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Semaglutide

What is the FDA-approved use of semaglutide?

Semaglutide is indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and for chronic weight management in patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 kg/m2 or greater who have at least one weight-related ailment or in patients with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater. 


Mechanism of Action 

Semaglutide falls within the category of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. It functions by replicating the actions of the GLP-1 hormone released in the gastrointestinal tract following a meal. One of the roles of GLP-1 is to stimulate the body to generate more insulin, thereby lowering blood glucose levels. Additionally, increased levels of GLP-1 also engage with certain areas of the brain that reduce appetite and convey a sensation of fullness.


Who should not use semaglutide?

The following conditions can preclude the usage of semaglutide: personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, taking another GLP-1 receptor agonist, diabetic ketoacidosis, known hypersensitivity to semaglutide or any of the injection components, bariatric surgery within the last 6 months, and pregnancy.

Furthermore, it is essential to inform your doctor if you have or have had a stomach or intestinal disorder, pancreatitis, kidney disease, or eye problems induced by diabetes.


Boxed warning for serious effects:

There is a risk of thyroid C-cell tumors associated with semaglutide usage, as noted in studies performed on rodents. It is not yet established whether humans will develop thyroid tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), when using semaglutide. Immediately notify your healthcare provider if you experience swelling or a lump in your neck, shortness of breath, hoarseness or difficulty swallowing, as these could be signs of thyroid cancer. Refrain from using semaglutide if you or any member of your family has had MTC or a similar condition known as MEN 2.


What should I tell a provider before starting semaglutide?

Ensure you disclose your entire medical history to your healthcare provider.  Be aware that withholding or providing inaccurate health and medical history to obtain treatment can have serious consequences, potentially including death.

  • Comorbidities:
    • Personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2).
    • • Known hypersensitivity to semaglutide 
  • Pregnancy and special populations:
    • Pregnancy: May cause fetal harm. When pregnancy is recognized, discontinue semaglutide.
    • Females and Males of Reproductive Potential: Discontinue semaglutide at least 2 months before a planned pregnancy because of the long half-life of semaglutide
  • Drug-interactions:
    • Semaglutide delays gastric emptying. May impact absorption of concomitantly administered oral medications. Use with caution.

How should I use semaglutide?

Administer semaglutide once weekly, on the same day each week, at any time of day, with or without meals. Inject subcutaneously in the abdomen, thigh or upper arm. Follow the dosing schedule provided by your provider.


What side effects should I be aware of with semaglutide?

Some common side effects of semaglutide include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. These side effects are usually mild and go away over time. In rare cases, more serious side effects can occur, such as inflammation of the pancreas or kidney problems.

It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any potential risks and benefits of taking semaglutide, and to report any side effects or concerns promptly.

The above does not encompass all potential side effects, medication interactions, or studies related to semaglutide.

 

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