • •Nausea
  • •Vomiting
  • •Diarrhoea
  • •Low blood sugar (especially if used in conjunction with other anti-diabetic medications)
  • •Indigestion
  • •Gastritis
  • •Acid reflux
  • •Heartburn
  • •Stomach pain
  • •Bloating of the stomach
  • •Constipation
  • •Burping
  • •Gall stones
  • •Dizziness
  • •Tiredness
  • •Weight loss
  • •Reduced appetite
  • •Flatulence
  • •Increase of some pancreatic enzymes
  • •Altered taste
  • •Fast pulse
  • •Injection site reactions

If licenced for weight loss, it’s likely that these side effects will stay the same, as the make-up of the medication won’t change. However, it may be that the dosage instructions vary from the ones that are used to treat diabetes.

How effective is Semaglutide (Ozempic) at managing diabetes?

Ozempic is most effective at reducing blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of complications when it is combined with a healthy diet and active lifestyle. When used correctly, Ozempic can reduce blood sugar and prevent the serious life-threatening complications of diabetes.

How to buy Semaglutide (Ozempic) online

Ozempic is available on prescription only and if you regularly take this medication buying online may be the most convenient and fastest way of getting access to it, rather than visiting your GP surgery. Doctor-4-U has GMC registered doctors on hand to review your condition and suitability to take this medication. Simply fill in a medical consultation form which will be reviewed by our online doctors and once you have been approved for this medication it will be dispensed in our UK-based pharmacy and delivered via a tracked courier service.