Rybelsus: What is it used for, How does it work, What are the side effects?

What is RYBELSUS used for?

The active ingredient in RYBELSUS is semaglutide, which is used to reduce blood sugar (glucose) in adults with type 2 diabetes.

  • RYBELSUS may be used alone if diet and exercise are not sufficient to control blood sugar levels and metformin cannot be used.
  • When other diabetes medications are not sufficiently controlling your blood sugar, RYBELSUS may be used in combination with them.
  • While not officially approved for weight loss, Rybelsus may help you lose weight

How does RYBELSUS work?

When your blood sugar levels are high, RYBELSUS helps your body produce more insulin. It belongs to a class of drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists (glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists).

What are the ingredients in RYBELSUS?

Medicinal ingredients: semaglutide

Non-medicinal ingredients: salcaprozate sodium (SNAC), povidone K 90, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate

What strength tablets is RYBELSUS available in?

3 mg tablets are white to light yellow, oval shaped debossed with “3” on one side and “novo” on the other side. The tablets are supplied in green coloured cartons and blister packaging.

7 mg tablets are white to light yellow, oval shaped debossed with “7” on one side and “novo” on the other side. The tablets are supplied in red coloured cartons and blister packaging.

14 mg tablets are white to light yellow, oval shaped debossed with “14” on one side and “novo” on the other side. The tablets are supplied in blue coloured cartons and blister packaging.

Who should not use RYBELSUS?

  • In the event that you are allergic to semaglutide or any of its ingredients;
  • you or a member of your family has ever had medullary thyroid cancer (MTC);
  • you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2);
  • you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Before using RYBELSUS, talk to your healthcare professional about any health conditions or problems you may have, including:

  • If you or a member of your family has or has had medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), or if you or a member of your family has Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2);
  • You have type 1 diabetes, which is characterized by an absence of insulin production in your body;
  • If you develop diabetic ketoacidosis (high blood or urine ketones);
  • If you have ever experienced an allergic reaction to RYBELSUS;
  • have a high heart rate (fast pulse);
  • Have ever suffered from pancreatitis;
  • Breastfeed or plan to breastfeed;
  • Pregnant or planning to become pregnant;
  • have end stage renal disease;
  • There is gastrointestinal (digestive) distress, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and/or dehydration;
  • have hepatic liver disease;
  • have diabetic retinopathy.

Other warnings you should know about:

Is Rybelsus safe for Children and adolescents?

As RYBELSUS has not been studied in children under 18 years of age, it is not recommended for use in this group of patients.

IS Rybelsus safe for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?

RYBELSUS should not be used during pregnancy or for at least two months before a planned pregnancy because it is not known if it may affect your unborn child. It is recommended to use contraception if you are at risk of becoming pregnant while using RYBELSUS.

Breastfeeding women should not use this medicine since it is not known whether RYBELSUS passes into breast milk.

Driving and Using Machines

A low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may occur if you use this medicine together with a sulfonylurea or insulin. If you experience symptoms of low blood sugar, avoid driving or using machinery. Consult your doctor for more details.

Acute pancreatitis could cause severe and ongoing stomach pain

You should see a doctor if you experience severe and on-going stomach pain as this could be a sign of acute pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation).

Effects on the digestive system

It is possible to experience nausea (nausea), vomiting, or diarrhea during treatment with this medicine. Dehydration (loss of fluids) can result from these side effects. If you have kidney problems, it is especially important to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor.

Diabetic eye disease (retinopathy)

If you have diabetic eye disease and experience eye problems while taking this medication, talk to your doctor. Fast improvements in blood sugar control may temporarily worsen the condition.

Inform your healthcare professional about all medicines you are taking, including drugs, vitamins, minerals, natural supplements, and alternative medicines.

Tell your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • sulfonylurea;
  • insulin;
  • levothyroxine – this is because your doctor may need to check your thyroid levels if you are taking RYBELSUS together with levothyroxine.

What medications interact with Rybelsus?

If you take any other medication with RYBELSUS, consult your doctor or pharmacist first. The following list contains some, but not all, medications that may increase your heart rate:

  • Hypertension drugs;
  • Heart failure drugs;
  • HIV-treatment drugs;
  • ADD/hyperactivity drugs;
  • Weight loss/suppression of appetite drugs;
  • decongestants;
  • Asthma medications.

