Is Semaglutide Worth the Cost for Weight Loss?

Semaglutide Is a Popular Weight Loss Medication

Semaglutide has become a very popular way to lose weight in the last year.

This medicine works almost like magic to help regulate blood sugar, stop cravings, minimize appetite, and shed pounds.

Let’s review Semaglutide and why it’s a suitable choice for those suffering from excess weight, diabetes, and/or metabolic dysfunction.

Metabolic Dysfunction

Doctors regularly recommend Semaglutide for people with metabolic dysfunction.

People with abnormal chemical reactions that disrupt the body’s metabolism have metabolic dysfunction. This problem predisposes people to weight gain.

Metabolic dysfunction can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Lifestyle
  • Nutrition
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Medication effect

Metabolic dysfunction is linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart disease. High stress levels, poor dietary choices, and inadequate sleep also promote the development of metabolic dysfunction.

Fortunately, Semaglutide works well for patients with metabolic dysfunction.
What Does Semaglutide Do in Our Bodies?

Semaglutide is made to imitate a natural substance found in our bodies. That substance is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1) agonist. GLP-1 is produced in our bodies. Its peak production occurs after we eat. GLP-1 tells our brains that we are satisfied. This is how Semaglutide decreases our appetite. The regular injection of Semaglutide persistently tells our brains that our hunger and cravings are satisfied.

After you eat, Semaglutide keeps the food in your stomach longer. This means that after you eat, your stomach is physically full longer. This decreases your appetite.

Semaglutide, a GLP-1 agonist, also promotes insulin production. Insulin is the hormone that helps control blood sugar levels.

Additionally, Semaglutide decreases glucagon production. Glucagon is the hormone that helps the liver make new glucose. This is another way that Semaglutide decreases blood sugar levels.

Reducing hunger and delaying stomach digestion are the main reasons why Semaglutide decreases food intake. People eat about 30% less while taking Semaglutide. Eating fewer calories is the reason why there is a reduction in body fat and weight.

Semaglutide makes you not want to eat, lessens cravings for eating, and helps burn body fat.

Additional benefits of Semaglutide include:

  • Decreased heart attack
  • Decreased stroke risk
  • Decreased risk of developing kidney disease for those with cardiovascular disease or diabetes

Semaglutide, combined with insulin, metformin, and/or a sulfonylurea medication can be used to treat diabetes. These combinations improve blood glucose control faster than when these medications are used on their own.

Potential Semaglutide Side Effects:

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) can occur in patients taking blood glucose lowering medications with Semaglutide. Hypoglycemia does not occur in patients that are not diabetics (that are not on blood glucose lowering medications). Hypoglycemia can be avoided by starting with a small weekly dose, increasing slowly, and monitoring blood glucose levels closely.

Some of the lab rats given semaglutide developed thyroid cancer. This has not been found to occur in humans.

Semaglutide increases the risk of pancreatitis.

For more details about the full list of side effects of Semaglutide, visit our weight loss webpage.

How Fast Does Semaglutide Decrease Blood Sugar?

Everyone metabolizes the medication differently and the dosage varies from person to person. So, the time to decrease blood sugar levels is variable.

Several studies show that it takes about 4-12 weeks for Semaglutide to lower HbA1c levels. HbA1c gives you an idea of your blood sugar levels over the last 2-3 months.

There are a few studies showing a significant decrease in blood sugar as early as one week after starting Semaglutide.

Semaglutide for Weight Loss

So many people try their best to eat right and exercise, but they just don’t see the pounds come off. It’s discouraging.

The good news is that Semaglutide gives you the boost you need to get to your goal weight.

Semaglutide makes you eat about 30% less than you did before taking the medication. It works mainly by decreasing appetite, desire, and cravings for food.

Semaglutide does not change your metabolic rate.

You WILL eat less and you WILL lose weight with Semaglutide.

When you eat healthy AND eat less with Semaglutide, you may be able to keep the weight off after stopping the medication.

See the details of the FDA’s approval of Semaglutide for weight loss.

Semaglutide can also be used to treat obesity in children and adolescents aged 12 and older. This recommendation came from the American Academy of Pediatrics in January of 2023.

Is Ozempic® the Same Medication as Wegovy®?

Originally, Semaglutide was used to help diabetic patients control blood glucose levels. When used to treat diabetes, the medication is called “Ozempic®.” Ozempic® is a brand name for Semaglutide. That means that Ozempic® and Semaglutide are the same medication, just known by different names.

The FDA approved Semaglutide for chronic weight management in 2021. When Semaglutide is used for weight loss, and distributed by Novo Nordisk, it is called Wegovy®.

So Wegovy® is the same medication as Semaglutide, which is the same medication as Ozempic®.

The main difference between Semaglutide used for diabetes and Semaglutide used for weight loss is the dose of the medication.

The weight loss dose is higher than the diabetes dose. Both medications are typically started at about 10% of the maximum dose. The dose is then gradually increased over the course of the next 5-6 months.

For type 2 diabetes patients, Ozempic® is recommended with proper diet and exercise to improve glucose control and decrease the risk of:

  • Cardiovascular death
  • Non-fatal heart attack
  • Non-fatal stroke

For diabetic patients, decreasing weight is not the primary goal of the medication. The primary goal is glucose control.

