Canada Pharmacy Depot

Understanding the Label: Precautions before taking Rybelsus

Thursday 14 September 2023
4 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. What is an FDA Boxed Warning?

II. Why does Rybelsus have a Boxed Warning?

III. Does Rybelsus have Drug Interactions?

IV. How to Safely Take Rybelsus

V. Final Notes

Whether you are currently taking Rybelsus or considering it as a treatment option for type 2 diabetes, it’s crucial to understand how to take this medication safely so you can experience its full benefits while minimizing potential risks.

In this article, we'll provide you with essential information on the safe use of Rybelsus and highlight any important warnings you should be aware of.

What is an FDA Boxed Warning?

An FDA Boxed Warning (sometimes called a "black box warning") is the strongest caution the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may assign for a prescription medication. The warning is clearly shown on a drug's label and package insert. [1]

The boxed warning usually applies to the class of drugs the medication belongs to. This is because there are typically many medications in the same drug group, and the risk is due to how the drugs work and affect the body.  [1]

These warnings don’t mean you shouldn’t take the drug. Instead, they serve as a reminder to consumers and physicians of the potential severe side effects of the medication. Whether or not the medication is prescribed depends on the physician’s judgment and your situation. [1]

a woman wondering what an FDA boxed warning is

Why does Rybelsus have a Boxed Warning?

Research on animals has shown that the active ingredient in Rybelsus (semaglutide) may increase the chances of thyroid C-cell tumors. [2]

It's important to note that the risk of humans developing thyroid C-cell tumors due to Rybelsus is not fully understood. However, based on the research available, the FDA states that Rybelsus shouldn't be used by individuals with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). [2]

Does Rybelsus have Drug Interactions?

Yes, like many medications, Rybelsus may interact with other drugs.

When taking any prescription drug, it’s vital to inform your doctor of any other medications you are taking. This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and herbal remedies. Once your physician has this information, they can work with you to ensure your medications lead to optimal results without unwanted side effects.

Rybelsus has two drug interactions you should be aware of.

First, since Rybelsus delays emptying of your stomach, it may affect the performance of other oral medications you're taking. In this case, your physician may remind you to follow the instructions for Rybelsus dosing closely: take Rybelsus on an empty stomach and wait 30 minutes before consuming food, water, and any other medication. [2]

Secondly, if you’re taking insulin, adding Rybelsus to your medications can increase the risk of low blood sugar. Your doctor may decrease your insulin dosage or suggest an alternative to Rybelsus for your treatment plan. [2]

a doctor comforting her patient

How to Safely Take Rybelsus

To make sure you're using Rybelsus safely, it's important to take your prescribed dosage and carefully follow your doctor’s instructions. Here are some precautions to keep in mind:

1. Follow Dosage Instructions: Take Rybelsus exactly as your healthcare provider prescribes. Do not alter the dosage without consulting them.

2. Do Not Crush or Chew Rybelsus Tablets: Rybelsus tablets should be taken whole. Crushing or chewing the medication can alter its absorption and lead to an overdose or an ineffective dose. [3]

3. Communication Is Key: Openly communicate with your healthcare provider about any side effects or concerns you might have while taking Rybelsus.

4. Follow the Dosing Instructions: Ensure to take Rybelsus on an empty stomach and wait 30 minutes before eating, drinking, or consuming other medications. This will ensure your body properly absorbs Rybelsus and can experience the full benefits. [2]

5. Let Your Doctor Know If You’re Planning on Becoming Pregnant, Currently Pregnant, Or Breastfeeding: There is limited research on the effect of Rybelsus on human pregnancy. However, research conducted on animals has shown that Rybelsus may affect fetal development. It's important to have an open conversation with your doctor so you can work together on a safe treatment plan for the developing baby while still being effective for your situation. [2]

6. Inform Your Doctor If You Have a Personal or Family History of Thyroid Cancer or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome Type 2 (MEN 2): Due to the risk of semaglutide (the active ingredient in Rybelsus) causing thyroid C-cell tumors, the FDA has stated that Rybelsus should not be taken if you fall in this category. [2]

Final Notes

Rybelsus offers a potential solution for managing type 2 diabetes, but, like any medication, it comes with precautions that patients should be aware of. The FDA Boxed Warning reminds consumers and physicians of the potential risk of thyroid C-cell tumors.

You can take the necessary precautions for safe treatment by understanding the black box label, being mindful of potential drug interactions, and adhering to safety guidelines.

At Canada Pharmacy Depot, we want to ensure you receive safe and effective treatment. Contact our team of knowledgeable pharmacists if you have any questions.

If you’re ready to purchase Rybelsus, visit the medication page for more information. 

The content provided in this article is based on thorough research and in some cases, reviewed by a medical professional. Our goal for the information is to provide helpful, general health informational. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.