How do you take Rybelsus?

Make sure you take this medicine exactly as your doctor has prescribed. If you are unsure, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse.

Follow these instructions carefully:

  • RYBELSUS should be taken on an empty stomach.
  • Do not split, crush or chew your RYBELSUS tablet. Swallow it whole with a sip of water (up to 120 mL).
  • You should wait at least 30 minutes after taking your RYBELSUS tablet before eating or drinking or taking other oral medications.

What is the usual dose of Rybelsus?

  • One 3 mg tablet should be taken once daily for 30 days as a starting dose.
  • Your doctor will increase your dose to 7 mg once a day after 30 days of 3 mg once a day.
  • In the event that your blood sugar cannot be controlled well enough with 7 mg once a day, your doctor may increase your dose to 14 mg once a day.

Do not change your dose unless your doctor tells you so. Do not take more than one tablet of RYBELSUS daily. Do not take two tablets of RYBELSUS to get a higher dose. It is important not to stop taking this medicine without talking to your doctor. It may increase your blood sugar levels if you stop taking it. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse if you have any questions about using this medicine.

What to do if you overdose on Rybelsus?

Talk to your doctor right away if you take too much RYBELSUS. You may experience more side effects, such as nausea (feeling sick).

Please contact your healthcare professional, hospital emergency department, or regional poison control center if you think you have taken too much RYBELSUS.

What should you do if you missed a dose of Rybelsus?

Don’t worry if you forget a dose, just take one the next morning.

What are the side effects of RYBELSUS?

In case you experience any side effects that are not listed here, please contact your healthcare provider.

Very common: may affect more than 1 in 10 people

  • The feeling of being sick (nausea) usually goes away over time;
  • Diarrhea usually subsides with time;
  • In combination with insulin or sulfonylureas, this medicine can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

A person with low blood sugar may suddenly experience symptoms such as cold sweats, pale skin, headache, fast heartbeat, nausea, a change in vision, feeling sleepy or weak, feeling nervous, anxious or confused, difficulty concentrating or shaking. Low blood sugar is more likely to happen if you also take a sulfonylurea or insulin. Your doctor may reduce your dose of these medicines before you start using this medicine.

Common: may affect up to 1 in 10 people

  • being sick (vomiting);
  • upset stomach or indigestion;
  • The symptoms of an inflamed stomach (‘gastritis’) include stomach aches, nausea and vomiting;
  • Reflux or heartburn – also known as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD);
  • Pain in the stomach;
  • Stomach bloating;
  • constipation;
  • change in the way food or drink tastes;
  • tiredness;
  • A decrease in appetite;
  • gas (flatulence);
  • An increase in pancreatic enzymes (such as lipase and amylase).

Uncommon: may affect up to 1 in 100 people

  • weight loss;
  • gallstones;
  • burping;
  • fast pulse.

Rare: may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people

  • serious allergic reactions (anaphylactic reactions). You should seek immediate medical help and inform your doctor straight away if you get symptoms such as breathing problems, swelling of face and throat, wheezing, fast heartbeat, pale and cold skin, feeling dizzy or weak.

What are the serious side effects of Rybelsus and what to do about them?

Diabetic retinopathy complications – complications of diabetic eye disease/diabetic eye problems: Talk to your healthcare professional

Pancreatitis (severe and ongoing pain in the stomach area which could be a sign of inflamed pancreas): Stop taking drug and get immediate medical help

 Severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) symptoms: feeling confused, fits and passing out: Talk to your healthcare professional  

Severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic reaction) symptoms: breathing problems, swelling of face and throat and a fast heartbeat: Stop taking drug and get immediate medical help

If you have a troublesome symptom or side effect that is not listed here or becomes bad enough to interfere with your daily activities, talk to your healthcare professional.

How to store Rybelsus?

It is important to keep this medicine out of the reach and sight of children.

Store RYBELSUS at room temperature (15 oC to 30 oC). Keep the tablet in the blister package until you are ready to take it. Removing it too soon can prevent the tablet from working as expected.

If the package appears damaged or tampered with, do not use this medicine.

Reference: FDA Monograph

Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually correct and up to date, however this article is not comprehensive and does not contain all relevant information about the topic. IT should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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