Rybelsus (Semaglutide)

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PharmD Medical WriterMedication information written by Dr. Patricia Weiser, Pharm.D 

Updated - February 16, 2021

 

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Rybelsus (Semaglutide) Medication Information

Uses

Rybelsus is a prescription medication used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults.  Rybelsus contains the active ingredient semaglutide, which improves blood sugar levels in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise. 

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas.  Insulin normally helps move sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells. But, some people’s bodies don’t recognize insulin correctly, and too much sugar stays in their blood.  Over time, high blood sugar levels can contribute to many other health problems and increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. 

You can take control of your type 2 diabetes by choosing a healthy diet, exercising, and consistently taking your prescribed medications, such as Rybelsus.

Dosage

Rybelsus is an oral tablet that comes in three different strengths: 

  • 3 milligrams (mg) 
  • 7 mg
  • 14 mg 

Rybelsus should be taken on an empty stomach with just a sip of water.  For the next 30 minutes after your dose, do not eat food, take other medications, or drink beverages other than water (no more than 4 ounces).  Rybelsus works best if you then eat 30 to 60 minutes after taking your dose. 

Rybelsus is usually prescribed once daily.  Your doctor may increase your dose to find the dose that works best for you. Be sure to follow your healthcare provider’s directions.

Precautions

Some people should not take Rybelsus if they have certain factors in their medical history, including:

  • Thyroid cancer or a condition known as Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome, including family history
  • Allergy to semaglutide or any of the ingredients of Rybelsus 

Some people with specific medical conditions may have a higher risk for side effects from Semaglutide.  If you have any of the following health conditions, make sure your doctor knows.  They may need to monitor you more carefully.  Consult with your doctor if you have:

  • Pancreas or kidney disease
  • Vision problems
  • Frequent episode of hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar level)
  • Currently taking insulin or certain diabetes medications (such as glipizide or glimepiride)
  • Pregnant or plans to become pregnant 
  • Breastfeeding

Side Effects

Like all medications, Rybelsus may cause side effects.  The most common side effects of Rybelsus are mild for most people. Some common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Decreased appetite

If you have side effects that become severe or don’t go away, call your healthcare provider.

Interactions

Certain medications should not be taken with Rybelsus or may be taken only if your doctor is carefully monitoring you.  These medications include:

  • Specific diabetes medications, such as glipizide or glimepiride
  • Insulin

Rybelsus can slow the emptying of the stomach which can affect the absorption of other medications, such as levothyroxine. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about separating Semaglutide from other medications. 

Storage

Store Rybelsus in its original packaging at room temperature (68°F to 77°F or 20°C to 25°C), away from moisture.  

Pharmacists Tips

  • Rybelsus tablets should be swallowed whole; do not split, crush, or chew.  
  • Check your blood sugar regularly, especially when you first start taking Rybelsus.
  • If you change your physical activity level, change your diet, have an infection or upcoming surgery while taking Rybelsus, notify your doctor.  All of these situations could raise your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). 
  • If you miss a dose, skip that dose and then continue your regular schedule. 

Rybelsus FAQs

When is it safe to try to get pregnant after stopping Rybelsus?

If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor about other treatment options.  After consulting with your doctor, plan to stop taking Semaglutide at least two months before trying to become pregnant.

 

Will Rybelsus affect my weight?

Although not approved for weight-loss, the common side effects often lead to weight loss in people taking Rybelsus.  These side effects include nausea and decreased appetite.  An injected form of semaglutide is currently being studied in clinical trials the purpose of helping people with obesity lose weight.  

 

Related Drugs

References

  1. Rybelsus Prescription Information.  Plainsboro, NJ: Novo Nordisk Inc.; 2020. https://www.novo-pi.com/rybelsus.pdf, Accessed February 11, 2021.
  2. Goyal R, Jialal I. Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing; 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513253/, Accessed February 11, 2021.

PharmD Medical Writer

Author: Dr. Patricia Weiser, PharmD

Patricia Weiser, PharmD, is a licensed pharmacist and medical writer.  She has clinical experience in community and hospital pharmacy.  Patricia is a 2007 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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