For patients who are overweight and obese, Semaglutide injections are recommended to be combined with a healthy diet and increased exercise. The primary goal is weight loss.

Novo Nordisk cannot keep up with the high demand for this medication. So, Semaglutide has been placed on the FDA national drug shortage list.

This designation gives compounding pharmacies the authority to make Semaglutide. So other pharmacies, in addition to Novo Nordisk, can make Semaglutide. Compounded Semaglutide is supposed to be the same Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist medication as that made by Novo Nordisk.

Some compounded injectable forms of Semaglutide combine carnitine and/or vitamin B12 to enhance energy while taking Semaglutide. Check with your medical provider for details.

For patients who may not be able to tolerate weekly injections, there is a tablet form of Semaglutide. The brand name of this form of Semaglutide is Rybelsus®.

Taking Semaglutide

Semaglutide is given as a weekly injection. The time of day doesn’t matter as long as the injection is given on the same day each week. It can be taken with or without meals.

If taken by mouth, the pill should be taken on an empty stomach at least two hours after eating. You should not eat, drink, or take any other oral medications for 30 minutes after taking Semaglutide pills.

Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Semaglutide?

Drinking alcohol regularly or heavily while taking Semaglutide is not advised. Semaglutide may keep alcohol in your stomach longer than usual. However, there isn’t much research to guide us for those who have an occasional drink of alcohol.

Consider speaking with your healthcare provider prior to consuming alcohol while taking Semaglutide.

There are numerous things to consider about combining alcohol and Semaglutide:

  • Your intestines may be affected by taking alcohol and Semaglutide together.
  • Semaglutide causes your body to absorb less glucose, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
  • Alcohol affects your body similarly. People with high alcohol intake often experience problems with malnutrition. So the combination may negatively affect your nutritional status.
  • Alcohol and Semaglutide together may increase your risk of hypoglycemia, low blood sugar.
Is Semaglutide Worth It for Weight Loss?

Semaglutide works for weight loss. When it received FDA approval in 2021, it became THE MOST effective weight loss medication available.

Semaglutide consistently helps people lose weight.

Studies show that weekly Semaglutide injections combined with a healthy diet and exercise can result in a 15% weight loss (25-35 pounds) over about 15 months. This typically results in the loss of about 4-6 inches from the waist.

The cost of Semaglutide ranges from a few hundred dollars per month to over one thousand dollars per month. Some providers charge only for the medication. Others have fees in addition to the medication for their counseling, advice, and recommendations. Some providers provide one-on-one counseling, body composition monitoring, and encouragement. Others simply mail the medication to the patient and provide information online about the medication and its administration. So, spend the necessary time looking for a program with trusted, experienced providers.

Gastrointestinal side effects are common. Up to 75% of Semaglutide patients experience gastrointestinal side effects. About 1 in 20 must stop the medication because of the side effects. See our weight loss webpage to get an in-depth review of all the possible side effects of Semaglutide.

Unfortunately, studies show that weight is regained when people stop taking Semaglutide. Some weight loss centers simply provide you with the medication. They don’t have a discontinuation plan to prevent weight regain. Others focus on teaching and training you about healthy nutrition and exercise while you are on Semaglutide, the goal being for you to learn how to keep the weight off after stopping Semaglutide.

To be successful long-term, after taking Semaglutide, focus on modifying your behavior and learn to change your relationship with food. Your food choices (quality and volume) will determine your rebound weight gain.

Semaglutide can help people with metabolic dysfunction. It helps correct weight, glucose regulation, and insulin resistance. The key is for you to change your lifestyle and diet so that you can maintain your newfound health. Semaglutide can get you where you want to be with your weight, but only you can keep yourself there.

Slowly weaning off Semaglutide after you reach your goal weight, and after your metabolic dysfunction has been corrected, will give you the best chance to maintain your goal weight.

Semaglutide has been a game changer for so many people. Keep in mind that close medical supervision is key to your long-term success.

If you’re overweight, or you have a weight-related problem, talk to your doctor to figure out if Semaglutide is right for you.

You can also set up a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Kirk Bass at Shea Aesthetic Clinic, in person, or by phone, to determine if you are a good candidate for Semaglutide.

If you are ready to lose weight so that you can more fully live the life that you love, get some help. Find a provider that is compassionate, confident, and kind.

How Will Shea Aesthetic Clinic Help Me Lose Weight?

Shea Aesthetic Clinic offers the following support to help you lose weight:

  • Medical Weight Loss Program
  • One-on-one Physician Counseling
  • Weekly Weight Loss Shot, Semaglutide (Ozempic)
  • Ongoing Nutrition and Exercise Counseling/Education
  • Weight Loss Coaching
  • Weekly Monitoring

Our team of experts will create a personalized weight loss plan that meets your individual needs and goals. We work with you to identify the root cause of your weight gain and develop a plan tailored to your needs. We will also provide you with the support and resources you need to succeed in your weight loss journey during and after the discontinuation of Semaglutide. We will teach you how to lose weight and keep it off for good.

To learn more about how Shea Aesthetic Clinic can help you lose weight, please visit our weight loss webpage.

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