GLP-1 - How To Guide
What is a GLP-1?
Glucagon-like Peptide 1 is an agonist that has been used in helping patients with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar for many years. The FDA recently added an additional indication to the drug, allowing it to help patients battling chronic weight management.
At Stonegate Pharmacy, we compound GLP-1s as a subcutaneous injectable and as a sublingual rapid dissolving tablet.
What is the dosage?
Both dosage forms are dosed once weekly. This means that you will only be administering the medication one day a week. It does not matter what time of day you administer the medication and you can take it with or without food.
If you are taking a GLP-1 for the first time, you will be instructed to begin with a titration as directed by your provider. This means that you will start with a small dose and gradually increase. Since the injection supplies that we supply are measured in units, please pay close attention to how many units you are supposed to inject each week. For many of you, this titration will last 90 days and your dose will slowly increase every 4 weeks. Please keep in mind that the amount of drug that you draw up in the syringe will appear very small when you are first starting. Titrating this medication helps to reduce gastrointestinal side effects mentioned in the side effects section of this recording. Do not use higher doses than outlined on your prescription label. This prescription label with your specific instructions from your physician are located on the brown bag containing the vial of medication.
What are the side effects?
The most common side effects include gastrointestinal related symptoms such as abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. These side effects may be more common after initiation (especially if using a higher dose than prescribed) and during dose escalation.
Extreme sensitivity reactions such as rash, trouble breathing, swelling of the mouth, face, or throat should be reported to your pharmacist and physician. Low blood sugar can occur and is marked by signs of dizziness, headache, feeling sleepy or weak, shaking, fast heartbeat, confusion, hunger, change in eyesight, or sweating. Discontinue use of the medication should these reactions occur.
Drug interactions, contraindications and more side effects are listed on our complimentary patient information guide that we provide to you when we first dispense your medication.
How do you store GLP-1s?
Both the injectable and the sublingual rapid dissolving tablet dosage forms will need to be kept in the fridge. If you have opted to get your medication delivered, we will be sending it to you in an insulated package along with several ice packs. You are not required to sign for the medication, but it is recommended that you be home to receive your medication on the day that it is to be delivered. Once you receive your medication, please place it in your refrigerator.
If you would like to get your tracking information texted to you, please text our pharmacy at 512-707-2300.
How do you obtain a refill?
For refills, you will receive a text message from our pharmacy informing you that you are almost due for a refill. Please respond to us via text if you are interested in having us contact your provider for more refills. It may take several business days before your provider is able to issue additional refills. Often times, your provider will request for you to make an appointment with them so that they can follow up with you prior to increasing your dose or providing more refills. Any dose increase will be discussed with your provider and will be dependent on your weight loss goals and how you are tolerating the medication.
How do you administer the injectable?
If you are taking the subcutaneous injection, we will provide the injection supplies you will need for each fill. Because the medication is dispensed in a sterile vial, you will need to draw up the medication from the vial with the injection supplies we give you for each weekly injection.
We recommend injecting your weekly dose into your abdomen, at least one inch away from your naval. Rotate injection sites each week. The injection supplies that we will provide are 31G 5/16” long insulin syringes that are measured in units. You will notice that the instructions for the medication will provide specific instructions on how many units you are to inject each week. These instructions are located on the label that is affixed to the brown bag holding the medication vial.
Each insulin syringe is safe to use for one injection. Do not use the same syringe for multiple injections. Dispose of your used syringe into a stiff/hard plastic resealable container, such as a detergent container.
A detailed visual aid on how to draw up the medication from the vial and how to inject a subcutaneous injection is provided to you in your patient information guide upon your first fill.