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How quickly do you lose weight on Rybelsus?

Robbie Puddick
Written by

Robbie Puddick

Medically reviewed by

Fiona Moncrieff

4 min read
Last updated February 2024

Jump to: What does Rybelsus do to your body? | Is Rybelsus available on the NHS? | Can I take Rybelsus if I’m not diabetic? | How much does Rybelsus cost in the UK? | Is Rybelsus or Ozempic better for weight loss? | Does Rybelsus have side effects?

According to randomised controlled trials, you start losing weight immediately after taking Rybelsus. After one month, the average weight loss on Rybelsus is around 2kg; after two months, it’s over 3kg.

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What does Rybelsus do to your body?

Rybelsus (oral semaglutide) is a GLP-1 receptor agonist. It mimics a fullness hormone called GLP-1.

Rybelsus reduces appetite and hunger by interacting with the brain’s appetite control centre, the hypothalamus. This effect on the brain helps you eat fewer calories and starts almost immediately after taking the pill.

However, you might notice your hunger levels rising and falling in the first 4-5 weeks you take Rybelsus.

It can take around 4-5 weeks for Rybelsus to reach a level in the body we call a steady state. A steady state is when the drug’s levels in the body remain consistent rather than spiking and falling.

Interestingly, this initial weight loss is no different to other weight loss treatments or the impact of diet interventions on weight loss. The real effect of oral semaglutide is seen beyond three months.

Oral semaglutide is a long-acting medication that’s started at a lower dose to reduce the number and severity of side effects as it’s built up to a higher maintenance dose.

Is Rybelsus available on the NHS?

Rybelsus has been approved for type 2 diabetes in the UK and can be prescribed via the NHS or private pharmacies. Rybelsus isn’t available for weight loss.

For more information on oral semaglutide and how you can access it via the NHS, click here.

Can I take Rybelsus if I’m not diabetic?

Rybelsus is only approved for individuals living with type 2 diabetes in the UK. New legislation means it can’t be prescribed for weight loss.

If you’re looking for a weight loss medication in the UK, you have three options:

  1. Wegovy (semaglutide, available with Second Nature)
  2. Saxenda (liraglutide, not available with Second Nature)
  3. Orlistat (available over the counter)

How much does Rybelsus cost in the UK?

To purchase a prescription for Rybelsus via the NHS, you’ll only need to pay the base fee for a prescription of £9.95.

You can buy Rybelsus online for around £129 per month via private prescription in the UK. However, you’d need to be living with type 2 diabetes and meet their eligibility criteria.

Is Rybelsus or Ozempic better for weight loss?

According to randomised controlled trials, Ozempic leads to more weight loss than Rybelsus.

However, Rybelsus and Ozempic are only approved for people living with type 2 diabetes in the UK and can’t be prescribed to support weight loss.

Ozempic and Rybelsus are the same medication (semaglutide) but are administered differently. Ozempic is injected once a week, and Rybelsus is taken in a tablet once a week.

Wegovy is approved for weight loss in the UK and has been shown to lead to more significant weight loss than Ozempic and Rybelsus.

Does Rybelsus have side effects?

The most common side effects of Rybelsus are nausea, constipation, vomiting, and other symptoms affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, like diarrhoea.

You might also experience less common side effects like tiredness or headaches.

These symptoms most commonly occur around the time of the injection, during dose escalation, and are typically transient and will ease after you’ve adapted to the medication.

However, everyone responds differently to these medications; some people won’t experience any side effects, while others will have to discontinue their medication due to the discomfort the side effects cause.

Not a magic pill

Weight loss medications are designed as additional tools for weight management interventions and shouldn’t be considered lifelong medications.

Instead, they should be used to help you kickstart your weight loss and healthy journey while you commit to living a healthier lifestyle.

Consider the use of antidepressants for people living with depression. They’re not designed to cure the condition. Instead, they’re designed to allow room for therapy to treat the condition’s underlying cause.

Rybelsus and other weight loss medications, like Ozempic and Wegovy, are similar. They can allow you to make lifestyle changes to support long-term weight loss maintenance.

At Second Nature, we’ve been used by the NHS since 2017 to support people with type 2 diabetes and obesity to lose weight, manage their blood sugar levels, and lead healthier lifestyles for the long term.

Ideally, we’d lose weight without medication, and we’d recommend trying our weight-loss programme before trying a weight-loss injection, as it’s cheaper and potentially more sustainable in the long term.

In 2022, the NHS published data in the British Medical Journal that compared the weight loss outcomes of five providers in the National Diabetes Prevention Programme.

Second Nature was more than twice as effective at supporting weight loss than the other four providers.

Second Nature Weight Loss NHS

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