Glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists, otherwise know as GLP-1s, have gained a lot of attention lately. Not only are they increasingly being prescribed for the treatment of Type II diabetes, but they have also recently gained a lot of popularity in the world of obesity treatment and long-term weight management.
These medications are given as an injection, either daily or once a week. They work by mimicking the action of the hormone, glucagon-like peptide 1, that is produced and secreted from the L cells found in the distal ileum. The effect of this hormone is multi-faceted, but used as a tool for weight toss, its main mechanisms of action are:
- Sending a signal to the brain that satiety has been reached, which then reduces the hunger signal and can heip lead to overall reduced food intake.
- GLP-1 also slows down the passing of food through the stomach, which can lead to the sensation of fullness that lasts for a longer period of time.
What are the GLP-1 medication options currently available on the market?
There are a few GLP-1s being marketed exclusively as anti-obesity medications.
- Liraglutide, brand name Saxenda®, which comes in multiple doses and is administered once a day as an injection,
- Semaglutide, brand name Wegovy©, also an injection also but administered weekly.
Both medications come in multiple dosing options but are always started at the lowest dose and then titrated up as needed.
As noted above, GLP-1s are also a powerful tool in diabetes management. The GLP-1s that were originally marketed as a diabetes treatment include semaglutide, brand name Ozempic®, liraglutide, brand name Victoza®, dulaglutide, brand name Trulicity©, and the latest GLP-1 to the market, tirzepitide, brand name Mounjaro©, which is a combination GIP/GLP-1. These GLP-1s can also safely be used “off label” for weight loss. They often cost less than their weight loss counterparts and can be just as effective in assisting with weight loss and long-term weight management. In conjunction with a reduced calorie diet and exercise, any of these GLP-1s can serve as a powerful tool to help you achieve your weight loss goals.