If you have been struggling to lose excess weight, you are not alone. Many clients come to us after years of trying treatments and programs without long-term success. They have tried all the medicines available and have been unable to lose weight or manage blood sugar with other healthcare providers. Aside from drastic lifestyle changes or restrictive dieting, you may feel that weight loss surgery is your only choice.
Thankfully there are a growing number of options for medical weight loss when going it alone or other over-the-counter options have not been effective. VIVA Wellness provides our clients in the Milwaukee and Waukesha metro area with a specialized weight loss program tailored to their individual needs. In addition, our nurse practitioner will be there with you from start to finish, guiding and supporting your wellness journey every step of the way. We have the expertise and resources to complement your medical weight loss program with nutrition counseling and other supplementary treatments if necessary.
One popular prescription medication that has brought incredible results to many of our clients is the semaglutide injection (brand names Wegovy® and Ozempic®). A semaglutide injection is a phenomenal option for weight management in many who have tried diet, exercise, and other nonprescription medicines with no effect. However, semaglutide injections are not suitable for everyone. At Viva Wellness, our team of caring nurse practitioners will get to know you and your individual needs and help you determine if semaglutide is right for you.
What is Semaglutide?
Semaglutide, sold under the registered trademarks Wegovy®, Ozempic®, and Rybelsus®, is an FDA-approved specialty medicine designed to support weight loss in select patients or help lower blood sugar levels for adults living with type 2 diabetes. This glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and gastric inhibitory polypeptide (or glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) combined with GLP-1 like tirzepatide) works to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as stroke or heart attack in people with type two diabetes. In addition, this combined GLP-1/GIP agent works to regulate blood sugar by increasing insulin release. It also slows gastric emptying and reduces appetite, which causes weight loss in many patients.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Wegovy (semaglutide) injection, a once-weekly under-the-skin medication for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or who are overweight accompanied by at least one related medical condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. This marks the first FDA approval of a drug to treat general obesity/overweight since 2014, providing an innovative new tool when combined with a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity to help improve overall health outcomes amongst those affected by these conditions.
Semaglutide is also available in oral form under the brand name Rybelsus. However, we have found Rybelsus to be less effective for many clients, and it tends to cause more GI side effects than other medications, sometimes including severe stomach pain.
What are the benefits of semaglutide?
After a clinical trial to study semaglutide weight loss, Dr. John Wilding at the Endocrine Society at the University of Liverpool said,
“Our findings suggest that semaglutide, through body weight loss and improvement of body composition, has the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke in people with overweight or obesity.”
Semaglutide injection is designed to help overweight or obese adults and those with type 2 diabetes:
- Manage their blood sugar levels in those who experience high blood sugar
- Lower the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke
- Support weight loss efforts alongside diet and exercise regimens
What are the risks of semaglutide?
It is important to discuss the possible side effects of any medication with your healthcare provider for your safety. Always remember that if you experience any unusual side effects, seek medical help immediately. According to the prescription label for brand names Ozempic and Wegovy:
The most common side effects of the Ozempic® injection may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach (abdominal) pain, and constipation.
The most common side effects of Wegovy® may include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, stomach (abdomen) pain, headache, tiredness (fatigue), upset stomach, dizziness, feeling bloated, belching, gas, stomach flu, heartburn, runny nose or sore throat.
In rare cases, the semaglutide injection, including Ozempic®, Wegovy® may cause serious side effects, such as:
- Inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis)
- Changes in vision
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar may include dizziness or lightheadedness, blurred vision, anxiety, irritability or mood changes, sweating, slurred speech, hunger, confusion or drowsiness, shakiness, weakness, headache, fast heartbeat, and feeling jittery.
- Kidney problems
- Serious allergic reactions include swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat; problems breathing or swallowing; severe rash or itching; fainting or feeling dizzy; or rapid heartbeat.
- Gallbladder problems
- Depression or thoughts of suicide
You can learn more about semaglutide side effects here: Side Effects of Weight Loss Medication Semaglutide
Who is a candidate for medical weight loss with semaglutide injections?
For those with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more, along with other health conditions due to excess weight such as high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, the FDA-approved semaglutide injection is an excellent choice for the long-term management of weight and blood sugar. To ensure this program can be used safely and effectively in your individualized wellness plan, working with an experienced healthcare professional is essential. The caring nursing staff at Viva Wellness offer personalized consultations, including weekly monitoring, to guide you towards successfully managing long-term health goals with semaglutide injections and nutritional guidance.
