Managing the Potential Side Effects of Semaglutide

November 16, 2023 by Steve Suntala

Semaglutide, a revolutionary weight loss medication, has garnered significant attention in Cleveland and beyond for its efficacy in medical weight loss and management of conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes and preexisting cardiovascular disease.

Like any medication, Semaglutide can have side effects, particularly gastrointestinal (GI) ones. Patients must be well-informed and prepared to handle these things properly, and the team at New Pathways Clinic is here to guide you through the process of how to prevent, or manage, any unforeseen effects.

Common Side Effects of Semaglutide

Semaglutide, a fairly new weight loss treatment available via injection, primarily impacts the GI system.

Patients might experience nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and a decreased appetite.

While these symptoms can be unsettling, they are typically manageable. Other less common potential side effects include changes in blood sugar levels, heart rate and a risk of thyroid tumors.

Patient Care at New Pathways Clinic in Cleveland

Sean Boyd, the new Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) overseeing the weight loss program at New Pathways, emphasizes the importance of comprehensive patient education and care.

“It is important to understand that GI side-effects with Semaglutide are common and manageable with comprehensive care. We value educating patients, so they are not surprised when they encounter side effects. We also ensure that our patients’ side effects are mitigated with additional medications and medical advice.”

A Strong Support System for Prevention

New Pathways Clinic in Cleveland stands out for its patient-centric approach to weight management and overall health. The clinic employs a holistic strategy, not just focusing on medication like Semaglutide but also incorporating lifestyle changes, dietary advice and mental health support. This multidisciplinary approach is essential, considering the interconnectedness of weight, mental health, and chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Semaglutide for weight loss

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Managing Potential Side Effects

At New Pathways, the management of Semaglutide side effects involves:

Personalized Care Plans: Tailored to individual needs, considering personal information and specific health conditions.
Education and Preparation: Ensuring patients are well-informed about potential side effects and how to handle them.
Comprehensive Support: From medication management to dietary guidance and mental health support.

Here is a list of recommendations for those with GI issues, provided by the National Library of Medicine (NLM):

Improve Eating Habits

  • Eat slowly.
  • Eat only if you are really hungry.
  • Eat smaller portions.
  • Avoid lying down after having a meal.
  • Stop eating in case of feeling of fullness.
  • Increase meal frequency.
  • Avoid drinking using a straw.
  • Eat without distractions and enjoy savoring the food.
  • Try not to be too active after eating.
  • Avoid eating too close to bedtime.

Adapt Food Composition to Your Requirements

  • Choose easy-to-digest food, low-fat diets (focus on bland foods).
  • Use oven, cooking griddle, or boiling.
  • Increase fluid intake, especially clear, fresh drinks (in small sips), but not too much to make you feel too full.
  • Consume healthy foods that contain water (soups, liquid yogurt, gelatin, and others).
  • Avoid sweet meals.
  • Avoid dressings, spicy foods, canned food, sauces that are not home-cooked.

Get Some Fresh Air and Do Light Exercise

  • Exercise, especially outdoors, will aid your your metabolism and increase your body’s efficiency in burning fat and calories.

Keep a Food Diary

  • Useful to identify foods or meal timings that make symptoms worse.

Additional Recommendations for Patients with Nausea

  • Eat foods that ease nausea symptoms after 30 minutes of the last GLP-1 RA dose, such as crackers, apples, mint, ginger root, or ginger-based drinks.
  • Avoid strong smells.

Additional Recommendations for Patients with Vomiting

  • Be particularly careful with hydration.
  • Eat smaller amounts of food in more frequent meals.

Additional Recommendations for Patients with Diarrhea

  • Generous hydration with water, lemon, and a teaspoon of bicarbonate.
  • Avoid isotonic drinks intended for sports.
  • Avoid dairy products, laxative juices or meals, coffee, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, very cold or very hot foods, and products with sweeteners ending in “ol” (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol), including candy and gum.
  • Avoid (or temporarily reduce your intake of) high-fiber foods such as grain and seed products, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Consume chicken broth, rice, carrots, and very ripe fruit without skin.

Additional Recommendations for Patients with Constipation

  • Ensure an adequate amount of fiber in your diet.
  • Increase physical activity.
  • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Drink generous amounts of water (or other sugar-free liquids).

Additional Recommendations for Severe or Persistent GLP-1 RA Symptoms

  • In case of persistent nausea and/or vomiting, avoid drinks during meals and have them between 30 and 60 minutes before and/or after meals.
  • If symptoms persist despite following the guidelines, inform your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

For more information, visit the NLM’s page on Clinical Recommendations to Manage Gastrointestinal Adverse Events in Patients Treated with Glp-1 Receptor Agonists.

Getting Started with New Pathways: Semaglutide Cleveland Care

Semaglutide represents a significant advancement in chronic weight management and the treatment of related conditions. However, understanding and managing its side effects is crucial for patient safety and comfort.

New Pathways Clinic, with its expert team and holistic approach, is at the forefront of providing comprehensive care for patients undergoing Semaglutide treatment in Cleveland, ensuring a balance between achieving weight loss goals and maintaining overall health.

Reach out to a healthcare member on our team for more information or book a free consultation start your own weight loss journey and improve your overall health today.

At New Pathways Clinic our heartfelt mission is to establish a holistic mental wellness campus that touches the lives of individuals in the greater Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati regions. We are dedicated to combining state-of-the-art mental health treatments, like Ketamine therapy infusions and Spravato nasal spray, with the expertise of compassionate mental health professionals to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, migraines, and bipolar disorder.

Our unwavering commitment drives us to continuously evolve and adapt as the scientific landscape of ketamine research expands and diversifies, leading to innovative mental health treatments. We are determined to pave the way for a healthier future for Cleveland, central Ohio, and southern Ohio.

New Pathways Clinic also offers Semaglutide & Tirzepatide weight-loss shots, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, and  ketamine/Spravato support groups for patients.

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