Semaglutide is a medicine which is similar to a natural hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 is produced in the body after eating a meal. Drugs belonging to the GLP-1 drug class are normally given as an injection and some are already available on the market to treat diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Studies of semaglutide suggest it has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, including reducing blood pressure and improving levels of fat in the blood.
What is GLP-1? It sounds complicated!
Your body naturally produces a number of substances that affect your appetite. One of these is called GLP-1. GLP-1 is a hormone that is produced when you eat. It stops you feeling hungry and makes you feel full. It also improves your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.
Reduced energy intake
Semaglutide reduces feelings of hunger which means you eat less food. This helps to reduce your body weight, when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.
Effect on plaques
Semaglutide has been shown to stop the progression of plaques in blood vessels in studies of animals.
Reduced blood sugar
If your blood sugar levels are too high, semaglutide helps to lower them.
Semaglutide is a modified version of GLP-1 which has been developed to last for a long time in the body, and therefore only needs to be injected once a week.
What are some of the most common side effects?
Not everyone will experience side effects, but if you do, you should let the study staff know.
The most commonly reported side effects are stomach and gut problems. These may include feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting), diarrhea, upset stomach, low appetite, pain in stomach area and constipation.
These side effects are usually mild or moderate. They are most likely to happen when you first start taking the study medicine and are likely to decrease or disappear entirely as you continue through the study.
To decrease the chances of you having stomach and gut side effects, you will be started on a low dose of the study medicine, which will be increased gradually.
What can I do if I have nausea or vomiting?
If you do experience nausea or vomiting, here are some things that people have found may help:
- Eat smaller meals
- Stop eating when you are full
- Avoid the foods and smells that make you feel worse
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Keep in mind that in most cases, nausea goes away after a few days or weeks
The full list of potential benefits and risks, and the precautions you can take, is provided in the Informed Consent Form. Contact your study doctor or study staff if you have any questions or concerns.