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Understanding Saxenda (Liraglutide),Semaglutide, Ozempic, WeGovy & Rybelsus in Singapore

Weight Loss


Transforming Healthcare in Singapore: Exploring the Advancements of Semaglutide, Saxenda, Ozempic, WeGovy, and Rybelsus

In the realm of pharmaceutical advancements in Singapore, Saxenda (Liraglutide), Ozempic (Semaglutide), WeGovy (Semaglutide), and Rybelsus (Semaglutide) stand as medications that are reshaping the landscape of diabetes management and weight loss solutions.

This is done by harnessing the power of innovative science to address not only diabetes but also obesity, offering patients a comprehensive approach to enhancing their overall health and well-being.

These medications belong to a class of medications called: GLP-1 RAs.

From their mechanisms of action to their profound benefits, let’s delve into the world of Ozempic, WeGovy, and Rybelsus to uncover what they have to offer. 


Understanding GLP-1 RAs

GLP-1 RAs stands for “Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists.” These are a class of medications used primarily to manage blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. GLP-1 RAs work by mimicking the actions of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is naturally produced in the intestines. GLP-1 helps regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin release, slowing down stomach emptying, reducing appetite, and inhibiting the release of glucagon (a hormone that raises blood sugar).

By using GLP-1 RAs, individuals with type 2 diabetes can improve their blood sugar control, leading to better overall health. Some medications in this class include Semaglutide (sold under brand names like Ozempic, Rybelsus, and Wegovy) and Liraglutide (marketed as Saxenda).

In addition to diabetes management, some GLP-1 RAs (Saxenda & WeGovy) have also been approved for weight loss purposes due to their ability to reduce appetite and promote a sense of fullness, making them valuable tools in addressing both diabetes and obesity.

How do GLP-1 RAs, such as Liraglutide (Saxenda) & Semaglutide (Ozempic, Rybelsus, and Wegovy), function?

GLP-1 Receptor Agonists interact with the receptor for a specific hormone that the gut produces. They play a role in regulating blood sugar and body weight through various mechanisms:

Enhancing Hormone Production: GLP-1 receptor agonists boost the production of Insulin that lowers blood sugar levels, particularly following meals.

Reducing Hormone Production: These medications decrease the production of Glucagon that elevates fasting blood sugar, helping maintain optimal fasting sugar levels.

Slowing Digestion and Curbing Appetite: GLP-1 RAs slow down the emptying of the stomach and reduce appetite, resulting in reduced food intake, prolonged feelings of fullness, weight loss, and a gradual release of glucose from ingested food.

Modifying Hunger and Craving Signals: They also influence hormones related to hunger and cravings, acting on the brain’s reward center to diminish cravings.


Understanding Ozempic (Semaglutide) and Its Mechanism of Action

Semaglutide belongs to a class of medications known as GLP-1 RAs (Glucagon Like Peptide Receptor Agonists). GLP-1 is a naturally occurring protein in the gut, stimulated by food intake.

Its primary functions include:

–  Inducing a feeling of fullness (satiety),

–  Delaying gastric emptying time,

–  Regulating blood sugar by stimulating insulin production in the pancreas and inhibiting glucagon release.

Ozempic was first introduced to treat Diabetes and was later found to have positive effects on weight loss.

For individuals dealing with obesity, their bodies produce insufficient GLP-1 and instead release more Ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger. This imbalance is referred to as energy dysregulation, where the body loses control over energy intake and utilization.

Semaglutide works by increasing the levels of GLP-1 in the body, restoring the body’s control over energy management.

Do note that as of time of writing, Ozempic is only approved for the treatment of Diabetes.


What Are the Advantages of Ozempic?

Originally developed for diabetes treatment, Ozempic (Semaglutide) has been found to facilitate significant weight loss, even in non-diabetic individuals.

In addition to weight loss, Semaglutide offers various health benefits, including:


  • Reversal of pre-diabetes
  • Blood pressure reduction
  • Improvement of fatty liver
  • Decreased waist circumference, associated with reduced heart attack risk

How is Ozempic administered?

Ozempic is administered as a once a week injection.


Possible Side Effects of Ozempic

The most common side effect associated with Ozempic is nausea. To minimize this effect, patients often begin with a low dose and gradually increase it. It’s advisable to avoid eating when not hungry and to stop once you feel full, particularly when consuming rich and oily foods. These measures can help alleviate nausea.

Another possible side effect is constipation, which can usually be resolved with proper hydration. Drinking ample water is recommended.

In some cases, individuals may experience diarrhoea, which typically subsides on its own after a few days, usually without the need for medication.

Other side effects include:

–  Abdominal pain

–  Bloating

–  Indigestion

–  heartburn

What is WeGovy (Semaglutide)?

WeGovy represents a groundbreaking advancement in obesity treatment, sharing its active ingredient, Semaglutide, with the well-known medication Ozempic. The key distinction lies in WeGovy’s capacity to deliver a significantly higher dose, up to 2.4mg, compared to Ozempic’s maximum dose of 1mg per injection.

WeGovy has received approval from the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore as a weight loss medicine.

The Benefits of WeGovy:

WeGovy mirrors all the advantages of Ozempic, which is unsurprising considering they share the exact same active ingredient, Semaglutide. Its mechanism of action includes appetite reduction, increased feelings of satiety, and a delayed exit of food from the stomach, resulting in prolonged post-meal fullness.

Moreover, WeGovy offers additional health benefits, including:

  1. Reversal of pre-diabetes.
  2. Lowering blood pressure.
  3. Improvement in fatty liver conditions.
  4. Reduction in waist circumference, linked to a lowered risk of heart attacks.

How Does WeGovy Stand Out in Terms of Dosage Options?

