Semaglutide Dosing Guide: Dosing Schedule and Forms

Key Takeaways
  • Semaglutide is a medication used to manage weight and blood sugar levels effectively, and can be tailored to each patient's unique needs.
  • Injectable semaglutide, administered weekly, is often more effective and has fewer side effects compared to the oral form.
  • Patients start with a weekly injection of 0.25 mg and may gradually increase the dose up to a maximum of 2.0 mg, depending on individual response.

Semaglutide is a remarkable medication employed by healthcare practitioners to effectively manage both weight and blood sugar levels in individuals. What sets it apart is its versatility, as it comes in different doses that can be precisely tailored to suit the unique requirements of each patient.

It’s important to remember that semaglutide should only be used when prescribed by a licensed healthcare practitioner. Depending on your existing medical conditions, interactions with other medications and any side effects that you may be experiencing, your practitioner may change or adjust your dose as necessary. 

Your healthcare practitioner will also provide helpful advice on how long it may take for you to see results from taking semaglutide as well as what other lifestyle changes can help you achieve better results.

Which form of semaglutide to take: oral or injectable?

Injectable semaglutide is injected under the skin in a single, weekly dose and helps to lower blood sugar in diabetic patients and manage body weight over time.

Oral semaglutide is available, but the injectable form is usually more appropriate for most people since it’s often more effective and has fewer side effects. 

Standard dosage for adults

The usual adult dose schedule for semaglutide is a progressive dose escalation. As with most medications, the goal is to find the lowest effective dose for each patient, so many people don’t need to progress to the maximum dose. 

Patients start injectable semaglutide by taking a weekly injection of 0.25 mg subcutaneously for the first four weeks. The medication can then be increased to 0.5mg after four weeks if the patient feels well and requires a higher dose. 

The patient and their healthcare practitioner may consider increasing the medication dose every four weeks, going from a dose of 0.25mg to 0.5mg to 1.0mg to 1.25mg to 1.5mg to 1.75mg to 2mg.

Dosage restrictions

While doses are usually changed or increased every four weeks, the dosage shouldn’t be increased if a person is still experiencing medication side effects. As a result, some people will stay at a certain dose for more than four weeks to allow their bodies to adjust to the medication. 

The current medication injection pens available in Canada allow for semaglutide to be given with 1.0mg of medication for each injection. This means that patients taking a dose of more than 1.0mg per week will need to give themselves two injections right after each other to get their required medication dosage each week. 

To make the most of semaglutide, it's important for patients to stick to their healthcare practitioner's guidance. By following the prescribed dosage schedule, you not only boost the medication's effectiveness but also reduce the chances of side effects. It also means you’ll have better, long-term results with the treatment. 

Maximum dosage for adults

The maximum dose for diabetic management is 1.0mg, while the maximum dose for chronic weight management is 2.4mg. As a result of the medication dosing with the injection pens currently available in Canada, most patients do not increase past 2.0mg for weight management.

Dosage for children

Semaglutide is not recommended for children in Canada. Semaglutide is, however, approved in the US for treatment in children age 12 and above in certain situations. Additionally, the current Canadian treatment guidelines for obesity management in kids are in the process of being updated. As a result, semaglutide isn’t recommended for children in Canada at this time. 

When to see a healthcare practitioner

Following your healthcare practitioner's instructions closely when taking semaglutide is crucial. This includes dosage changes and lifestyle recommendations. 

It’s also essential to be aware of the potential side effects, which could include nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, diarrhea, and constipation. In addition to regular checkups with your practitioner while taking semaglutide, you should also go for regular health checkups even if you are not taking the medication yet. 

Start an assessment with Felix to discuss your potential weight management options, like semaglutide.

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