Fast and Furious: Semaglutide in 30 seconds.

Fast and Furious: Semaglutide in 30 seconds.
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin / Unsplash

There is a lot of good research out there on Semaglutide and the related market name drugs:

  • Ozempic
  • Wegovy
  • Rybelsus

UCLA did an excellent wrap up that is worth revisiting because of it's conciseness

Semaglutide, also known as Ozempic, for weight loss - what you need to know

Here' we'll try and make things even more concise.

Semaglutide is a GLP1 Agonist

Not sure what "GLP1 Agonist" means? You're not alone – check out our quick explainer.

For now, you can think of Semaglutide as a synthetic (lab created) hormone. It is similar to a hormone that naturally occurs in your body.

What does Semaglutide do?

It does a few things that all promote healthy blood sugar (and thus weight loss):

  • Prompts your body to produce more insulin
  • Suppresses appetite
  • Keeps you feeling fuller for longer

Is Semaglutide FDA approved?

Yes, Semaglutide is FDA approved, but only Wegovy is approved for general weight management – other Semaglutide treatments (Ozempic, Rybelsus, etc) are approved for type 2 diabetes treatment.

Read more from the official FDA statement made in 2021:

FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014
FDA approves Wegovy (semaglutide) injection for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition.

Does Semaglutide work?

In short, yes – The New England Journal of Medicine published a study called Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity which has a great summary of:

An early study of 2,000 obese adults compared people using semaglutide plus a diet and exercise program with people who made the same lifestyle changes without semaglutide. After 68 weeks, half of the participants using semaglutide lost 15% of their body weight, and nearly a third lost 20%. Participants who incorporated only lifestyle changes lost about 2.4% of their weight.

So while Semaglutide is not a wonder drug, and does not cause large amounts of weight loss for everyone, it is statistically significant in causing weight loss in many participants in that study.

What are the side effects?

We've got a whole article on that:

Are GLP1 drugs (Semaglutide) safe?
Drugs like Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy and others are helping people beat type 2 Diabetes and lose weight, but are these drugs safe? 💡Don’t know what “GLP1” means? Check out our explainer article on “GLP1 Agonists” for an easy to understand explanation. What does “safe” mean? Before we can talk about

But the UCLA Health list pretty succinct.

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, constipation and gas
  • Headache
  • Stomach issues, including nausea, vomiting, pain or distension (bloat)

Some heavier risks that are not mentioned there:

  • Thyroid cancer (some studies have not been able to replicate this outcome in humans)
  • Acute pancreatitis

Should you take Semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy, Rybelsus, etc)?

This is a decision best left to a medical professional, one with which you can share your pre-existing conditions, family history, and other risk factors that might impact what you can take and at what dosages you could start.

UCLA health has a helpful list of people who should likely not take Semaglutide:

- History of medullary Thyroid Cancer
- History of gallbladder disease
- History of pancreatitis
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2)

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