While several weight loss medications are available, WeGovy boasts certain advantages, which make it a compelling choice:

  1. Ease of Use: Administered as a once-weekly subcutaneous injection.
  2. Increased Dosage: WeGovy can deliver a maximum dose of up to 2.4mg, surpassing Ozempic’s 1mg limit.

Who is Eligible for WeGovy?

WeGovy is recommended for individuals who meet either of the following criteria:

  1. BMI greater than 30.
  2. BMI greater than 27, accompanied by a medical condition related to obesity (e.g., joint pain, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or pre-diabetes). It is also suitable for those who have previously attempted lifestyle management without success.

These criteria serve as general guidelines, and a comprehensive medical consultation will determine the suitability of WeGovy for each individual based on their unique medical concerns and health objectives. It is imperative to remember that medical weight loss therapy should always be complemented by a balanced diet and regular exercise regimen.

Are There Any Side Effects of WeGovy?

The most common side effect associated with WeGovy is nausea. To mitigate this effect, an initial lower dose is typically recommended, with gradual increments. Patients are also advised to refrain from eating when not hungry, stop eating when they feel full, and avoid rich, creamy, and oily foods. These measures can effectively alleviate nausea.

Constipation is another possible side effect, usually resolved by maintaining adequate hydration. Some individuals may experience temporary diarrhea, which typically subsides within a few days without requiring medication.

What is Rybelsus (Semaglutide)?

Rybelsus is an oral medication that shares the same active ingredient, Semaglutide, as Ozempic and WeGovy. However, it stands apart due to its mode of administration – as a daily tablet, in contrast to the weekly self-injections required for Ozempic and WeGovy.

As of time of writing, Rybelsus is currently approved only for the treatment of Diabetes.

How Should You Take Rybelsus?

To optimize its effectiveness, Rybelsus should be consumed on an empty stomach with a small amount of water (up to 120ml). It’s important not to overconsume water, as excessive intake can hinder Rybelsus absorption.

Following Rybelsus intake, a 30-minute fasting period (preferably an hour) is necessary, during which no food or beverages, including water, should be consumed.

This ensures maximum absorption and effect of Rybelsus.

Do Rybelsus and Ozempic Share Similar Side Effects?

Yes, Rybelsus presents similar potential side effects to Ozempic, namely nausea, constipation, or diarrhea. Typically, treatment begins with a lower dose, gradually increasing over time to minimize the likelihood of side effects.

The Mechanism of Rybelsus:

Rybelsus contains Semaglutide, which belongs to the class of GLP-1 agonists. These are hormones naturally produced by the gut in response to food intake. GLP-1 agonists have the dual action of reducing appetite and slowing down the emptying of the stomach.

This results in decreased hunger and increased feelings of fullness after consuming smaller meal portions, ensuring prolonged post-meal satiety.

While originally developed as a diabetes treatment, research has demonstrated that Rybelsus also induces weight loss.


What is Saxenda (Liraglutide)?

Saxenda is a medication belonging to the GLP-1 RA (Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonist) class, and it has gained approval specifically for weight loss purposes. Like Semaglutide, Saxenda operates through a similar mechanism of action to aid in weight loss. Here’s how Saxenda works:

Appetite Suppression: Saxenda is effective at reducing appetite, leading to an increased sense of satiety and fullness after eating. This means individuals taking Saxenda are less likely to experience strong cravings or feelings of hunger between meals.

Delayed Gastric Emptying Time: Another way Saxenda promotes weight loss is by slowing down the rate at which the stomach empties its contents into the small intestine. This delayed gastric emptying time contributes to a feeling of fullness and helps control the quantity of food consumed during meals.

Who is indicated for Saxenda?

Saxenda is generally indicated for those whose BMI is:

  • More than 30
  • More than 27 and with at least one weight-related issue such as pre-Diabetes, Hypertension, high Cholesterol or Sleep apnea.

How is Saxenda administered?

Saxenda is administered as a once-daily injection.

What are the side effects of Saxenda?

Side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain

For more information on Saxenda:  click here

  Summary of Benefits of Semaglutide (WeGovy, Ozempic, Rybelsus) and Liraglutide (Saxenda)

1)  Weight Loss

The GLP-1 RAs is able to induce Weight Loss though only Saxenda and WeGovy has been approved for this indication.

The improvement in weight control confers cardiovascular benefits and help to minimize Diabetic complications.

To achieve the best results with Semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic & Rybelsus), Liraglutide (Saxenda), it is advisable to focus on enhancing your diet and engaging in regular physical activity alongside medication usage.

Enhancing the quality of your diet and increasing your physical fitness will not only contribute to better glucose management but also boost your energy levels, allowing you to make the most of your day. Moreover, it will aid in maintaining the weight loss you achieve.

2)  Blood Glucose Control

GLP-1 RAs help regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin release from the pancreas when blood glucose is high and suppressing glucagon release when it’s not needed. This helps to keep blood sugar within a healthy range.

3)  Cardiovascular Benefits

Several GLP-1 RAs have been shown to have cardiovascular benefits, reducing the risk of major cardiovascular events (such as heart attack and stroke) in people with type 2 diabetes who have a high risk of cardiovascular disease.

4)  Liver and Kidney Health

Some studies suggest that GLP-1 RAs may have a positive impact on liver health, which can be important for individuals with fatty liver disease, as well as reducing the risk of Kidney Failure.

The choice between these medications should be tailored to individual patient needs, and consultations with healthcare professionals are essential for making informed decisions. Overall, these GLP1 RA-based treatments represent a significant advancement in the fight against obesity & diabetes, offering potential solutions for individuals struggling to achieve their weight loss goals.

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