Rybelsus (Semaglutide) Tablets
Rybelsus (semaglutide) is a brand-name prescription medication that’s FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes. The drug helps control blood sugar in adults when used with diet and exercise. Semaglutide is a diabetic medication (and not insulin) that diabetics would use to help manage their blood glucose. This type of medication is usually added on to regular diabetic treatments (such as insulin pens, cartridges, vials and use of insulin plants).
Rybelsus should not be the first medication you try to manage type 2 diabetes if diet and exercise don’t work. Currently, Rybelsus isn’t approved for treating diabetes type 1 or diabetic ketoacidosis.
A study has shown that Rybelsus helps lower blood sugar more than a placebo (treatment with no active drug). Researchers used blood tests to measure the level of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), which is a marker of blood sugar control. Target values of 7% are common for HbA1c, but this varies from person to person. Talk with your doctor about the target goal for your treatment. Rybelsus is used similarly to Trulicity and has become more common for weight-loss enthusiasts.
Ensure you are open with your dialogue with your doctor about medications you are currently on. As semaglutide may not combine well with other medications (such as Jardiance).
Rybelsus significantly reduced the HbA1c levels of adults with type 2 diabetes 1.2% to 1.4% during the 26-week study. In contrast, people taking a placebo experienced a decrease of only 0.3%. Around 69% to 77% of people taking Rybelsus had HbA1c levels less than 7%, compared with 31% of people taking a placebo.
Rybelsus can cause mild or severe side effects. Listed below are some of the main side effects of Rybelsus. We have not included all potential side effects.
Rybelsus may cause side effects, so speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Your physician can provide you with tips on how to manage any side effects that are bothersome.
The most common mild side effects of Rybelsus can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Belly pain
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
The majority of these side effects can subside within a few days or weeks. The nausea will usually subside if you continue taking semaglutide. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist.
It is imperative to remember that your physician prescribed this medication because he or she believes the benefit to you outweighs the risk of side effects. There are typically no severe side effects associated with this medication.
- Hypoglycemia (See Hyploglycemia and Rybelsus tab for more information)
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Kidney problems
If you experience any serious side effects, tell your doctor right away. These include: kidney problems (such as change in urine amount), vision changes (such as decreased/blurred vision).
A very serious (perhaps fatal) disease of the pancreas (pancreatitis) has rarely been caused by semaglutide. If you experience any of these symptoms of pancreatitis, you need medical attention.
For medical advice about side effects in the US, consult your doctor. FDA can be contacted at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch if you experience side effects.
In addition, people who are allergic to semaglutide or any of the ingredients of Rybelsus should not take Rybelsus if they have thyroid cancer or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome (including family history).
Semaglutide may cause side effects in people with certain medical conditions. Make sure your doctor is aware of any of the following conditions. You may need to be monitored more closely. Tell your doctor if you have:
- Diseases of the pancreas or kidneys
- Trouble seeing
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) is frequent.
- Taking insulin or diabetes medications (such as Adlyxin)
- Plans on becoming pregnant, or are pregnant.
Rybelsus is FDA-approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults when used with diet and exercise.
If diet and exercise aren’t helping your type 2 diabetes, Rybelsus shouldn’t be the first medication that you try. The drug isn’t for people who have type 1 diabetes or a complication of diabetes called diabetic ketoacidosis. Also, Rybelsus hasn’t been studied in people who have had a pancreas problem known as pancreatitis.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level becomes too high due to problems with insulin. Insulin is a hormone that your pancreas makes to help control blood sugar. With type 2 diabetes, either your body doesn’t respond well to insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin.
Diabetes type 2 is the most common form of diabetes. Diabetes type 2 can cause health problems in several body parts if left untreated, such as the heart, eyes, and nerves. Complications include high blood pressure, diabetic retinopathy, and neuropathy (nerve damage).
Hypoglycemia and Rybelsus
While semaglutide on its own usually does not cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), it may if this drug is combined with another diabetes medication. Your doctor, pharmacist, or dietitian can help you determine if any other diabetes medications should be lowered. A low blood sugar level may also be caused by excessive drinking, eating too little, or doing unusually heavy exercise. There may be sweating, shaking, fast heartbeats, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, and tingling hands and feet. Keeping glucose tablets or gel on hand is a good habit when low blood sugar occurs. In the absence of these reliable sources of glucose, raise your blood sugar rapidly by eating table sugar, honey, candy, or drink fruit juice or non-diet soda. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you miss a meal.
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) is characterized by increased thirst and urination. Contact your doctor right away if you experience these symptoms. The dose of your medication may need to be adjusted.
You may be more likely to have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if you take Rybelsus and medication in a drug class called sulfonylureas. (A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.) Sulfonylurea drugs help treat type 2 diabetes.
You may be more likely to have hypoglycemia if you take Rybelsus and any type of insulin.
You should take Rybelsus at least 30 minutes before taking any other oral medications. (“Oral” refers to a drug that you swallow as a tablet, capsule, or liquid.) Otherwise, Rybelsus won’t work as well to treat your condition.
Rybelsus slows down how quickly your stomach empties, and this can change the way your body absorbs other medications. Because of this, your doctor may test you more often to make sure your medication is working well.
Before you start taking Rybelsus, tell your doctor about any medications you take. They can help advise you on when to take them and Rybelsus.
There may be an interaction between Rybelsus (semaglutide) and any of the following:
- Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
- Antipsychotics (e.g., olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone)
- Corticosteroids (e.g., beclomethasone, cortisone, dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, prednisone)
- Diabetes medications (e.g., chlorpropamide, glyburide, insulin, linagliptin, metformin, rosiglitazone)
- Diuretics (e.g., hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide)
- Estrogens (e.g., estradiol, ethinyl estradiol, conjugated estrogen)
- Hepatitis C antivirals (e.g., glecaprevir and pibrentasvir, ledipasvir, velpatasvir)
- HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., lopinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, tipranavir)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs; e.g., moclobemide, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline,
- Progestins (e.g., cyproterone, levonorgestrel, medroxyprogesterone, norethindrone, progesterone)
- Quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, ofloxacin)
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; e.g., citalopram, paroxetine, sertraline)
- Sulfonamide antibiotics (“sulfas”; e.g., sulfisoxazole, sulfamethoxazole)
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about any of these medications that you are using. Your doctor may recommend that you:
- discontinue taking one of the medications,
- switch medications,
- or alter the way you take one or both medications
- leave everything as is.
It isn’t always necessary to stop using one medication because of an interaction between two others. Ask your doctor how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
There could be interactions with other medications besides those listed above. Inform your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are using. You should also inform them if you take any supplements. If you use caffeine, alcohol, nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs, tell your prescriber. All of these substances can affect the action of many medications.
As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Rybelsus. However, it’s not known how often allergic reactions occur with Rybelsus.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include: skin rash, itchiness and flushing (warmth and redness in your skin).
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include: swelling under your skin (typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet), swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat and trouble breathing or speaking.
Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Rybelsus. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
If you miss a dose of Rybelsus, wait until the next day to take your regularly scheduled dose. Don’t double up on doses to make up for the dose you missed.
To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.