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Semaglutide (Wegovy Injection) for weight loss in non-diabetics

Semaglutide, sold as Wegovy, is gaining acclaim for its effectiveness in weight loss, particularly among non-diabetic individuals. Initially developed for type 2 diabetes, it's now FDA-approved for chronic weight management in overweight adults with obesity-related health issues.

Image of an overweight man at work wearing an eyeglass and smiling

Key takeaways

  • Semaglutide, marketed under the trade name Wegovy injection, has received FDA approval for weight loss in adults who don’t have diabetes and children 12 years of age and older. 
  • It is also marketed as an Ozempic injection and Rybelsus tablet for the management of type 2 diabetes.
  • It is approved for the ongoing management of weight in adults who are obese or overweight and have at least one weight-related health condition.
  • While clinical trials have demonstrated its ability to facilitate notable weight reduction, semaglutide should be part of a comprehensive weight management plan, encompassing dietary adjustments, physical activity, and behavioral changes.
  • Consultation with a healthcare provider is crucial to assess suitability and discuss potential risks and benefits before starting treatment.

Wegovy injection, or semaglutide, has attracted attention for its ability to induce weight loss, especially among individuals without diabetes. 

Belonging to the GLP-1 receptor agonist class, initially formulated for treating type 2 diabetes, this medication has shown promising outcomes in promoting significant weight reduction when administered at higher doses than those typically used for diabetic management. 

While the precise mechanism underlying its weight loss effects remains incompletely understood, it is thought to involve various factors such as appetite suppression, delayed stomach emptying, and heightened feelings of satiety.

What is semaglutide?

Semaglutide (Wegovy) is a synthetic medication categorized as a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It replicates the actions of the natural hormone GLP-1, which regulates blood sugar levels by enhancing insulin hormone secretion and reducing glucagon secretion. 

In higher amounts, semaglutide delays stomach emptying and promotes a feeling of fullness by interacting with some parts of the brain.

Initially designed to treat type 2 diabetes, semaglutide has also been sanctioned for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight and at least one obesity-related complication.

Is semaglutide approved for treating overweight or obesity in non-diabetics?

Semaglutide, sold as Wegovy injection, has gained FDA approval for addressing overweight or obesity in individuals without diabetes. 

It's designated for ongoing weight management in adults dealing with obesity or being overweight and having at least one related health condition. Studies like the STEP trials have showcased its efficacy in facilitating weight loss among this demographic.

Nonetheless, consulting a healthcare provider is crucial to assess if semaglutide suits your health needs and to discuss potential advantages and disadvantages before initiating therapy.

The FDA approved Wegovy (semaglutide) injection, a weekly shot of 2.4 mg, to help adults with obesity or who are overweight who also have health issues like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. It is a prescription-only drug that doctors administer as an injection under the skin. 

It is meant to be used alongside eating less and moving the body more (physical activeness). It's the first approved medicine for adults with general obesity or being overweight since 2014.

A study by Wilding and his associates showed that in individuals who were overweight or obese, the administration of 2.4 mg of semaglutide once a week alongside lifestyle modification led to a consistent and significant decrease in body weight that was clinically meaningful and sustained over time.

How semaglutide works

Semaglutide copies what a natural hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) does in our bodies. 

It attaches to GLP-1 receptors in different parts like the pancreas, brain, stomach, and intestines, setting off a chain reaction. This includes making more insulin, which lowers blood sugar, and reducing the release of glucagon, a hormone that raises blood sugar. 

Semaglutide also slows down how fast food moves through the stomach and makes us feel fuller. All these actions help keep blood sugar levels steady, decrease hunger, and help with weight loss.

Semaglutide dosage for weight loss in non-diabetics

For weight loss in people without diabetes, the typical dosage of semaglutide is 2.4 mg administered subcutaneously once weekly. This dosage has demonstrated efficacy in clinical trials for promoting weight loss when used in addition with lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes and increased physical activity.

Semaglutide is usually available in a prefilled pen device, enabling simple and convenient self-administration. Before giving yourself the injection, it's crucial to carefully adhere to the guidance provided by your healthcare professional or the instructions outlined on the medication's packaging.

