Rybelsus (semaglutide) is an oral medication used to control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Although clinical trials have shown that it is effective in promoting weight loss, the FDA has not yet formally approved it as a weight loss drug. Rybelsus, taken once daily, is typically incorporated as part of a regimen that includes diet and exercise.
What is Rybelsus?
Rybelsus, whose generic name is semaglutide, is an oral glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist used to manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It’s used when diet and exercise alone do not control blood sugar levels.
How to use it or how to take it
Rybelsus is taken once daily, at least 30 minutes before the first meal of the day. The tablet should be swallowed whole with up to half a glass of plain water (no more than 4 ounces). The medication should not be split, crushed, or chewed.
How it works
Rybelsus works by mimicking the functions of GLP-1, a natural hormone in the body. GLP-1 lowers blood sugar by increasing the release of insulin, a hormone that lowers blood sugar levels, and decreasing the amount of glucose the liver produces and releases.
Rybelsus is used to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is typically prescribed when diet and exercise alone do not adequately control blood sugar levels.
Follow the prescription instructions carefully and take Rybelsus consistently, at the same time each day, to ensure its effectiveness. If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible, unless it is almost time for the next dose.
Novo Nordisk is the company that makes Rybelsus.
Like any medication, Rybelsus can have side effects. The most common side effects include nausea, diarrhoea, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain.
Major Side Effects
In some cases, Rybelsus can cause severe side effects, such as pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), vision changes, and kidney damage. It can also increase the risk of developing thyroid tumours or thyroid cancer.
Minor Side Effects
Minor side effects of Rybelsus may include stomach upset, nausea, diarrhoea, decreased appetite, and bloating. These side effects usually resolve on their own as the body adjusts to the medication.
Rybelsus (semaglutide) is used to manage blood glucose levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It’s typically prescribed when diet and exercise alone do not control blood sugar levels effectively.
When not to use it
Individuals with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis shouldn’t use Rybelsus. Additionally, those with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) or those with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma shouldn’t use it.
Important considerations for taking
Rybelsus should be taken on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before the first meal of the day. The tablet should be swallowed whole and not split, crushed, or chewed.
Rybelsus may increase the risk of pancreatitis. Stop the medication and seek medical attention if severe abdominal pain that may move to your back with or without vomiting occurs. Rybelsus may also increase the risk of developing thyroid tumors, including cancer.
Warnings for special populations
Pregnancy: Rybelsus is not recommended for use during pregnancy unless it is clearly needed and the benefits outweigh the risks.
Breast-feeding: It’s unknown if Rybelsus passes into breast milk. A decision should be made to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
Seniors: Elderly patients may be at a higher risk for kidney damage while taking Rybelsus.
Children: Rybelsus is not recommended for use in children as it has not been adequately studied in this population.
Rybelsus may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and constipation. If these side effects persist or worsen, inform your healthcare provider.
Precaution: It’s important to have regular laboratory tests (including kidney function and blood glucose) performed to monitor your progress or check for side effects.
External use: Rybelsus is an oral medication and is not intended for external use.
Use in children: Rybelsus has not been studied in children and therefore is not recommended for use in paediatric populations.
Skin: Rybelsus is not intended for topical application to the skin.
Sun exposure: There’s no specific information that suggests Rybelsus can cause photosensitivity. However, as with any medication, it’s important to maintain normal precautions while in the sun.
Depilatory (Hair removal) use: Rybelsus has no role in hair removal and should not be used for this purpose.
Eye: Rybelsus is not meant for ocular use. If the medication inadvertently comes into contact with the eyes, rinse thoroughly with water and seek medical attention if irritation persists.
The initial recommended dosage of Rybelsus is 3 mg orally once daily for 30 days, after which the dose should be increased to 7 mg once daily. If further glycemic control is needed, the dose may be increased to 14 mg once daily. However, the dose of Rybelsus can vary based on your medical condition and response to treatment, so always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.
Missed Dose: If you miss a dose of Rybelsus, take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s almost time for your next dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double-up doses to make up for a missed one.
Overdose: If an overdose is suspected, seek immediate medical attention or call a poison control center. Symptoms of an overdose may include severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Interaction with Alcohol: The interaction of Rybelsus with alcohol is unknown. It’s always best to consult your healthcare provider before consuming alcohol while taking this medication.
Interaction with Medicine: Rybelsus can interact with other medications, which can alter how Rybelsus works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Inform your healthcare provider of all medications you are currently taking, including prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, and herbal products.
Interaction with Food: Rybelsus should be taken on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before the first meal of the day. Taking Rybelsus with food may decrease its effectiveness.
Interaction with health conditions: Certain health conditions may affect how Rybelsus works or increase the risk of side effects. These include conditions like kidney disease, liver disease, stomach or intestinal problems, and a history of pancreatitis. Ensure your healthcare provider is aware of your full medical history before starting this medication.
How do I store it?
Rybelsus should be stored at room temperature, away from light and moisture. Do not store it in the bathroom, and keep it out of the reach of children and pets. Do not dispose of the medication in wastewater or household garbage. Consult your pharmacist for more details on how to safely discard the medication if it’s expired or no longer needed.
Where To Purchase Online
Rybelsus medication can be purchased from various online pharmacies. However, you should ensure that the pharmacy is licensed and that it requires a doctor’s prescription for the purchase. Be aware that buying medications from online sources that do not require a prescription can be risky, as the quality of these drugs may be substandard or counterfeit.
Can I take Rybelsus without food?
Yes, in fact, it’s recommended to take Rybelsus at least 30 minutes before the first meal of the day, on an empty stomach.
Can I use Rybelsus if I have type 1 diabetes?
No, Rybelsus is not recommended for people with type 1 diabetes. It’s used to manage blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s close to the time for your next dose. In that case, skip the missed dose. Do not double-up doses to make up for a missed one.
Can I drink alcohol while on Rybelsus?
The interaction of Rybelsus with alcohol is unknown. Consult your healthcare provider for advice.
What should I do if I overdose on Rybelsus?
Seek immediate medical attention or call a poison control center if an overdose is suspected. Symptoms of an overdose may include severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.