You may be a good candidate for the semaglutide injection Wegovy if you have any of the following:
- An obese BMI (body mass index greater than or equal to BMI 30) or greater than or equal to BMI 27 with a weight comorbidity.
- Certain weight-related medical conditions include Type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure,) or high cholesterol.
You may be a good candidate for the semaglutide injection Ozempic if you have any of the following:
- Type 2 diabetes
- A1C level that is unable to be controlled with other medication
- Cardiovascular disease or high risk of developing cardiovascular disease
- Kidney disease or heart failure.
These prescription drugs are safe for long-term weight management in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious eating and physical activity.
Who should avoid semaglutide?
At Viva Wellness, your safety is paramount. While semaglutide is an excellent option for weight management for many people, just like any other medication, it is not suitable for everyone. If you or anyone in your family has ever had a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or if you have an endocrine system condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), it is not recommended that you take Wegovy, Ozempic or any other semaglutide containing products.
You should also avoid semaglutide if you have ever had an allergic reaction to semaglutide or any of the ingredients in the semaglutide injection.
When you meet with your nurse practitioner at Viva Wellness, we will ask for important information about other medical conditions, including:
- Pancreas or kidney problems
- Type 2 diabetes with a history of diabetic retinopathy
- Mental health conditions such as depression or suicidal thoughts
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (It is recommended that you stop semaglutide injections 2 months before you plan to become pregnant.)
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed
How do you use semaglutide?
Your dedicated nurse practitioner at Viva Wellness will guide you in how to use the semaglutide injection. Your scheduled dose of semaglutide will be given by your healthcare provider. You will be on a regular dosing schedule, receiving a shot under the skin of your stomach area, thighs, or upper arm. It is recommended that you use a different body area each time you receive a shot. We will help you keep track of the injection site to make sure you rotate body areas. If you take insulin to manage blood sugar, injecting them in the same body area is acceptable, but the shots should not be right next to each other.
What is the difference between Wegovy and Ozempic?
Wegovy is a prescription weight-management semaglutide injection taken once weekly. It is available in five different doses and is given on the same day each week, at any time, with or without food.
Ozempic is a semaglutide injection available in three doses used for adults with type 2 diabetes to improve blood sugar in conjunction with diet and exercise. It also reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease.
The major difference to note is that Wegovy is approved both for the treatment of excess weight and obesity, whereas Ozempic is approved only for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. However, both have been shown to be safe and effective for weight loss when used together with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Also, Wegovy is available at slightly higher doses than Ozempic. Both will help reduce appetite and control high blood sugar.
How do I know if semaglutide is right for me?
What other options do I have?
Your healthcare professional at Viva Wellness will get to know you on a personal level and help you decide the right option for you in the treatment of obesity or blood sugar management. If you choose to try a semaglutide injection protocol, we will thoroughly explain how to use semaglutide and get you on a regular dosing schedule. We will discuss all information carefully with you and answer all of your questions so that you feel entirely comfortable going forward.
After discussing your health history with your nurse practitioner, you may decide that the semaglutide injection like Ozempic or Wegovy is not the best choice. It is rare, but some patients start a semaglutide injection protocol and have an unusual or allergic reaction or for other reasons, decide it is not the best option for them. In that case, several other options are available, such as CONTRAVE® (naltrexone HCI/bupropion HCl), Phentermine, Qsymia®, and other vitamins and dietary supplements developed by the medical community to help the body release excess weight.
In addition, these other specialized weight loss drugs may assist in combating other medical problems related to excess body weight—such as elevated blood pressure or cholesterol levels—or improve glucose control for patients with diabetes.
The VIVA Way
Many other weight loss clinics in the Milwaukee area focus on the aesthetics of weight without regard to the whole person. Our philosophy at VIVA Wellness when treating obesity is to focus on overall health and wellness—not a particular weight goal. Losing weight can be a powerful self-care tool, leading to improved self-perception and mood. (Read about Our Wellness Philosophy.)
At VIVA Wellness, we’re thrilled to have witnessed the life-changing success of our clients via semaglutide protocol. Now it’s time for people like you struggling with their weight goals to join in on this powerful experience! In every consultation, we answer some of the most common questions and ensure all health concerns associated with administering these treatments are addressed beforehand. In addition, with real-time monitoring by nurse practitioners throughout treatment, you can be confident that any potential side effects will be quickly resolved so your journey is as smooth as possible.
You are more than your body weight. Reach out to our team at VIVA Wellness for a consultation to see if the semaglutide injection is right for you.