Rybelsus is unique in that it is an oral medication. It comes in three doses - 3 milligrams, 7 milligrams, and 14 milligrams. Visit this blog for more details
GLP-1 agonists are a common medication used in diabetes management. They have also been shown to be effective in helping with weight loss. Many of these medications come in an injectable form, but Rybelsus is unique in that it is an oral medication. It comes in three different doses - 3 milligrams, 7 milligrams, and 14 milligrams.
The PIONEER trial was a study done to determine if oral semaglutide, also known as Rybelsus, was effective in the treatment of both diabetes and promoting weight loss. This trial showed that Rybelsus for weight loss did help individuals lose weight at the higher doses of 7 mg or 14 mg daily. After 26 weeks of taking Rybelsus, the average weight lost was 4.1 kg (9 lbs) in those taking 14 mg daily and 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) in those taking 7 mg daily. This was significantly higher than those who were not taking any medication, as you can see below in this image from the study.
GLP-1 is a natural hormone found in your body that helps to regulate your appetite. It does this by sending signals to your brain to decrease appetite, and also helps you to feel full for longer (see image below in “GIT” and “Brain” sections). GLP-1 is naturally degraded in your body quickly, which can limit these beneficial effects of decreasing appetite to help promote weight loss. GLP-1 agonists are medications that help more GLP-1 to be secreted, while also preventing it from being broken down. This helps the GLP-1 stay in your system for a longer time, allowing the effects of appetite suppression and feeling full to last for longer periods of time. This can act as a great addition to increasing activity and making diet changes to help you to lose weight.
All trials that have been done to evaluate this medication have been in conjunction with diet changes and increase in activity. It is important to go into this process knowing that medication will not be the main driver of your weight loss, but rather something that can be added to your regimen to speed up the process. Getting set up with other supportive resources such as dietitians to help you make diet changes will be important in finding success in weight loss.
As with all medications, you can expect some side effects with starting a GLP-1 agonist. The most common things seen are nausea and diarrhea. These side effects typically go away as you adapt to the medication and are not long term. With the multiple dosing options of this medication, you are able to slowly increase your dose if side effects are an issue.
This will give your body more time to adapt to the changes of the medication, and prevent more severe side effects that might be uncomfortable on a day-to-day basis. Side effects are less common with the oral medication (Rybelsus) compared to the injectable versions (Wegovy and Ozempic). Other side effects to lookout for are inflammation of the pancreas called pancreatitis, and problems with your gallbladder. These side effects are not unique to Rybelsus for weight loss, as they can be caused by all GLP-1 agonists. Of note, this medication is not recommended for individuals with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer.
If you think this medication could be a good option for you, follow this link to see if you are eligible to Join Mochi. Our goal at mochi is to get you set up with a doctor who can get to know you and see what medication options are available for your specific health scenario. We are here to support you and adapt your plan as needed to make your weight loss journey as successful as possible.
Dr. Eva Shelton, M.D.
Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital