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Semaglutide for Medical Weight Loss: Cincinnati Medical Spa

By: Cory Gaiser, M.D.


What is semaglutide?

Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist. It was originally approved in 2017 as Ozempic, a once-weekly injection for adults living with Type 2 diabetes. The FDA approved Rybelsus, a once-daily pill version of semaglutide, a few years later.

People taking semaglutide for Type 2 diabetes also tend to lose weight as an additional benefit. Because of this, the manufacturer studied the medication specifically for weight loss, but at a higher dose. This led to the approval of Wegovy in 2021 — the first once-weekly GLP-1 agonist for chronic weight management.

How does semaglutide work for weight loss?

Semaglutide mimics GLP-1, an incretin hormone that plays a role in appetite and digestion. It’s thought to work in a few different ways to help you lose weight. 

These include:

Slows the movement of food out of your stomach (gastric emptying)

Targets areas of the brain that help regulate appetite and fullness.

Reduces cravings for certain foods, such as salty snacks or sweets.

Certain semaglutide effects, such as slowed gastric emptying, may lessen over time. Other semaglutide effects, such as appetite reduction, only last as long as you’re taking the medication.

Who should take semaglutide?

Before starting semaglutide for weight loss, it’s important to discuss the potential benefits and risk of treatment with your healthcare provider. That’s because semaglutide isn’t right for everyone. It’s also a long-term commitment since rebound weight gain is possible if you stop taking it.

What is the semaglutide dosage for weight loss?

Semaglutide is injected once a week, on the same day each week. It can be given at any time of day, without regard to meals. You’ll typically start with a low semaglutide dose and work your way up every 4 weeks until reaching 2.5 mg once weekly — the target maintenance dose.

This dosing schedule is meant to help manage potential side effects. If you’re unable to tolerate semaglutide, your healthcare provider may lower your dose or have you stop taking it.

How to inject semaglutide:

You can inject your semaglutide dose just under the skin (subcutaneously) on your abdomen, upper arm, or thigh. Avoid injecting it into the same spot every time. Changing your injection site with each dose can help limit injection site reactions.

What do we know about semaglutide side effects?

Gastrointestinal side effects tend to happen most frequently with semaglutide for weight loss. They’re usually more pronounced when you first start semaglutide and after your dose is increased. Examples of common semaglutide side effects include:

Nausea and vomiting


Stomach pain




* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.