BHealthy Blog

Bariatric Surgeon Talks Trendy Weight Loss Shots

Semaglutide has rapidly gained popularity among those wanting to kickstart their weight loss. Everyone from celebrities to likely someone you know has taken one of the well-known injections currently on the market. But you may be wondering if it’s worth the hype. Dr. Eric Paul, a bariatric surgeon at Baptist Health, answers our questions on the trendy weight-loss wonder. 

What is a Semiglutide Injection? 

Semaglutide belongs to a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. It mimics the GLP-1 hormone that is released in the gastrointestinal tract in response to eating. One role of GLP-1 is to prompt the body to produce more insulin, which reduces blood glucose (sugar), according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA approved one form of semaglutide for chronic weight management in 2021. 

Will I Lose Weight? 

Semaglutide works like a hormone in the body. It helps the pancreas produce more insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels and reduces cravings. Semaglutide also slows down digestion, making you feel full for longer and preventing overeating, which helps you lose weight.

Semaglutides — better known by the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy — have been shown to help people lose about 15% of their body weight, but diet will be key to ensure a healthy weight loss. Semaglutides can begin to kick in within the first week. People often notice changes in their appetite and weight during the first few weeks of use. Most weight loss will typically occur within the first 4 to 5 months.

Research has shown that people who stop taking these medications will likely regain a significant amount of weight, however.

What are the Side Effects? 

Semaglutide affects everyone differently. Some patients report serious conditions such as pancreatitis, gall bladder and kidney problems as well as: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry skin and increased appearance of aging

Does My Insurance Cover It? 

Some of these medications are FDA-approved for weight loss, and some are not, so the cost varies depending on your insurance. For example, Ozempic is FDA-approved for diabetes but not for weight loss and Wegovy is approved for weight loss but not diabetes. If you pay out-of-pocket, a month’s supply can cost hundreds of dollars. 

What Else Can I Do to Lose Weight and Keep it Off? 

Baptist Health Bariatric Center helps patients reach their health goals by giving them the tools needed for sustainable weight loss. Those tools include Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass or Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy, nutrition and fitness education and a support network of fellow patients and experienced clinic staff. 

Benefits of bariatric surgery include a healthier blood pressure, better sleep, and overall better health. It can also help patients with diabetes better manage their condition. 

Patients who are extremely obese, as well as those who have a lesser degree of obesity coupled with sleep apnea, heart disease, poorly controlled diabetes and unmanageable hypertension may be candidates for bariatric surgery. Talk to your doctor about your options for achievable and sustainable weight loss or start your journey today at or call (501) 227-9080.