Semaglutide might be different to any other medicines you’ve taken, as it’s only injected once a week.
Most people are used to daily medicines, so starting Semaglutide can be daunting for some.
We’re going to explain all you need to know about dosing Semaglutide properly so that you have the information that you need.
What is the correct dosage of Semaglutide?
The full dose of Semaglutide is 1.0mg weekly, but you’ll never start at this dose to begin with.
Before you reach 1.0mg, you’ll have to titrate up for a couple of months, this is to help you avoid any potential side effects.
Semaglutide should be taken at the following doses:
- Weeks 1 to 4 – 0.25mg weekly
- Weeks 5 to 8 – 0.5mg weekly
- Week 9 onwards – 1.0mg weekly
Most people find that the 1.0mg dose is all that they need in order to start reducing their weight.
However, some people do need a little extra in order to see the same results.
In future, Semaglutide will probably be available for weight loss in 2.0mg weekly doses or more.
We believe this will happen when it’s licensed for weight loss in the UK, although it can already be prescribed for this purpose off-label.
A dose of 2.0mg weekly may sound high, but in the USA, people are now able to take an even higher dose of Semaglutide for weight loss.
In June 2021, Wegovy was approved by the FDA.
Wegovy contains Semaglutide as it’s active ingredient, but has a therapeutic dose of 2.4mg at most.
This is specifically for weight loss, as this was the optimal dose in trials for maximum effectiveness with tolerable side effects.
We would recommend that everyone sticks to the correct Semaglutide dose recommended by your prescriber at all times.
This is for your health and safety. By titrating up too quickly, you could risk severe side effects.
These usually make people feel unwell and often result in reducing the dose again.
By following the dosage plan set by your prescriber, you can be sure that you have the best chance possible.
How many doses are in an Semaglutide pen?
Each Semaglutide pen contains 4 doses, which should last you 28 days, as it’s a once-weekly injection.
Each pen is set at a certain dose (0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1.0mg).
This differs from Saxenda where the dose is manually increased at the dial by the user.
Sometimes, you may have some solution left when you’ve finished a pen.
This can be fairly normal, as the manufacturers do allow for some overspill.
If you have enough solution and a spare needle, you can inject the left-over solution when your next dose is due if there’s enough.
You can check this by twisting the dial, if it reaches a full dose, you have enough solution.
You should be able to twist the dial back to 0 without having to inject the liquid.
Please remember that no matter how many doses are in your pen, you should never keep an open Semaglutide pen for more than 6 weeks.
If your pen is still open after this amount of time, you should dispose of it properly.
When you have a consultation with myBMI, you may be prescribed one of our range of weight loss treatments, depending on your needs and circumstances.
If you are prescribed any GLP-1 Receptor Agonist injections, you will receive the injector pen as well as any needles you will need to inject safely.
The needles are already included in the sealed box before they leave the pharmacy.
If you do need to purchase more, you should be able to find them online or in a local pharmacy.
If you are one of our patients, you should get in touch if you run out of needles, as we will be able to supply more high-quality needles for you.
Semaglutide pen instructions
All of the instructions that you need to inject Semaglutide are included in the patient information leaflet.
This should come with your order. Alternatively, click here for the Semaglutide 1.0mg PIL.
It’s incredibly important to read the patient information leaflet before you take your first injection.
This is so that you’re familiar with all of the safety information, as well as learning how to administer a dose.
Apart from when you’re using it, Semaglutide is fairly low maintenance.
You can either keep it in the fridge between uses or keep it out at room temperature.
Check out our advice section for more information about how to store Semaglutide.
There are some additional things that you would need to know if you were prescribed Semaglutide for weight loss that aren’t included in the patient information leaflet.
For example, it’s important to know that Semaglutide would not ever work alone.
If you continue with old habits, then it’s possible that you may be eating too much or moving too little for a GLP-1 Receptor Agonist to have an effect.
We don’t recommend any specific diet or exercise regimes because different things work for different people.
We firmly believe in choosing foods and activities that you’re going to enjoy, this way, you’re more likely to lose weight and keep it off in the long run.
As long as you’re working towards planning healthy meals and activities, you’re doing everything you can.
How to inject Semaglutide
For some people, Semaglutide is the first injectable medication they’ve used.
