Ozempic contains the drug semaglutide, which belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists.
GLP-1 agonists work by copying, or mimicking, the functions of the natural incretin hormones in your body that help lower post-meal blood sugar levels These functions include:
- Stimulating the release of insulin by the pancreas after eating, even before blood sugars start to rise.
- Inhibiting the release of glucagon by the pancreas. Glucagon is a hormone that causes the liver to release its stored sugar into the bloodstream.
- Slowing glucose absorption into the bloodstream by reducing the speed at which the stomach empties after eating, thus making you feel more satisfied after a meal.
These effects are in direct response to the presence of carbohydrates in the gut and therefore the chance of significant hypoglycemia occurring is unlikely unless used in combination with other hypoglycemic drugs.
By increasing insulin secretion and inhibiting glucagon release, incretin mimetics have blood-glucose-lowering effects which help to reduce your HbA1c.
They have also been shown in clinical research studies to be beneficial in losing weight, compared with a placebo, when used in combination with diet and exercise.