Are there any side effects of this treatment?
Oral semaglutide is approved in the UK for treating type 2 diabetes. Most people treated with oral semaglutide do not have any side effects, but about one in ten people who take the tablets experience nausea (feeling sick), vomiting or diarrhoea. If severe, these symptoms can lead to dehydration. These problems usually happen soon after starting the medication or when the dose is increased and they go away with time. Most people who develop these symptoms manage to continue taking oral semaglutide.
If you do feel sick or develop diarrhoea, small changes to your diet can help, for example stopping eating as soon as you start to feel full, and cutting down on fatty foods. We have produced a list of tips to help with side-effects. You can also contact the ASCEND PLUS team.
If you join the study, the study treatment may rapidly improve your blood sugar control. Good blood sugar control helps to protect against eye disease caused by diabetes in the longer term, but fast improvements in blood sugar control may lead to a temporary worsening of diabetic eye disease in some patients. It is therefore important to attend your NHS retinal screening appointments as part of your regular diabetes treatment.
Women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, should not take part in the trial because oral semaglutide is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
If you also take insulin, gliclazide or another ‘sulphonylurea’ tablet then you might experience hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar or a ‘hypo’) when you start taking oral semaglutide. ‘Sulphonylurea’ tablets include:
- Gliclazide (Diamicron®, Dacadis®, Vamju®, Ziclaseg® or Zicron®),
- Glipizide (Minodiab®),
- Glimepiride (Amaryl®),
- Glibenclamide (Amglidia®)
- Tolbutamide (Orinase®).
If you already monitor your blood sugar levels at home, you should continue to do this regularly. This is particularly important for the first few months after starting the study medication.
If you experience unexpected symptoms after joining the study you can contact a study nurse or doctor.