What is Rybelsus?

What is Rybelsus?

 Rybelsus 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. Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level becomes too high due to problems with a hormone called insulin. If diet and exercise aren’t helping you manage your type 2 diabetes, Rybelsus shouldn’t be the first medication that you try. Rybelsus isn’t approved to treat 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. So if you have had this condition, your doctor may recommend a different diabetes medication. Rybelsus contains one active ingredient: semaglutide. Rybelsus belongs to a group of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. Rybelsus comes as a tablet that you swallow. It’s available in three strengths: 3 mg, 7 mg, and 14 mg. You’ll take Rybelsus once a day.


 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.

In a 26-week study of adults with type 2 diabetes, those who took Rybelsus had a decrease in their HbA1c level of 1.2% to 1.4%. This was compared with a decrease of only 0.3% in people who took a placebo. At the end of the study, about 69% to 77% of people who took Rybelsus had an HbA1c level of less than 7%, compared with 31% of those who took a placebo.

Weight loss

Weight loss of about 5 to 10 pounds (2 to 3 kilograms) may occur when taking Rybelsus for type 2 diabetes. Studies showed that people who took Rybelsus lost more weight than people who took liraglutide (Victoza), sitagliptin (Januvia), empagliflozin (Jardiance), or a placebo (treatment with no active drug). But exact numbers for how many people lost weight with each treatment aren’t known.

The weight loss may be a result of better blood sugar management, in addition to changes in diet and exercise. It could also be the result of digestive side effects caused by Rybelsus (see below).

If you have any concerns about weight loss while taking Rybelsus, talk with your doctor. They can review your treatment plan to help make sure you’re at a healthy weight.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Rybelsus aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Rybelsus side effects

Rybelsus can cause mild or serious side effects.The most common mild side effects of Rybelsus can include:
nausea and vomiting
belly pain
decreased appetite
weight loss

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when used with a hormone called insulin. Symptoms can include: sweating weakness confusion Pancreatitis (swelling or irritation of the pancreas). Symptoms can include: severe belly pain vomiting fever Complications of diabetic retinopathy (a form of eye damage due to diabetes). Symptoms can include: worsened eyesight, such as blurred vision, floaters (specks in your vision that move), and trouble seeing colors

Rybelsus dosage

The Rybelsus dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

the severity of the condition you’re using Rybelsus to treat other medical conditions you may have Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect. The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Rybelsus comes as a tablet that you swallow. It’s available in the following strengths: 3 mg, 7 mg, and 14 mg.

Dosage for type 2 diabetes

For treatment of type 2 diabetes, you’ll usually take 3 mg of Rybelsus once a day for the first 30 days. After that, your doctor will likely increase your dose to 7 mg once a day. This is usually the dose that’s needed to help improve blood sugar management. After you’ve been taking 7 mg of Rybelsus for 30 days, your doctor will decide whether they should increase the dose. If you could benefit from better blood sugar management, your doctor may increase your dose to 14 mg once a day.

What if I miss a dose?

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.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Rybelsus is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Rybelsus is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term. In addition to taking Rybelsus, good diet and exercise habits may help improve type 2 diabetes. In some instances, the condition may improve so much that your doctor may decrease your dosage of Rybelsus or have you stop taking the drug.

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