This can be quite daunting, but the good news is that once you’ve injected the first time, the rest of it is a doddle!
Novo Nordisk have provided some really clear and easy-to-follow diagrams in the patient information leaflet which talk you through each step of how to inject.
This includes priming the pen when you first use it.
Top tip – for your first dose pick a day when you are not going to be busy for the following couple of days to let you get adjusted to the medication.
It doesn’t matter which day you choose to take your injection, as long as it suits your weekly routine.
Next, you should put it in your fridge, away from anything that might spill.
It should stay here until you take your first injection.
Whenever you take the cap off your pen, the first thing you should do is check the solution window.
It should be completely clear and colourless, if it’s at all cloudy or slightly tinted, please dispose of it properly.
Inside your box, there should be 4 needles included, these look like plastic triangles with a paper tab on one end.
Peel the paper tab off one of these and guide the pen into the plastic cap.
You may need to push down slightly to get the cap to move.
Twist it clockwise to secure the needle, then pull off the cap – but keep it to one side, you’ll need it later.
You’ll notice at this stage that the needle isn’t visible yet, that’s due to another plastic cap that covers the needle to protect you.
You can now take this off if you’re ready to inject.
The first time you use a new pen, you’ll have to prime it first to check that it’s working as it should.
To do this, you should turn the dial on the pen to the flow check symbol, this allows a tiny amount of liquid to come out of the pen in order to check for blockages.
As long as some solution squirts out, you should be good to go!
You should only ever inject in the lower abdomen (except for a 2-inch radius around the belly button), the upper arms, or outer thighs.
Once you’ve chosen a spot, you need to twist the dial on the pen all the way until it stops.
Insert the needle into your injection area with your thumb covering the button at the top.
Once the needle is inserted, push and hold down the button, the counter should go back to 0 as you administer the dose.
You should then hold the pen & needle in place for a few seconds (a slow count to 10 is a good estimate) before removing it, to make sure that the full dose was administered.
Once you’re done, you should take the outer needle cap from earlier and carefully place it back over the needle on the pen.
Twist anti-clockwise to remove it, and then discard the casing and needle properly.
Your pen is now ready to be put away for another week.
You should always use a new needle every time you inject.
This helps to reduce the risk of blockages, cross-contamination and infection.
How quickly does Semaglutide work once injected?
If you’re taking weekly weight loss injections and start from the 0.25mg dose, you might not see any significant results for a few weeks.
However, many people do find that their appetite reduces fairly early on.
Most people start seeing the most substantial weight loss at higher doses such as 1.0mg.
However, some do start seeing weight loss from the first dose.
It’s very much down to how each individual reacts to their treatment.
We would say that within around 3 months of treatment, you should expect to have lost around 5% of your starting weight.
Whilst this might not seem like a lot, there’s plenty of evidence to prove that even a reduction as small as 5% can seriously improve your health.
Losing weight is never going to be a quick process, unfortunately.
When you begin any weight loss program, you should commit yourself to a timeline of several months for the best chance.
However, most people that do take weekly injections do find that they help them to lose more weight than without any treatment.
Although several months might seem like a long time, it’s a healthy way of managing your weight.
Reducing your weight over a longer period of time has been proven to be more effective than dropping a lot of weight quickly.
It’s important to remember that the changes that you’re making are supposed to stay for good.
This is why it’s so important to make sure that you enjoy the journey and not give yourself anything that’s going to be hard to keep up.
A lot of people find that they lose a substantial amount of weight in the first few weeks before stalling.
This is common and nothing to worry about.
When you first lose weight, your body is flushing a lot of excess fluid out, and a lot of the initial weight loss will come from this.
Many people then get disheartened when the weight loss appears to slow down, but we recommend trying it for approximately 3 months before deciding if it’s working for you or not.
If you do have any doubts about weight loss medications, we would recommend that you talk to your own GP.
You can also join some support groups online with others who are on their weight loss journey – you can even join us in the myBMI support group on Facebook for more information and advice.
Groups like these can be great places to find the answers to some FAQs about the medication from others in the same position.
Essentially, the best thing we can recommend is patience.
Weight loss is a long process, but if it’s done in a healthy way, you should be able to maintain it for good.