Semaglutide is used for the management of blood sugar levels in adult patients with type 2 diabetes, when other medications have not been effective, as part of a comprehensive program that includes diet and exercise. It is not intended for the treatment of type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis.
Semaglutide belongs to the class of medications known as incretin mimetics and works by promoting the appropriate release of insulin by the pancreas in response to elevated blood sugar levels and slowing gastric emptying.
Prolonged exposure to high blood sugar levels can result in serious or life-threatening complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, nerve damage, and eye problems, for individuals with diabetes. Management of diabetes through medication, lifestyle modifications, and regular monitoring of blood sugar levels can help to improve health and decrease the risk of complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, nerve damage, changes or loss of vision, gum disease, and decreased sexual function in both men and women. Your healthcare team will work with you to determine the most appropriate approach for managing your diabetes.
Uses and Dosage
Consume this medication with a single sip of water (not exceeding 4 ounces or 120 milliliters), as directed by your physician, typically on a daily basis. Avoid taking the medication with any other beverage.
The tablet should be swallowed whole, without splitting, chewing, or crushing. Allow a minimum of 30 minutes to elapse after taking semaglutide before consuming any food or beverage, except plain water, and before taking any additional oral medication.
For optimal effectiveness, eat within 30 to 60 minutes of taking semaglutide. Take this medication the same way with every dose.
The prescribed dosage is determined based on the individual’s medical condition and response to treatment. To minimize the risk of adverse effects, the physician may advise starting with a low dose and gradually increasing it.
Take the medication regularly to attain the maximum benefits. To assist with remembering, take the medication at the same time each day.
Avoid exceeding the prescribed dose or frequency of use, as doing so will not hasten recovery and may increase the risk of adverse effects. In the event that the condition does not improve or worsens, inform your healthcare provider immediately.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- burping or gas
- change in sense of taste
- decreased appetite
- stomach pain
- upset stomach
- weight loss
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- fast heartbeat
- low blood glucose
- changes caused by diabetic retinopathy (e.g., blurred or changing vision, floaters, changes in colour vision)
Before using semaglutide, inform your healthcare provider of any allergies you may have, including any allergies to the inactive ingredients in the medication.
Provide a detailed medical history, particularly regarding any history of diabetic retinopathy, pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, kidney problems, or digestive disorders such as gastroparesis.
Be aware that semaglutide may cause blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness as a result of low or high blood sugar levels. Avoid engaging in activities that require alertness or clear vision until you are confident in your ability to perform these tasks safely.
Consuming alcohol while taking this medication may increase the risk of low blood sugar, limit alcohol intake.
In times of stress, such as during fever, infection, injury, or surgery, it may become more difficult to manage your blood sugar levels. If this occurs, consult with your healthcare provider as adjustments to your treatment plan or medications may be necessary.
While semaglutide may be used during pregnancy if deemed necessary by your doctor, discuss the benefits and risks of use during pregnancy. The manufacturer recommends stopping use of the medication 2 months prior to a planned pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, are currently pregnant, or suspect you may be pregnant, speak with your doctor immediately. Pregnancy may worsen or cause diabetes, and it is crucial to have a plan in place for managing your blood sugar levels with your healthcare provider.
Form and Strength
Rybelsus is available in the following forms and strengths:
Is Rybelsus a weight loss pill?
Rybelsus isn’t approved as a weight loss aid. Instead, it’s used together with healthy eating and exercise habits to manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Why does Rybelsus need to be taken on an empty stomach?
The absorption of Rybelsus primarily occurs in the stomach, but only up to 1% of a dose is absorbed, which is why it is important to take it on an empty stomach.