Following the prescribed dosage timetable is essential, and any alterations to the dosage should be made only after consulting a healthcare professional. 

Consider scheduling regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to track progress, evaluate potential side effects, and modify the treatment regimen if needed.

Like all medications, it's vital to address any inquiries or apprehensions regarding semaglutide, such as dosage and how to administer it, with a healthcare professional. This ensures the safe and efficient utilization of semaglutide for weight loss in individuals without diabetes.

What you eat matters when it comes to weight management. If weight loss or maintenance is your goal, consider incorporating foods like healthy smoothies into your diet.

How long can semaglutide weight loss results last?

Clinical trials have shown that semaglutide can sustain weight loss over an extended period, with significant reductions in body weight observed even after a year of use.

However, the length of time semaglutide's weight loss effects endure can differ from person to person and depends on various factors like treatment consistency, lifestyle changes, and individual health circumstances.

Also, maintaining these results typically requires ongoing adherence to treatment, healthy lifestyle habits, regular exercise, and continued medical oversight. It's crucial to collaborate closely with a healthcare professional to develop a comprehensive strategy for weight management and address any issues or questions that may arise.

Side effects of semaglutide for weight loss in non-diabetic patients

While semaglutide can be effective for weight loss in non-diabetic patients, it may also be associated with certain side effects. Some common side effects of semaglutide include:[6]

It's important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, as individual responses to medications can vary. Some individuals may experience different or fewer side effects. 

Anyone experiencing severe or persistent side effects should contact their healthcare professional promptly.

Other medications that may be helpful for weight management

In addition to semaglutide, several other medications may be helpful for weight management. These include:

  • Orlistat: Orlistat functions by inhibiting the absorption of fat from the diet within the intestines, resulting in weight reduction. It is accessible both over-the-counter and via prescription.
  • Phentermine/topiramate: This combination medication operates by reducing appetite and enhancing sensations of satiety. It is a prescription-only medication and is commonly employed for long-term weight reduction purposes.
  • Bupropion/naltrexone: This combination medication targets the brain regions responsible for regulating appetite and cravings for food. It is prescribed and employed to manage weight over an extended period.
  • Liraglutide: Similar to semaglutide, liraglutide operates as a GLP-1 receptor agonist, aiding in regulating blood sugar levels and facilitating weight reduction. It is a prescription-only medication and is utilized for ongoing weight management purposes.
  • Lorcaserin: Lorcaserin functions by stimulating serotonin receptors located in the brain, thereby diminishing appetite and food consumption. It requires a prescription and is employed for the sustained management of weight.

Final words

When considering weight management, it's crucial to emphasize the indispensable role of healthy living practices and dietary habits. 

While medications such as semaglutide can be beneficial, they should never be seen as substitutes for fundamental lifestyle changes like regular exercise and maintaining a balanced diet. Medications may also come with side effects and possible long-term risks.  

Adopting natural methods not only effectively promotes weight loss but also carries fewer risks of side effects compared to medications. By prioritizing healthy living and adopting sustainable dietary practices, individuals can achieve long-term success in weight management while safeguarding their overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you take semaglutide without diabetes?

Semaglutide is suitable for individuals who do not have diabetes. It has received FDA approval for helping adults manage their weight over the long term, regardless of whether they have diabetes or not.

However, it's important to consult a healthcare professional to assess whether semaglutide is suitable for you and to discuss any potential advantages or risks before beginning treatment.

Who cannot use semaglutide?

Semaglutide is not ideal for everyone. People who should not use it include those with severe gastrointestinal conditions, a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (a type of thyroid cancer), or persons with known allergies to semaglutide or its components. 

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also avoid semaglutide due to potential risks to the fetus or infant. Before starting semaglutide treatment, it's essential to discuss any medical history or concerns with a healthcare provider.

Does semaglutide cause hypoglycemia?

Semaglutide may cause hypoglycemia, especially when combined with other blood sugar-lowering medications. Monitoring glucose levels is essential, and adjustments to diabetes treatments may be necessary. Discuss any concerns with a healthcare provider before starting semaglutide.