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


Can you take semaglutide in tablet form?


Semaglutide is usually given in the form of a weekly injection, also known as Ozempic. However, since April 2020, it has also been available in a daily tablet form under the name Rybelsus.


Rybelsus comes in 3mg, 7mg, and 14mg tablets and is generally taken once daily, often under the supervision of a doctor or consultant.


Whilst semaglutide has been available for several years as Ozempic, the tablet form has only been around for a year or so. It is the first of its kind, and is often given to patients with type 2 diabetes to help manage their blood glucose levels. However, as with Ozempic, Rybelsus has also been found to be beneficial for weight loss. It helps you to feel fuller and more satisfied for longer by slowing the process of food leaving your stomach after you’ve eaten, and by regulating the nerves that control energy expenditure and food preference.




Rybelsus works in the same way as Ozempic, as they both contain the same medicine – semaglutide. Both drugs are licensed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and both can also be prescribed off-label to people that need medicinal help with weight loss where diet and exercise haven’t been enough to manage your weight.


Rybelsus, like Ozempic, is a prescription medicine, and can only be prescribed to you if a doctor or consultant believes that it is appropriate to help you with weight loss. Before this, you need to make sure that you’ve tried other ways of weight management before seeking medicinal support.


Rybelsus differs from Ozempic in the fact that it is a tablet rather than an injection, and it’s taken daily rather than weekly. This may suit some patients that either can’t take an injection, or feel as though a daily tablet would suit their own routine better. You will be able to have a conversation about this during your consultation, but our prescribers will make the final decision on which form of semaglutide would be best for you.


When storing Rybelsus, you should keep the tablets in their original blister pack rather than dispensing them into a pill box or similar. This is because Rybelsus may lose some of its efficiency if the tablets are removed from the blister pack for a while before they’re taken. Otherwise, you can store them with any other medications you might have. It may help to keep them in a place where you’re going to see them when you’re due to take your dose.


When to take Rybelsus

Rybelsus should be taken on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before you eat or drink. It should be swallowed whole with a small amount of water – no more than 120ml.


Some people choose to take Rybelsus as soon as they wake up and before they start their daily routine. This is one of the best times to take Rybelsus due to the fact that you won’t have eaten anything yet so your stomach should be empty. You should take Rybelsus at the same time each day for it to be most effective.


You may want to consider taking Rybelsus if you’ve previously tried to manage your weight with diet and exercise, or even other medications but without success. It works in a different way to other weight loss tablets such as orlistat or Xenical, as it doesn’t work on dietary fat, but instead it reduces your appetite and therefore the amount of calories that you consume. In turn, your portion sizes should decrease naturally, and you should start to notice some weight loss due to a decrease in food consumption.


If your morning routine doesn’t allow you to wait 30 minutes before eating, you may want to consider adjusting the time that you wake up in order to be able to take Rybelsus properly. Alternatively, you may want to set an alarm at least 30 minutes before you’re due to have breakfast so that you can take your tablet then without disrupting your morning routine.


Should I eat before taking Rybelsus


Unlike Ozempic which can be taken at any time on a weekly basis and does not need to be before or after a meal, Rybelsus must be taken on an empty stomach, so you should avoid eating before Rybelsus whenever possible.


Most people choose to take it first thing in the morning before they start their routine, which should give the medication enough time to absorb before you sit down for breakfast. It’s advised to wait at least 30 minutes after taking Rybelsus before you eat, drink, or take any of your other medications that you might be on. Not waiting 30 minutes could mean that the semaglutide won’t be absorbed as well by the body, and may not be as effective. This could hinder your weight loss.

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