Semaglutide: What are common side effects and how do I avoid or lessen them?
The most common side effects of semaglutide include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, dyspepsia (indigestion), dizziness, abdominal distention, eructation (belching), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in patients with type 2 diabetes, and flatulence (gas buildup).
Slow titration (dose increasing) can help decrease the possibility of side effects but may not completely eliminate them.
Nausea & Vomiting
Nausea is the most common side effect in users of semaglutide happening in up to 20% of patients especially at higher doses. A mild amount of nausea is normal when starting semaglutide or titrating semaglutide. This nausea usually goes away within a few days. The goal is to achieve results while not causing sickness. If extreme nausea occurs it is possible that you are titrating too quickly. Please contact us if extreme nausea or vomiting persists.
Nausea in particular tends to be worse if individuals continue to eat after they feel full.
Nausea can be related to eating greasy/fried/fatty foods or sugary foods so it is best to limit consumption of those foods. Eating smaller meals can also help avoid nausea.
Some methods to decrease nausea that patients report include:
- Dramamine or Bonine anti-nausea tablets
- Ginger chews
Diarrhea is more common in higher doses and can be minimized or avoided by increasing dose slowly to allow your body to adjust. If diarrhea persists or worsens please contact our providers.
By slowing down the digestive process, semaglutide can cause constipation. This can be a very unpleasant side effect to deal with, but there are a few ways that you can prevent it.
Firstly, you can increase your fiber intake. This can help with constipation by speeding up the digestive process. You can do this with foods like oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Prunes are a great food for preventing constipation.
Another way you can prevent constipation is by increasing your water intake. This can help to soften the stool, and make it easier to pass.
Other methods to decrease constipation are Metamucil, Magnesium, and Smooth Move tea but natural prevention of constipation through diet is preferred.
Abdominal Pain, Abdominal Distention, & Indigestion
Mild stomach pain is another common stomach-related side effect of semaglutide. Similar to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, this should subside over time. Using the tips listed above can also help minimize this side effect.
Severe stomach pain can be a sign of other side effects, like pancreatitis or gallbladder problems (like gallstones). Contact our providers right away if this develops.
The exact cause of “sulphur burps” is not known but is thought to be due to fermentation of undigested food in the stomach. Sulphur is a byproduct of fermentation. Cutting out or limiting bread intake can reduce sulphur burps as the bacteria feeds on yeast.
Due to the digestion process being slowed, more frequent smaller meals versus less larger meals can help so less food sits in the stomach.
Digestive enzymes have been reported to help with burping.
Semaglutide works for weight loss by making you feel less hungry and eating fewer calories may cause you to feel more tired. Feelings of fatigue should subside as your body adjusts to potential changes in your diet.
Regenics also offers B12 At Home Injection Kits that can be taken to boost energy levels.
Dizziness & Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)
Dizziness can occur while taking semaglutide. This side effect was very rare in people taking the drug in clinical studies.
Dizziness can also be a symptom of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If you experience dizziness while taking semaglutide, check your blood sugar to see if it’s low. If your blood sugar is low you may need to have a small snack.
please contact us. We may suggest trying a different medication to treat your condition.
Headache on its own wasn’t reported as a side effect by people taking semaglutide in clinical studies.
But, headache can be a symptom of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or dehydration. Try having a small snack and drinking some water and see if the headache resolves.