Semaglutide is gaining popularity rapidly as a new, effective medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and an anti-obesity med for long-term weight loss. In this video, we’ll discuss why this medication is so popular, how it works, and its mechanism of action.
How medicine is delivered to everyday people is changing fast. More and more people are taking more personal control of their treatment and health options, and seeking care outside of traditional medical sources like hospitals and doctor’s offices. Patients are becoming clients, partnering alongside healthcare professionals to collaboratively take part in their treatment goals and plans.
It’s up to us as medical professionals to adapt to this change, and prepare patients and healthcare workers to work together safely and effectively. This starts with education. Educating both patients and providers on the treatment and health options available to them benefits everyone, and protects your clients and community from harm.
Developed by Novo Nordisk in 2012, its creation was an attempt to create a longer-acting alternative to liraglutide. Semaglutide is currently sold under the brand names Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus.
How Does Semaglutide Control Blood Sugar?
What makes semaglutide so effective in controlling blood sugar in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes is its unique mechanism of action. Known as a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist it increases the production of insulin in the body by mimicking an amino acid long peptide hormone called GLP-1. GLP-1 is normally made in the intestinal tract and when secreted performs two actions, it stimulates insulin release, and it inhibits glucagon release.
To understand the significance of this effect, we need a brief, simple review of insulin, glucose, glycogen, and glucagon’s action in our body in regard to balancing our blood sugar. Glucose is sugar and is used in the essential cellular process of energy consumption. Put simply, without glucose, our cells could not function without an energy source. However, excess sugar can be damaging to our blood vessels and tissues over time, so our body regulates sugar using a negative feedback loop. When our blood sugar, or blood glucose is high, the hormone insulin is secreted by the pancreas. Insulin targets the liver to convert glucose to glycogen, a safely stored glucose chain. It also encourages our cells to absorb glucose and use it. When our blood glucose is low, the pancreas will release the hormone, glucagon, which targets the liver to turn that stored glycogen back into glucose for use.
In type 2 diabetes the body either does not release enough insulin or is resistant to insulin effects. This results in high blood sugar levels. Semagluitde, by mimicking GLP-1, can increase the release of insulin assisting the body in bringing blood sugar levels back down to normal.
Weight Loss Effects
Another effect of semaglutide that has interested many is its weight loss effects. First off, understand that when someone who struggles with high blood sugar is able to control it well, this can lead to loss of excess weight and a healthier body. However, another weight loss benefit is semaglutide’s ability to decrease hunger. Since GLP-1 receptor agonists slow the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine, patients will feel full faster after eating, and that feeling will last longer. Curbing appetite will usually lead to less eating, which results in weight loss.
If you think that you or your patient may be interested in using semaglutide for either diabetic control or weight loss for obesity, here is some information that you’ll want to ensure you understand.
Developing a Semaglutide Treatment Plan
Due to semaglutide’s effect on blood sugar and its ability to suppress appetite, a good faith exam should be performed by a qualified physician or licensed provider prior to a treatment plan. This can often be done remotely depending on your state laws. This will provide medical personnel to ensure you or your patient’s unique history and medical situation is taken into account before starting treatment and will allow them to review risks, side effects, adverse reactions, and contraindications of use.
Finally, an approved, compliant SOP should be followed in regard to treatment. This ensures safe administration and proper pre and post-treatment education is conducted.
If you or your provider need assistance in finding physician oversight, developing a compliant SOP, or want more education on semaglutide and other medications, Guardian MD is here to help, with trained professionals and dozens of resources to share. Help us achieve our goal of increasing access to medicine through medical oversight so that every provider can have a practice. Please remember to like, follow, comment, and share. See you next time.