Rybelsus is a prescription medication used for adults with type 2 diabetes. Rybelsus is in pill form and must be taken once a day on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before the day's first meal. Eating or drinking anything before taking Rybelsus can impair absorption as the stomach only absorbs 1% of the medication.

Eating before taking Rybelsus can prevent it from entering your bloodstream and doing what it should do. If you eat before taking your Rybelsus medication, skip your missed dose and return to your regular schedule the following day. Do not take an extra tablet to make up for the missed dose; it will mess up your approved dose.

Rybelsus: An Overview

Rybelsus and Ozempic contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide. It's also a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist. It comes as a brand name drug, Rybelsus, not in a generic form or off-label.

Rybelsus is an oral medication designed to lower blood sugar levels. Rybelsus and Ozempic are used to treat type 2 diabetes, but they are not used to treat type 1 diabetes. If you have a medical history of pancreatitis, your doctor will most likely prescribe a different diabetes drug.

As a type 2 diabetes medication, Rybelsus is available in 3 mg, 7mg, and 14mg tablets. Higher 25mg and 50mg doses are currently studied for weight loss. Patients include people with a body mass index of at least 30 or at least 27 with one or more weight-related medical conditions, such as high blood pressure.

Rybelsus manages type 2 diabetes by producing more insulin in response to elevated blood sugar levels. Insulin is the hormone that carries glucose from the bloodstream, reducing blood sugar levels.

It also works by inhibiting glucagon secretion. Glucagon is a hormone that increases blood sugar levels by promoting glucose release from the liver. Slowing down stomach emptying helps reduce the post-meal rise in blood sugar levels.

Rybelsus's manufacturer will request the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a 50 mg oral semaglutide dose in 2023. It may be marketed under a different name if it gets approved for weight loss. Rybelsus is currently available in three doses. If approved, it will be available in five doses.

Mechanism of Weight Loss with Rybelsus

The manufacturers of Rybelsus recently completed clinical trials that showed that oral semaglutide can help lose weight when taken in high doses.

Rybelsus influences weight loss by slowing down gastric emptying, causing food to stay longer in the stomach. The weight loss journey is not the same for everyone. Losing weight can not happen the same way for everyone, even when they use the same drug and dosage. It regulates your appetite and helps you avoid overeating and snacking between meals.

Rybelsus works for weight loss by regulating appetite, which helps reduce hunger and increase the feeling of fullness. It reduces calorie intake. Improved blood sugar control helps in weight management. When there is a stable blood sugar level, it may help avoid excessive overeating.

People using Rybelsus lost a small amount of weight within a week or so of taking Rybelsus. A study showed a modest but steady weight loss of 4.4kg until about 26 weeks, after which their weight leveled off.

Safety and Side Effects

Like any other medication, Rybelsus may cause mild or severe side effects. Your healthcare provider can tell you more about the potential side effects of Rybelsus. Rybelsus also provides a medication guide . The common side effects are related to gastrointestinal issues. Some of the mild side effects of Rybelsus are temporary and last a few days to a few weeks because your body is getting used to the medication.

Mild side effects of Rybelsus can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating and gas
  • Heartburn
  • Decreased appetite
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Weight loss: A study showed that people who weigh an average of 196 pounds and take the lowest dose of Rybelsus lose about 5 pounds over six months. Some other people gained weight even though some people lost weight. Rybelsus should be combined with a healthy diet and exercise to manage diabetes. Rybelsus can cause decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, promoting weight loss.

Severe side effects of Rybelsus can include:

  • Lower blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetic retinopathy (changes in eyesight)
  • Thyroid cancer: Rybelsus has a boxed warning about this. A boxed warning is a severe warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Doctors do not recommend Rybelsus for people who have medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). Rybelsus increases the risk of thyroid tumors (c-cell tumors) in humans.
  • Pancreatitis: Inflammation of your pancreas caused by medications can be mild to moderate. Pancreatitis may cause abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. You may feel only mild tenderness or severe pain; it will be constant and feel like a stabbing sensation. You can try to bend forward or bring your knees to your chest while lying down to help manage the tummy pain.
  • Allergic reactions: Sometimes, people experience itchiness, skin rash, and flushing (warmth, swelling, or redness in your skin). Reactions may also be severe, like eyelids, lips, hands, or feet swelling. Swelling can also extend to the tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.

Make sure you use Rybelsus under the supervision of your doctor so he can monitor your tolerance for oral Rybelsus. Other weight loss drugs can used instead of Rybelsus.

Comparisons with Other Medications

Rybelsus manufacturers are waiting for FDA approval for Rybelsus as a weight loss drug. This is good for people who want to skip the injectable form for oral medications. Rybelsus is only approved for treating type 2 diabetes, but some healthcare providers may prescribe them for weight loss off-label.

Other oral GLP-1 agonist medications, like Rybelsus, are not far along in research and development. But there are promising results.

Danuglipron: This oral GLP-1 agonist is in phase 2 trials for type 2 diabetes and weight loss. It is prescribed for use twice daily. The clinical trials for type 2 diabetes show an average weight loss of 10 pounds at the highest dose after 16 weeks.

