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Your guide on how and where to inject semaglutide

Tips to leave you feeling confident about self-injecting weight loss medication at home.

How & Where to Inject Semaglutide? A Step by Step Guide | Juniper

Self-injectable medicine is the way of the future. The injectable drug delivery market is growing at a fast rate: the COVID-19 pandemic has forced modern medicine to find new, effective and safe ways of administering medicine to patients in a timely manner.

If you have been managing arthritis, diabetes, or harvesting embryos for IVF, you've almost certainly come across self-injectable medicine. Many of the most effective weight loss medications require regular injections.

One of these is semaglutide — a groundbreaking medication for managing weight safely and there is a growing body of evidence that it is the most streamlined, effective and sustainable option for weight loss.

Many people will be daunted at the idea of injecting themselves with medication every week. We get it: needles are scary! But, the semaglutide pen is nothing to be worried about — it's easy, low risk and is the most effective way to take this incredible medication that could change your life.

Why is semaglutide an injection and not a tablet?

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in medications like Wegovy and Ozempic, simulates a hormone called GLP-1, which regulates blood sugar levels — this is why you might hear Wegovy referred to as a GLP-1 medication.

If blood sugar rises, the hormone tells the body to produce more insulin, which will then lower blood sugar levels. This increases a feeling of fullness by making patients feel sated faster and decreasing their appetite.

While Ozempic is licensed for diabetes treatment in the UK, Wegovy is used for weight management and in the treatment of obesity.

A GLP-1 pen is a pre-filled syringe that is injected under the skin. Unlike vaccines, it's not to be delivered in a vein or in a muscle. A needle inserted under the skin is also known as a subcutaneous injection. As subcutaneous tissue has few blood vessels, the injected drug is diffused very slowly, sometimes over 24 hours, at a sustained rate of absorption [1].

Therefore, an injection pen is highly effective in administering vaccines, growth hormones, insulin and other medications like Wegovy and semaglutide, which require continuous adherence at a low dose rate [2].

Semaglutide is delivered as a subcutaneous injection because it is the most effective method of absorption in the body.

When is the best time to inject semaglutide?

Wegovy is a once-weekly semaglutide injection. One of the great benefits of the GLP-1 pen is that you can take it any time during the week, with or without food. However, it does need to be taken at the same time each week.

This is because there needs to be a full 7 days between doses — taking them too close together or too far apart can lessen effectiveness.

When you take it is up to you, but we recommend making part of your routine on one day of the week. You could take it on a Sunday night before you start your week, right after your skincare regime. Or, you could take it first thing on a Wednesday morning every week.

You can take semaglutide with food or without food: this will not affect how it works in your body.

How do I know if I've injected it correctly?

Learning how to use a self-injectable pen can be daunting and a little confusing.

Following the instructions for taking semaglutide is vital, and each pen will include clear steps on how to inject it. As long as you are doing this, you should be fine and have minimal risks to your skin.

The needle on your GLP-1 pen is extremely fine, leaving the risk of infection very low. If you believe something has gone wrong, you can speak to your doctor and they can make sure you are taking it correctly.

Common side effects of semaglutide include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Experiencing these side effects does not mean you are taking it incorrectly. If you have side effects that don’t go away or that become severe, please talk to your doctor.

Where are the best places to inject semaglutide?

As this medication is delivered as a subcutaneous needle, injection sites can include the stomach, thigh or upper arm. Essentially, it needs to be somewhere on your skin that's thick and fatty, and away from veins and muscles.

One of the most important things to remember is to not use the same injection site every time: each injection site should be a different spot with each dose.

Your injection site should have healed by the next dose, but using the same site can lead to inflammation of the skin and even infection so it's best to rotate where you inject.

How do you inject semaglutide?

Learning how to use the GLP-1 pen before you start will leave you feeling more confident in self-injecting at home.

Prepare your pen

Read the label to check that your pen contains semaglutide, and make sure that the medicine in your pen is clear and colourless.

Attach a new needle

Tear off the paper tab. Push and turn the needle until it is tight. Pull both needle caps.

Look at the flow check symbol

Turn the dose selector until the dose counter shows the flow check symbol. This will ensure you're taking the correct dose. Press and hold the dose button until the dose counter shows 0. Make sure a drop appears at the needle tip.

Administer your injection

Make sure the area around your injection site of choice is clean. Turn the dose selector until the dose counter shows the dose you need to inject.

Inject your dose

Insert the needle into your skin. Press and hold down the dose button. After the dose counter reaches 0, slowly count to 6. Remove the needle from your skin.

After your injection

Carefully remove the needle and place it in a sharps container. Put the pen cap back on the pen.

If you do not have a sharps disposal container, you can place your disposable needles in a container that is:

  • Made of heavy-duty plastic;
  • Can be closed with a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lid;
  • Upright and stable during use;
  • Leak resistant; and
  • Labelled to warn of hazardous waste inside.

How do I store my GLP-1 pen?

The semglutide pen requires refrigeration. Store your GLP-1 pens in the refrigerator between 2°C-8°C until their expiration date.

What happens if I miss my dose?

If you miss a dose of semaglutide, try to take it as soon as you remember if it has been 5 days or less since your missed dose.

The catch-up day will become your new scheduled day of the week for your dose. For example, if you've missed your usual Saturday injection date and you take it on Monday instead, then Monday will become your new injection day and you can inject semaglutide every 7 days.

But, if it has been more than 5 days since you were supposed to take the medication, you should skip the missed dose. Then, take the next dose on your regularly scheduled day.

How can I get started using semaglutide?

Semaglutide is fast becoming a medicine of choice for weight loss, but it is not a medication for everyone and is not a silver bullet for losing weight. Semaglutide and Wegovy are just one aspect of multiple lifestyle changes you will likely make to lose weight and keep it off.

The most sustainable way to lose weight is to ensure you are under the guidance of evidence-based healthcare professionals who know the ins and outs of weight loss. No two weight loss regimes will be the same, as every person's physical makeup is different.

If you want a tailored weight loss solution that is backed by a growing body of scientific evidence, have a look at Juniper's Weight Reset Programme.

Designed by medical doctors and dietitians, our programme includes tailored treatments, 1:1 health tracking, lifestyle coaching and access to a private community full of women who are on a similar health journey to you.

We set you up to achieve long-term weight loss success and help you make a change in your life.