This content was reviewed and approved for its accuracy on 10/03/2021 by Professor Frank Joseph

Photograph of Professor Frank Joseph, weight loss expert for myBMI

How Do You Take Semaglutide?


Semaglutide is a medication that’s growing in popularity as a prescription treatment and as an off-label prescription treatment.


It is primarily used as a treatment for Type 2 Diabetes, but it can also help you to lose weight by reducing your appetite, and therefore the number of calories that you consume each day.


However, something that isn’t always clear is exactly how it’s used and how you should take it.


If you have been prescribed Semaglutide or are considering asking your prescriber about this treatment, here’s a handy guide with everything you need to know about how to take it in injection form – also known as Wegovy.


Is Wegovy used for weight loss or diabetes?


Wegovy has just been licensed for use as a weight-loss treatment, but other forms of Semaglutide are currently only licensed for the treatment of diabetes.


However, in some cases, Semaglutide pens that are typically used for diabetes may be prescribed to those are struggling with weight loss and need help from medication in order to get to a healthier weight.


This is happening at the moment as delays with the production of Wegovy have meant that it’s yet to be supplied to pharmacies, despite its newly-licensed status.


Semaglutide brings along many health benefits as a weight loss medication, such as a reduced risk of obesity-related conditions such as stroke, heart attack, and some cancers.


This is why some prescribers are confident in prescribing Semaglutide off-label as a weight-loss treatment while the delay in production continues.


You should only consider Semaglutide for weight loss if you have already tried to manage your weight through eating a healthy, balanced diet and incorporating exercise into your daily routine.


If this method hasn’t helped you to achieve the results you need to, you may then think about considering medical treatments such as Wegovy.


When is the best time to take Semaglutide?


You will need to inject Semaglutide once a week at the same time, so it’s important to choose a day and time that will fit well with your routine.


For example – if you prepare for work on a Sunday night, you may choose to inject Semaglutide during this time so that it becomes part of your preparation routine for the week.


The day you choose is completely up to you, as long as it fits into your schedule at a time that you aren’t likely to forget about it.


You could try setting an alarm on your phone or taking your injections at the same time that you take other medication to help you remember — anything that will jog your memory at the same time every week will work!


How often to take or administer Semaglutide


As mentioned above, Semaglutide is a weekly injection, which means that you should take it at the same time each week.


Other weight loss injections such as Saxenda are injected daily, but Semaglutide should only be used or administered once weekly.


If you find that your chosen injection day isn’t working for you, you can change it, as long as it’s been 3 days since your last dose of Semaglutide.


This medication should be kept in the fridge between each use.


It may help you to write your dosage day on the box that you keep in the fridge so that it reminds you whenever you open it when your next injection is due.


If you find that you’re having problems remembering to take your weight loss injection, most smartphones have a feature where you can set an alarm for the same time each week.


This may be helpful for those who need a little extra nudge to remember their medication.


What is the best way to take Semaglutide?


If you’re taking Semaglutide for weight loss then there’s only one way to take this medication at the moment and that’s by injection.


However, if you’re taking Semaglutide to treat type 2 diabetes, you have the option of taking weekly injections or daily tablets (Rybelsus).


At the moment, Rybelsus isn’t licensed as a weight management treatment, but as it uses Semaglutide as its active ingredient, this may be a development we see in the future.


Where do you inject Semaglutide?


Semaglutide is generally injected into areas where there’s a fair amount of fatty tissue.


The recommended injection sites are the lower abdomen, the front of your thighs, or your upper arms.


Some people believe that injecting into the arms or legs causes the medication to work better, but there is no evidence to support these claims.


We would suggest starting your injection wherever feels most comfortable.


The needles that are included with the injections are fine and short, and a majority of people don’t feel it at all.


Can you change the place you inject?


Yes! It’s actually recommended that you change where you inject every time.


This is to avoid any damage to tissue or lumps forming under the surface of the skin if you inject in the same place too often.


Luckily, with the suggested injection sites, you have plenty of areas to choose from.


Even alternating from one side of the abdomen to the other can make a difference and help you to avoid any unwanted skin or tissue damage.


If you find that one injection site hurts too much, you may want to avoid it in the future, but the areas mentioned above are recommended due to the fact that it’s unlikely for you to hit a muscle or vein when injecting Semaglutide.


The patient information leaflet that’s included with every pen will have a handy info-graphic showing you exactly how to inject yourself with Semaglutide.


As long as you follow those instructions, you should find that it’s a quick, easy and painless process.


How do needles fit the pens?


Semaglutide comes with its own set of 4 NovoFine needles – one for each dose.


It’s incredibly important to make sure that you change the needle before each dose so that whatever enters your skin is sterile.


This reduces the risk of infection.


It’s really easy to attach a needle to a Semaglutide pen – when you receive a new pen, you will have to put the needle on before you begin administering it.


Simply peel the paper lid off one of the included needles, and insert the pen into the cap, twisting it anticlockwise.


This should release the needle onto the pen and leave a plastic outer casing (don’t throw this away – you’ll need it in a minute!) as well as a needle guard on the tip of the needle itself, which you’ll need to discard before you use the pen.


Once you’ve injected yourself, you can remove the needle by taking the plastic outer casing from before, inserting the needle into it and twisting it clockwise.


This removes the needle from the pen and makes sure that it’s ready for next week. You can then dispose of the used needle in a sharps bin.


Semaglutide comes with 4 needles as each pen contains 4 doses of medication before you need a new one.


Whilst it’s possible to buy extra needles (in case one of the included one’s breaks), you shouldn’t need any as long as you follow the instructions that are outlined in the patient information leaflet.


The needles included with Semaglutide are 4mm and 32 gauge.


If you do find that you need more needles due to breakages, you should be able to buy replacements online or ask at your local pharmacy.


If you’re one of our patients, you can contact our team through your account dashboard, they’ll be able to send some new needles out to you if you need them.


Should I eat before or after my injection?


As Semaglutide is a weekly injection, it doesn’t really matter whether you take it before or after a meal – it generally comes down to personal preference.


With many people, it may be a case of trial and error until you reach a method that works, but medically, there’s no reason for you to need to take it before or after food, as long as you take it on the same day each week.


Some people find that they can feel a bit nauseous if they take Semaglutide just before or just after eating, which can be a factor in their decision on when to take it.


If this happens to you then don’t worry too much, try taking your Semaglutide at different times until you find one that works for you.


You may even decide to take your injection just before bed to help you avoid the sickness side effect.


What happens if you take Semaglutide early?


You should always try to take your Semaglutide at the same time every week, but this rule isn’t so strict that you have to note down the very second you take your injection.


If you take your injection a little earlier than planned then you shouldn’t worry, but if you plan to take your injection much earlier (for example, a day earlier) then you should rethink your plans.


Taking Semaglutide injections much earlier than planned could lead to an overdose of your medication, which could cause unpleasant side effects and has the potential to make you quite ill.


Having too much Semaglutide in your system could lead to your blood sugar levels falling too low, which could lead to complications.


Naturally, we don’t recommend taking your medication early unless you’ve been specifically advised to do so by a healthcare professional, like your GP or prescriber.


Trust us, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

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