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Canadian Med Center

What is Rybelsus? Uses, Dosages, Side Effects, and More

Wednesday 17 April 2024
5 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. What is Rybelsus?

II. How Does Rybelsus Work?

III. Rybelsus Dosages

IV. Rybelsus Side Effects

V. Rybelsus Boxed Warning

VI. Conclusion

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you likely have a lot of questions about treatment options. One medication that your doctor may have recommended is Rybelsus.

Rybelsus is an exciting new advancement for those living with type 2 diabetes. As the first oral semaglutide, Rybelsus provides an alternative to injections such as Ozempic and Wegovy.

This article will discuss what Rybelsus is, how it works, dosages, and safety.

What is Rybelsus?

Rybelsus contains the active ingredient semaglutide, which is also available as injectable Ozempic and Wegovy. This once-daily tablet provides the benefits of semaglutide in oral form. [1]

Semaglutide belongs to a class of diabetes drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. They work by mimicking the effects of GLP-1, a hormone our bodies naturally make to control blood sugar. [1]

By acting like GLP-1, Rybelsus helps lower blood sugar in a few key ways:

  • Increases insulin production so more sugar can be removed from the blood.
  • Reduces glucagon release, which limits sugar production by the liver.
  • Slows stomach emptying to promote the feeling of fullness. [1]

Together, these mechanisms improve overall glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes. Studies show that adding Rybelsus to diet and exercise can lower average blood glucose over 24 hours by up to 22%. [1]

The FDA approved Rybelsus in 2017 as an adjunct treatment for type 2 diabetes. When combined with lifestyle changes like healthy eating and physical activity, semaglutide tablets can be a beneficial addition to a diabetes treatment plan. [1]

How Does Rybelsus Work?

anatomy of digestive system overlayed on a person

Rybelsus contains semaglutide, the same active ingredient as Wegovy and Ozempic. [1]

Semaglutide mimics the effects of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that is released naturally in the body after eating. The key difference is that semaglutide has been modified to act longer than natural GLP-1. [1]

When we eat, GLP-1 is normally released from the intestines to help maintain healthy blood sugar in three main ways:

  1. It stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin when blood sugar is high. This allows cells to absorb excess glucose from the bloodstream.
  1. It decreases the amount of glucose released by the liver between meals. In people with diabetes, this process can become dysregulated, leading to too much glucose release.
  1. It increases feelings of fullness and slows stomach emptying. This helps control portions and prevents blood sugar spikes after meals. [1]

Semaglutides contain a synthetic GLP-1 that is 94% similar to the natural hormone. By mimicking the effects of GLP-1, Rybelsus can help manage blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. [1]

Rybelsus Dosages

Rybelsus comes in an oral tablet that is available in three strengths: 3 mg, 7 mg, and 14 mg. [1]

When you start taking Rybelsus, your doctor will prescribe a small dose and gradually increase it until you reach the maintenance dose. This allows your body to adjust to the new medication. [2]

  • During the initial phase, you will be prescribed 3 mg once daily for a period of 30 days. It's important to note that this starting dose is meant as an introduction to Rybelsus and may not be strong enough to effectively control your blood sugar levels.
  • After the initial 30-day period, your dosage will be increased to 7 mg once daily. This dosage is designed to assist with glycemic control, although it may not provide sufficient control for everyone. 
  • If your doctor feels you need additional glycemic control after 30 days of 7 mg once daily, they will increase your dosage to a maximum of 14 mg once daily. [2]

Rybelsus Side Effects

woman with abdominal pain

Rybelsus, like any medication, may cause side effects. It's important to be aware of the potential symptoms and discuss any concerns with your doctor.

The most common side effects seen in clinical trials were experienced by less than 5% of participants. These issues were generally mild and tended to resolve over time. [1] Common side effects included:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation [1]

However, long-term use of Rybelsus may increase your risk for more serious side effects. These include:

If you have a history of any of these conditions, your healthcare provider will monitor you closely during treatment.

Rybelsus Boxed Warning

One of the most serious cautions the FDA can assign to prescription medication is an FDA Boxed Warning, also known as a "black box warning." This warning is prominently displayed on a drug's label and package insert and serves as a reminder to patients and doctors of the potential severe side effects of the medication. [3]

It's important to understand that these warnings are not meant to discourage medication use but rather to ensure that patients have all the necessary information to make an informed decision. [3]

Rybelsus contains an FDA-boxed warning that highlights the potential risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. Research conducted on animals has shown that the active ingredient in Rybelsus (semaglutide) may increase the chances of thyroid C-cell tumors. It's important to note that the risk of humans developing these tumors due to Rybelsus is not fully understood. [1]

Based on the available research, the FDA recommends that individuals with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) should not use Rybelsus. [1]


Rybelsus is an exciting new semaglutide option for type 2 diabetes. By providing the benefits of a GLP-1 receptor agonist in a pill, Rybelsus offers more flexibility and convenience compared to injectable options.

However, as with any prescription, It is important to stay informed about the medication you’re taking. Our Rybelsus blog provides helpful information about how it works, dosing, benefits, safety, and more. 

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.