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Introducing the new once-a-day pill for Type 2 diabetes that replaces weekly injections

In 2017, a new drug came onto the market that radically improved therapy for adult sufferers of Type 2 diabetes. That new treatment is a once-a-week self-injectable dose of Ozempic, and it contains a newly developed drug called semaglutide.

Now, the drug company Novartis that developed Ozempic has released a pill-form of semaglutide that can be taken daily, called Rybelsus.

Rybelsus comes in the form of white to light yellow oval-shaped pills debossed with the strength on one side. There are three dosages – 3mg, 7mg or 14mg.

Your prescribing doctor will usually start you off on the lower dosage, and can then increase according to the reactions.

What are the main benefits of Rybelsus and Ozempic?

Semaglutide doesn’t work like older diabetic drugs. It is not some form of insulin booster. Insulin is lacking in people with Type 2 diabetes either because they are not producing enough  or they have a problem that is blocking its actions. Without insulin, the body can’t break down sugars, and they accumulate in the bloodstream.

Semaglutide works to slow down digestion and keep food for longer in the stomach. This stimulates increased production of natural insulin. The effectiveness of semaglutide is demonstrated in how it can bring down a diabetic patient’s hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)  level after just a few months’ use. The A1c reading measures the average level of blood sugar over a three-month window. A reading over 8 is a sign of dangerous sugar levels, and doctors aim to get levels down to around 7. 

A positive side effect of semaglutide

In the first few years after Ozempic was released, doctors noticed a remarkable side-effect. Many patients started to lose weight steadily. Further research showed that semaglutide is acting as an appetite suppressant, mainly because the retention of food in the gut gives people a sense of satisfaction and postpones bouts of hunger. 

GLP-1, the key hormone in Ozempic and Rybelsus, reduces gastric emptying (the speed at which the stomach empties of food) and blocks production of glucagon, the hormone that instructs the liver to release stored glucose. Both of these will cause a reduction in the need for food intake.

Supply problems will disappear

The dual benefits for both diabetic and obese patients caused a quantum leap in demand for Ozempic, and together with the pandemic’s supply chain disruption, the manufacturer of Ozempic has been unable to keep up with demand. There has been a global shortage of Ozempic for nearly a year, and some diabetic patients have had to switch back to older and less effective treatments.

Now, with doctors’ ability to prescribe Rybelsus as well as Ozempic, you will no longer be subject to the pressures of having to hunt around for the medicine.

About Rybelsus for diabetes

Rybelsus is prescribed to improve glycemic control in adults with Type 2 diabetes. It should be used along with a controlled diet and exercise program. 

Demonstrating its effectiveness in controlling blood-sugar levels without insulin, Rybelsus has been shown as lowering the levels of hemoglobin HbA1c. Tests of A1c measure average blood sugar levels over a period of three months. It is an effective test for predicting onset of prediabetes as well as for tracking levels of diabetes.

Once-daily doses of Rybelsus along with diet and exercise have been proven to significantly lower A1c. In a six-month study, the majority of people whose starting A1c measured 8% reached an A1c of less than 7% after six months. Those taking 14 mg Rybelsus saw a 15% greater reduction than those on 7mg. People in the test group on placebos but adhering to the same diet and exercise program experienced some reductions but the majority did not reach the target of 7%. 

Rybelsus for weight loss

If you have been diagnosed as clinically obese, your doctor may advise use of Rybelsus as a weight-loss treatment along with appropriate diet controls and exercise. The primary effect of Rybelsus in this mode is as an appetite suppressant.

Rybelsus has been shown to help people lose some weight when used along with diet and exercise. After six months, people with an average weight of 194 pounds who were taking 14 mg Rybelsus and stuck to the diet and exercise program lost an average of eight pounds each. Those who were taking 7 mg Rybelsus lost an average of five pounds each. 

Semaglutide also lowers the risk of major life-threatening events such as heart attack, stroke, or death in people with pre-existing cardiovascular diseases because it works to reduce appetite and feelings of hunger. Along with a good diet and exercise programs, it will reduce the burden on the heart. 

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