Rybelsus is a commonly-prescribed medication used to help treat blood sugar and A1C levels in people with type 2 diabetes. 

While it is not FDA-approved as a standalone weight loss medication, many people lose weight while taking Rybelsus.  

This article will explain everything you need to know about taking Rybelsus for weight loss. 

Image of person standing on a scale with a tape measure next to them.

What is Rybelsus?

Rybelsus is an oral glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist medication. 

Its active ingredient is semaglutide, similar to medications like Ozempic and Wegovy. It is taken daily. 

It is most effective when used in conjunction with diet and exercise. 

In its clinical trials, the average patient with an 8.3% A1C was able to lower it by between 1–1.3% when taking the medication, which is more effective than other oral diabetes medications. 

Can Rybelsus help you lose weight?

While Rybelus is not approved for weight loss, it helps many people lose weight. 

In the OASIS 1 trial, on average, people taking Rybelsus lost more than 17% of their body weight after 68 weeks. 

Additionally, 40% of study participants lost 20% or more of their body weight when compared to the placebo group. 

Other studies have shown that after one year, most people using Rybelsus lose about 10 pounds, even with metformin treatment already established.

A separate comparison between Rybelsus and liraglutide, such as Victoza, showed that Rybelsus was more successful in causing significant weight loss. 

How much weight can you lose on Rybelsus?

Rybelsus is not FDA-approved as a weight loss drug, so there is less data on how much weight people can lose. 

In the clinical trials, people who took the highest standard dose (14 mg) of Rybelsus lost an average of 4.4 kg (9.7 pounds) after 52 weeks. The placebo group only lost an average of 0.5 kg (1 pound).

While losing almost 10 pounds is significant, this happened over a year and on the highest recommended dose, making Rybelsus a less effective weight-loss drug than already FDA-approved alternatives.

How quickly can you lose weight on Rybelsus?

Taking Rybelsus for quick weight loss is not a good plan. Any weight loss that is sustainable will happen over time. 

Since Rybelsus suppresses appetite and improves insulin sensitivity, any weight loss you experience will be gradual, occurring over several months. 

Rybelsus will aid in proper weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and increased exercise. 

Talk with your doctor if you’re interested in healthy and sustainable ways to lose weight. 

What dose of Rybelsus should I take for weight loss? 

Since Rybelsus is not approved as a medication for weight loss, there is no official recommended dose for weight loss.

However, the medication is dose-responsive, meaning that the more you take, the more effective it will be on blood sugar, A1C levels, and weight loss. 

Keep in mind that the more you take, the higher the likelihood that you may experience more adverse side effects as well. 

The doses of Rybelsus are as follows: 

  • 3 mg daily for the initiation of treatment (however, this will not be effective for weight loss or glycemic control.) 
  • After 30 days on the 3 mg dose, patients may increase the dose to 7 mg once daily. 
  • The dose may be increased to 14 mg once daily if additional glycemic control is needed after at least 30 days on the 7 mg dose. 

Consult with your doctor first before increasing your dose. 

Can I take Rybelsus for weight loss if I don’t have diabetes?

Rybelsus is not approved as a weight loss drug for those without diabetes. 

Other alternatives, such as Wegovy and Saxenda, are GLP-1 receptor agonist medications that have been FDA-approved for weight loss for those without diabetes. 

However, your doctor may prescribe Rybelsus “off-label” for weight management if deemed medically appropriate—such as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher with at least one weight-related issue, such as hypertension

Never take any medications that you are not prescribed by your doctor, and never borrow another person’s prescription medications. 

When combined with a healthy diet and exercise, Rybelsus is most effective for weight loss. 

What are the side effects of Rybelsus?

The most common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation and other GI issues 
  • Weight loss 

More severe side effects include: 

  • Thyroid tumors, including cancerous tumors 
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Changes in vision/worsening of vision 
  • Kidney problems 
  • Hypoglycemia, especially if you’re on insulin therapy 
  • Serious allergic reactions

Seek medical attention immediately if you develop a fever, have changes to your vision, or are feeling weak or in pain after taking the medication. 

Call your doctor immediately if you develop an allergic reaction to Rybelsus. 

Who should not take Rybelsus?

You should only take Rybelsus if your doctor has prescribed it for you.

Rybelsus is not FDA-approved for people who do not have diabetes. 

However, your doctor may prescribe it for you if you’re struggling with insulin resistance and weight gain. 

Rybelsus is not recommended for people who are pregnant. If you are on Rybelsus and are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, you will have to stop the medication. 

Do not use Rybelsus if you or any of your family members have ever had medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or if you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). 

Do not use Rybelsus if you are allergic to semaglutide or any of the ingredients in Rybelsus. 

Tell your doctor all medications that you use before starting treatment with Rybelsus.

Can Rybelsus replace insulin?

No. Rybelsus cannot replace insulin

If you’ve recently been prescribed Rybelsus, do not stop taking your other diabetes medications as prescribed unless your doctor has specifically told you to. 

Rybelsus lowers blood sugars over time, but it does not cause acute low blood sugars in the way that insulin does. 

If you’re experiencing frequent low blood sugars while taking Rybelsus, this most likely means that your insulin sensitivity has increased and you’ll need to decrease your insulin dose. 

Talk with your doctor about adjusting your medication and/or insulin doses to help avoid frequent hypoglycemic events. 

Are Rybelsus and Ozempic the same? 

They are similar, but they are not the same. There are a few key differences between these medications.

Ozempic and Rybelsus both contain the same active ingredient: semaglutide. 

Both medications are FDA-approved to treat the blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. They are often prescribed off-label for weight loss and weight management.

The key difference is that Rybelsus is an oral medication (pill), and Ozempic only comes in injection form. 

Ozempic is also only taken once weekly, while Rybelsus is a daily pill.  

Rybelsus can be a suitable alternative for people who do not want to take injections. Ozempic is a great alternative if you have trouble swallowing pills.