Ozempic Uses, Dose, Benefits and Side Effects

This article will outline what Ozempic is, explain how as MPEG or semaglutide works, and what you could likely expect in terms of side effects and essentially how to take it and get the best and the most out of it. 

An Introduction to Ozempic

So let’s talk about it Ozempic or semaglutide. Semaglutide is a once weekly injection for people with diabetes, and it’’s something called a GLP. But in essence, it looks very similar to a naturally occurring chemical that we all produce, that helps us regulate our appetite, as well as our blood sugar levels. 

What Does Ozempic Do? 

This treatment is for people with type two diabetes, where it’s been tested and investigated fairly heavily. It’s not approved for people with type one diabetes, and shouldn’t be taken in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

It’s ill advised at the moment to be using it in children. So what is a GLP? Well, GLP one is an extremely powerful chemical, it’s produced in response to eating by our gut. And it does a number of things, but there are four main actions. 

Reduced Appetite

The first is that when the chemicals released, it circulates into our system, and it gets into your brain. And from there it leads to reduced appetite: it’s thing that people experience when they’ve eaten too much, where suddenly they feel they’re over-full and havel that sense of sickness or fullness that you might feel, if you’re gorged yourself. That’s actually GLP-1 hitting the brain and saying that’s enough. 

Now, some people seem to produce fantastic GLP-1 responses that are really effective. Generally people that are thinner, they stop eating a lot more quickly. But we know that in people with type two diabetes, that sense is often impaired. And if you give someone GLP 1, you can switch off the appetite to some extent, and achieve some weight reduction.

Reduces Glucose or Sugar Secretion

Now how else does it work in the body? Well, in the liver, it reduces the amount of glucose or sugar that’s released by the liver. The normal situation for a person would be to release sugar into the circulation unless you don’t need it. But in type two diabetes, there’s impaired release of glucose out of the liver, continually the spores are being released into the circulation, even though the blood sugar level is elevated. 

Gastric Emptying

This leads to the third mechanism of action is around slowing stomach emptying and slowing what we call gastric emptying. That leaves food in the stomach for longer and therefore there’s less necessity to go looking for food. 

Insulin Production and Release 

Finally, the action is around the effect on the pancreas with GLP ones both increase the amount of insulin that’s produced, as well as increase the amount that’s released. And the interesting thing about it is that that is predominantly when the blood sugar is elevated. In other words, GLP-1—there are a range of these treatments—all have an effect, which is predominantly around high sugars. And if the sugar becomes low, the effect is switched off. And it’s the reason we see very low rates of low blood sugars, so called hypose, or hypoglycemic episodes that occur with GLP-1 treatments. 

How Much Dosage Should You Take? 

So if you’re on semaglutide, what dose should you use? Well, essentially, there are two doses that are sort of prescribed and talked about one is 0.5 milligrams, and the other one is one milligram. 

At the clinical trials, they started with a weekly injection at 0.25 milligrams a week. And that was for four weeks. And at the end of four weeks, predominantly that was around getting used to the drug. But at the end of four weeks, that dose was increased to 0.5 milligrams weekly.

And for many people, that is an extremely effective dose. 

In fact, for some people, the lower dose is still going to be highly effective in terms of 0.25. What’s more, there may not be a need to increase the dose even though the clinical trials suggested that’s what needs to happen. We do not know what the actual effect of 0.25 is. 

Now, if 0.5 milligrams isn’t enough, and sometimes the blood sugar’s are still not where they need to be, then we do have the option of increasing it to the one milligram dose. So it’s a step by process 0.25, initially for four weeks to get used to it, then 0.5 milligrams and if that’s the dose for you fantastic. But if you need escalating further, then up to one milligram.

But this is important. Ozempic will take five weeks to get going and get into your system, it won’t reach what we call steady state until that time, its main effect won’t be felt for 12 to 24 weeks. 

So if you think you’re going to take this drug, and in two or three days, my sugars are going to be perfect, that’s not how it works. You have to wait for its effect to have. You can make that judgment about when you need to increase the dose. And if you stop it, it clears the system of the body in about four or five weeks. You can see prices for ozempic from PharmaServe website.

How Does Ozempic Compare to Other Medication? 

So how does Ozempic compared to other GLP,-1 therapies? Well,  it’s just worth mentioning, there are a lot of GLP one treatments available at the moment. And some of them you’ll be familiar with. There are weekly versions and daily versions. 

The weekly versions that we’re looking at are things like Trulicity. And then we have daily versions and daily versions would be liraglutide, or Byetta. And maybe the only other agent that’s used a bit is lixisenatide. So we have quite a bit of options in terms of GLP-1 treatments.

So what are the side effects of Ozempic? Well, the common side effects are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and decreased appetite. That’s what was reported. But in fact, if you talk to people who are using it, it is that sense of fullness. That’s just that queasy feeling that you have if you’ve eaten too much. 

Imagine going to a wedding and just stuffing your face and then someone saying “would you like another dessert?” And just thinking “no, I can’t eat anymore.” That’s the sensation that you get with GLP-1  therapies and it’s experienced by about 10 to 20% of people. 

But the vast majority of the symptoms settle after around about eight to 12 weeks in most people and if somebody were in a situation where they felt nauseated, there is no reason that they need to increase 0.25 milligrams up to five milligrams until that nausea has settled, because it’s a very powerful drug. 

Now there are a few serious side effects that are noted. So there’s always a concern with the GLP-1 around inflammation in the pancreas that is extremely rare, low blood sugars are unlikely but possible. And of course, there are allergic reactions. 

Concluding Thoughts

So there’s Ozempic, a new treatment that’s being launched all over the world, that is for people with type two diabetes, that seems to not only lower blood sugars, but also in lowering blood sugars, at least at some weight loss. There’s some good evidence also that in people who have cardiovascular risk factors, in other words, people are either susceptible to heart attacks and strokes or people who’ve had one in the past. This reduces the likelihood of having a further event by around 25 to 26%.

That’s in common with a number of other GLP-1 drugs. So these are really powerful agents that are really helping healthcare professionals when it comes to providing great care and outcomes to people with diabetes. It’s certainly a great tool if you have diabetes, to help you move forward because with the benefits of weight loss, and the reduction in blood sugar being so powerful, and the potential benefit of reducing heart attacks and strokes. This is part of the future of diabetes. It’s here right now.