The Importance of Proper Medical Testing Before and During Semaglutide Treatment

  • August 18, 2023

Although Semaglutide has become known as an effective weight loss drug that has made an impact on obesity treatment, it was initially used for the management of type 2 diabetes. As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, semaglutide mimics metabolic hormone GLP-1. This increases insulin secretion and blood sugar disposal, making it a helpful tool for diabetes management. In recent years, semaglutide has not only been heralded as a tool for weight loss in obese patients but as a method for improving overall health and wellness—and even reducing the likelihood of type 2 diabetes development in patients who are at risk.

As a highly effective weight reduction drug, patients everywhere seek semaglutide treatment. To maximize the effects of semaglutide, it’s necessary to adapt treatment with individualized data on your patient’s wellness. Before, during, and at the conclusion of semaglutide treatment, consistent testing is key. 

Establishing a Baseline 

As with any treatment, it’s vital to begin with a baseline of your patient’s general wellness. Many patients starting semaglutide may have prediabetes, a fatty liver, elevated A1C, and fasting insulin levels. Making a note of these factors at the beginning of treatment allows you to analyze the effectiveness of semaglutide for each patient properly. Additionally, tracking metabolic health and thyroid hormone levels is important to ensure that your patients are optimizing their weight loss plan. 

Tracking Efficacy of Semaglutide Treatment

As well as establishing a baseline, testing provides in-depth, updated information about your patients at a molecular level. Since semaglutide treatment typically lasts for several months, testing at regular intervals allows you to update treatment as necessary.

You’re also better able to track the short- and long-term effects of semaglutide on your patients. Some patients may be “non-responsive” to semaglutide treatment. In one trial involving 1,961 adults without type 1 or type 2 diabetes, 7.6% lost less than 5% of the baseline weight after 68 weeks of semaglutide treatment. By testing throughout the treatment, you can ensure the efficacy of the treatment early on. 

Since semaglutide treatment may impact each user at a different level, Access Medical Labs’ offers a semaglutide panel that is designed to monitor the overall health of your patient before, during and after treatment. Consistent testing with our markers gives you a unique insight into the mechanisms of weight loss and the value of semaglutide for your patient. 

Heart Health

According to various studies, Semaglutide treatment has been closely linked with improvement in heart health.  In those with Type 2 diabetes, semaglutide was shown to reduce cardiovascular risk, both for those that were high-risk and low-risk for CVD. It’s also shown remarkable promise for those without Type 2 diabetes. As obesity remains a major risk factor for CVD, sustained weight loss has become a major goal to promote wellness in overweight patients. In one trial, HFD-induced obese mice were given semaglutide for twelve weeks. The mice experienced a decrease in both plasma lipids and plasma lipoprotein levels, as well as a reduction in blood glucose concentrations. This evidence indicates that semaglutide shows promise for promoting heart health and wellness. 

Access Medical Labs’ semaglutide panel includes our expanded lipid panel alongside a complete blood count, allowing you to monitor the effects of semaglutide on your patients’ heart health throughout treatment. 

Insulin Levels

As a treatment for those with type 2 diabetes, semaglutide significantly affects insulin production. For patients without type 2 diabetes, once-weekly semaglutide reduced the 10-year risk of type-2 diabetes by around 60%, regardless of initial glycemic status.

Access Medical Labs’ semaglutide panel measures hemoglobin A1C as well as fasting insulin levels. With these additional markers, you can proactively measure the effects of semaglutide on your patients’ insulin and blood sugar levels. For prediabetic patients, this information is particularly valuable. 

Thyroid Health

Though semaglutide does not affect resting metabolism, it works to manage hunger by reducing appetite, limiting cravings, and increasing lipid metabolism. Monitoring thyroid health during semaglutide treatment is vital to ensuring treatment is as effective as possible. During semaglutide treatment, boosting thyroid health to maximize results is important. Additional holistic approaches to increase positive thyroid activity are recommended, particularly if your patient shows poor thyroid performance. 

Access Medical Lab’s semaglutide panel includes thyroid-stimulating hormone, triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroxine (T4), to give you insight to your patients’ thyroid production. Throughout semaglutide treatment, checking these markers allows you to implement additional treatments as necessary.

Implementing Lifestyle Changes

As with many obesity and weight treatments, semaglutide works in conjunction with certain lifestyle changes. Along with weekly subcutaneous injections, patients are encouraged to stop eating when full, manage a healthy diet, and exercise at least 150 minutes every week. While semaglutide is known for contribution  to weight loss, these habits remain vital. Consistent testing allows you to monitor the efficacy of lifestyle changes and to make a personalized plan that fits the independent metabolic needs of your patient.

Developing Long-Term Weight Management Plans 

At the conclusion of semaglutide treatment, a final test will help you evaluate progress and plan for the future. For long-term benefits, develop a concise health and wellness plan after discontinuing semaglutide to keep your patients at a healthy weight. In a continuation of the landmark STEP 1 trial, patients were reviewed a year after stopping semaglutide treatment. On semaglutide, the mean weight loss for the 1,961 adults was 17.3% after 68 weeks of semaglutide treatment. After only 52 weeks without semaglutide, patients had regained two-thirds of their lost weight. At the end of treatment, consider assessing the accumulated information. Isolate the lifestyle changes and supplements that maximized the effects of semaglutide, and consider any additional factors as you develop a plan for lifelong wellness. 

Semaglutide Testing with Access Medical Labs

Semaglutide testing with Access Medical Labs provides the most relevant information you and your patients need before, during, and at the conclusion of semaglutide treatment. Our markers include: 

  • Hemoglobin A1C levels
  • TSH
  • T3
  • T4
  • Vitamin B12
  • Fasting insulin
  • CBC
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Amylase
  • Lipase
  • Lipid Panel

Together, these markers provide the optimum data to inform your patient care. With industry-leading turnaround time, our semaglutide panel is ideal for regular testing before, during and post treatment.