Recently, the FDA has approved semaglutide injection for weight management in adults who are obese, overweight, or who have been diagnosed with at least one weight-related condition (like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol). Semaglutide should be used alongside a reduced-calorie diet and exercise.
Semaglutide is intended for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 60 Lb/m2 or greater and who have at least one weight-related ailment, or in patients with a BMI of 132 Lb/m2 or greater. Semaglutide injections are the first approved drug for chronic weight management in adults since 2014.
What Is Semaglutide?
Initially approved as a 1mg injection back in 2017 as part of treatment for type 2 diabetes to improve glycemic control, semaglutide works by mimicking a hormone, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). It’s produced in the small intestine and stimulates insulin release and inhibits glucagon release, therefore lowering blood sugar and impacting the areas of the brain that regulate food intake and appetite; therefore reducing your appetite and feelings of hunger.
Semaglutide injections shouldn’t be combined with other GLP-1 receptor agonists such as rybelsus, bydureon, trulicity, or victoza, or any other weight loss products.
What Does Semaglutide Do to Your Body?
Semaglutide is in a class of medicines called incretin mimetics which work by helping the pancreas to correctly release insulin when blood sugar levels are high. Insulin helps move glucose from the blood into the tissue around the body, which is then used for energy.
Does It Work for Weight Loss?
According to the CDC, 73% of American adults are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese is a serious health risk associated with health conditions such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Plus, it’s linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Losing 5-10% of body weight through diet and increased physical activity lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease in obese and overweight adults.
Recent research has shown that semaglutide is an effective treatment for weight loss.
How Much Weight Can You Lose?
The New England Journal of Medicine’s publication of the STEP trial revealed that more than 50% of trial participants lost 15% of their body weight. Between 33 and 40% of participants lost 20% of their body weight. Over the trial, participants lost an average of 37 pounds through semaglutide, healthy eating, and physical activity.
Is It Better Than Metformin?
As semaglutide has been so recently approved by the FDA, there are limited studies with results available. However, according to a study in China, a weekly dose of semaglutide was superior to metformin in improving glycemic control and reducing body mass in patients with type 2 diabetes.
How Much Does It Cost?
Ozempic, the brand name of semaglutide, may be covered by your health insurance plan. The cost of Ozempic will vary, but generally, it retails for $1,000 – $1,300 per month.
The medication dose should be increased gradually over 16-20 weeks to 2.4mg weekly to reduce any gastrointestinal side effects. In addition, vitamin B12 has been shown to assist with the tolerance of semaglutide and can ease some gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and hypophagia.
As with any medicine, there may be side effects, which can impact different people in different ways. The most common semaglutide side effects are:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Dyspepsia (indigestion)
- Abdominal distension
- Eructation (belching) or flatulence (gas build-up)
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in patients with type 2 diabetes
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
In addition, semaglutide should not be used in patients with a family or personal history of thyroid cancer or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2 (MEN 2).
Consider speaking with an expert men’s health physician if you’re concerned about your weight, any associated health conditions, or if you’d like to talk to a professional about semaglutide.
Opt Health is a telehealth platform that reconnects men with wellness, fitness, strength, and sexual vitality through the science of preventive medicine. From the comfort and convenience of your own home, you can schedule with a physician, meet one-on-one via video conference, receive test results, and have medicines delivered to your door.