Orforglipron: This oral GLP-1 agonist is in phase 3 trials for type 2 diabetes and weight loss. The phase 2 trial results show an average weight loss of up to 15% of their original body weight after 36 weeks of use.

Danuglipron and Orforglipron are smaller chemical-based drugs, unlike other FDA-approved GLP-1 agonists that are peptides - larger molecules made of amino acids.

Mounjaro, also known as tirzepatide, is also prescribed for weight loss, but it is getting FDA approval. It acts on GLP-1 and another hormone called GIP.

Ozempic and Trulicity(dulaglutide) are approved only for diabetes, and Wegovy, Saxenda, Qsymia (topiramate/phentermine), Contrave (naltrexone/bupropion) and Xenical, Alli (orlistat) are approved only for weight loss.

Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus work the same way in the body. They signal to your pancreas for insulin secretion and reduce blood glucose production in your liver after you eat. They also slow down the stomach emptying, which makes you feel full.

Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus have one thing in common: the active ingredient, semaglutide. They belong to the same class of receptor agonists. The key difference is how they are used. Wegovy and Ozempicare once-weekly semaglutide injections, while Rybelsus is available as an oral tablet.

Practical Tips

When taking Rybelsus for weight loss, it is essential to keep it in mind to ensure it is effective and manage side effects.

  • Use your Rybelsus medication at the same time every day to establish a routine and maintain consistency.
  • Tell your doctor about other medications you are using, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. To monitor Rybelsus' interactions with other drugs.
  • Adapt necessary lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and exercise to achieve the best results.
  • Regularly track your blood sugar levels.
  • Read and follow prescribing information. Depending on your prescription, you may be required to take it with or without food.
  • Using Rybelsus can put you at an increased risk for hypoglycemia - low blood sugar, especially when you are using it with other medications.
  • Report all side effects to your doctor.
  • Maintain scheduled follow-up appointments with your doctor. These appointments help monitor your response and tolerance to Rybelsus, and necessary adjustments can be made.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you avoid eating on Rybelsus?

If you are using Rybelsus as a weight-loss drug, you must be mindful of what you eat to avoid a negative impact on its efficacy. There are a few foods you have to avoid eating when using

Rybelsus for weight loss, like:

  • Spicy foods
  • Refined carbs
  • High-fat foods like high-fat meats and fried snacks.
  • Full dairy products
  • High-sugar foods include soda, sugary fruit juice, candy, sweetened tea, and coffee.
  • Alcoholic drinks

You can replace these foods with those that will not raise your blood glucose, like:

  • Healthy, unsaturated fats like nuts, seeds, and salmon
  • Protein, like chicken, fish, eggs, and tofu
  • Fibre, like whole grains, berries, and broccoli
  • Magnesium, like almonds, edamame, and dark chocolate

Which is safer, Ozempic or Rybelsus?

Ozempic and Rybelsus are brand names but have the same active ingredient, Semaglutide. They belong to the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists drug class. They are both prescription drugs used to control blood sugar. Ozempic is given as a subcutaneous injection, while Rybelsus is provided as an oral medication. The American Diabetes Association guidelines, with a combination of diet and exercise, recommend ozempic and Rybelsuse. This recommendation is an additional treatment option if Metformin does not lower blood sugar.

While Ozempic can also reduce the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 diabetes, Rybelsus is not approved for this use.

Does Rybelsus cause hair loss?

Rybelsus, as a prescription drug, is used for adults with type 2 diabetes for blood sugar control. It can cause mild to severe side effects, including different gastrointestinal issues but Rybelsus should not cause hair loss; it is not reported as a side effect in the medication studies, and hair loss is associated with diabetes. Other medications or conditions can also cause hair loss. If hair loss starts when you use Rybelsus, you should talk to your doctor about it.

Conclusion

Rybelsus is an oral form of semaglutide medication approved to treat type 2 diabetes, and just like Ozempic, higher doses of Rybelsus are being studied for weight loss. Studies have proven that a higher dose of Rybelsus helps in losing weight. It works just like Wegovy. The FDA approval for weight loss and type 2 diabetes is meant to come in 2023. Rybelsus is used to lower blood sugar levels.

Whedecidingon to start on Rybelsus, like all semaglutide medications, it is best to speak to your healthcare provider about underlying medical conditions and family history. Even if you don't have any medical condition, you should not start Rybelsus without talking to a doctor. Other oral medications in research and development may be used effectively to lose weight.

Sources

To ensure that we give you correct, accurate, and relevant information, all articles on Diabetic & Me are backed by verified information from academic research papers, well-known organizations, research institutions, and medical associations.

  1. Novo PI Medication Guide RYBELSUS® (reb-EL-sus)
  2. Access Data Medication Guide RYBELSUS® (reb-EL-sus)
  3. Pfizer Pfizer Pipeline
  4. JAMA Network Efficacy and Safety of Oral Small Molecule Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonist Danuglipron for Glycemic Control Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes
  5. National Library of Medicine A Study of Orforglipron in Adult Participants With Obesity or Overweight and Type 2 Diabetes (ATTAIN-2)
  6. The New England Journal of Medicine Daily Oral GLP-1 Receptor Agonist Orforglipron for Adults with Obesity

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville, and I am the founder of Diabetic Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996, I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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