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What Is Semaglutide: Answering Your Top Questions

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June 21, 2023

You’ve probably seen or heard of semaglutide under the brand names Ozempic, Wegovy, or Rybelsus used to treat type 2 diabetes patients. From knowing what it is, to how it works, to its side effects, we’re here to provide the answers to those questions and more. So if you’re wondering just what is semaglutide, keep reading!

What is semaglutide?


Simply put, semaglutide is a drug that improves the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, reduces feelings of hunger, and also has positive benefits to cardiovascular health. Used together with diet and lifestyle changes, it can be effective in managing type 2 diabetes. This medication comes in the form of an oral tablet or an injection to be taken once a week. Be sure to speak with your doctor about possible drug interactions with any current medications, as well as supplements, products containing nicotine, and alcohol.

Is semaglutide insulin?

No, semaglutide is not insulin and should not be used as a substitute for insulin in the treatment of those with type 1 diabetes or diabetics who need insulin. Semaglutide is by prescription only and comes with specific instructions for the intended use. It’s vital to communicate with a healthcare professional before and while taking semaglutide to ensure that it’s the right treatment option for you.

How does semaglutide work?

blood sugar levels

Semaglutide acts similarly to a hormone naturally produced in the body called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This hormone is produced during and after you eat and affects your appetite and hunger levels. Semaglutide is in a class of medicines called GLP-1 receptor agonists, meaning that it binds to and activates GLP-1 to help increase insulin levels and slow down digestion. Some benefits include control over blood sugar levels, reduced risk of heart attack or stroke in those with high-risk or existing cardiovascular disease, and can help lose weight in addition to diet and exercise and with the direction of a doctor.

What are the side effects of semaglutide?

Some people will experience little to no side effects, while others will report some side effects, the most common being stomach problems, which can vary from nausea and vomiting to upset stomach and constipation. These symptoms are more likely at the beginning of taking semaglutide and will decrease with time. Also, an allergic reaction to semaglutide can occur, which will present in hives, skin rashes, and swelling in the face, lips, tongue, and throat. Other side effects can include heart palpitations, trouble breathing, dehydration, vision changes, and in some cases, problems with the kidneys, pancreas, or gallbladder. It’s important to let your doctor know about any side effects you experience and if they change or get worse.

How can we help you?

The knowledgeable and professional staff at our Nashville pharmacy are always available to discuss medications like semaglutide with you. We provide a variety of helpful services as a local health and wellness resource for our community. Learn more about us and don’t hesitate to reach out! However we can be of assistance, we will be happy to help.