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Weight Loss Injections

Shed Pounds with Precision: The Effectiveness of Weight Loss Injections

Up to 11.3% of America’s population is currently a victim of diabetes 2 with 38% slowly following suit with their impending struggle with prediabetes. Over 70% of America’s population is on the far end of the scale – what’s more unbelievable is the fact that almost half of the world may get overweight by 2035, owing gratitude to junk food and its neverending assortment of calories. 

With obesity climbing its way up the ladder of culprits responsible for heart diseases, this called for a new wave of revolution in the drug industry to manage the illness once and for all. In 2021, we saw a new hope for people battling obesity with chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes 2 when the FDA approved Wegovy – the first weight loss injection of its kind since 2014. 

Weight loss medications such as Ozempic, have previously been approved by the FDA, and have been in the market since 2017 – but are weight loss shots more reliant? Are they for everyone to use? Do they even help you with weight and maintain weight in the long run?

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What is a Weight Loss Injection?

Semaglutide, a GLP-1 agonist, found its way as the first FDA-approved drug to be used as a weight loss injection in people who are either chronically overweight (BMI >27 kg/m2) or morbidly obese (BMI of 35 kg/m2) with or having risk to the development of a chronic health condition such as diabetes Type 2, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol). 

How Do Weight Loss Injections Work in Your Body?

You might have heard of Insulin, the naturally-occurring blood sugar hormone which helps to regulate blood sugar by patrolling the body vigilantly. A lesser known fact is that insulin has a sidekick on the watch, which is none other than Glucagon-like Peptide-1, another hormone released by your gut that triggers insulin secretion the moment your body sniffs glucose entering your system. 

In simple words, GLP-1 helps your brain to regulate your food intake by reducing your appetite and promoting satiety in such a way that food leaves your stomach very gradually, keeping you full for a long time. GLP-1 analogues have been recommended as initial and first-line therapies in people who have diabetes 2 along with other chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and chronic kidney disease for a very long time. 

Due to its remarkable hunger and appetite modulation, semaglutide tends to promote weight loss in addition to keeping blood sugar low to a minimum. 

What is The Best Injection For Weight Loss in 2023?

A daily sturdy exercise routine as well as important healthy lifestyle and dietary modifications are necessary for backing and sustaining the effects of weight loss injections in the body. 

However, which weight loss injection should you go for?
While this question should be rightfully addressed at your next GP appointment, let us try to make this decision a bit easier for you below.


Ozempic (Semaglutide) 

Ozempic was the first semaglutide injection to be approved by FDA as a blood sugar lowering agent in people with Type 2 Diabetes and risks of acquiring cardiovascular diseases in 2017. According to the American Diabetes Association, it is important for diabetics to aim for a A1C less than 7%, which Ozempic, as per trials, succeeded to showcase if used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise.

Low-dose Ozempic (0.25 to 1 mg) comes readily in the form of a pen that can be injected once every week at the same time every time or as advised by the GP. While Ozempic is approved for people with Type 2 Diabetes, your GP may prescribe it on an off-label basis for weight loss as well.


Wegovy (Semaglutide) 

Approved by the FDA as a weight loss injection in 2021 and by NICE this year in the UK, Wegovy has been the only ray of hope to battle the weight gained during the pandemic. Wegovy – also semaglutide – was approved as a high-dose (2.4mg) weight loss injection for people struggling with weight gain, high blood sugar, and other health conditions. 

Wegovy has shown remarkable success in placebo-controlled clinical trials. The largest clinical trial backed Wegovy as a potent weight loss drug by successfully helping people lose over 15% of their initial body weight with exercise and a calorie-deficit in 68 weeks as compared to those who received a placebo 

Available as a one-use injectable in a pen, Wegovy has been approved for people aged >12 years of age who are either obese, overweight and are struggling to lose weight. While its dosing is to be decided by the GP, it is recommended to gradually increase the dose over a period of 16 to 20 weeks to gauge for results and potential side effects such as acidity, nausea, bloating, dizziness, tiredness, stomach pain, or headache.


Mounjaro (Tirzepatide) 

Similar to Ozempic, Mounjaro too, is recommended for people suffering from Type 2 Diabetes and not solely as a weight loss drug. While Wegovy is declared safe for use in adolescents as well, it is not known if Mounjaro will be safe and effective for people aged less than 18. Mounjaro spans from doses of 5 mg to 15 mg which can be further discussed with a reliable healthcare practitioner. 

What Are The Safety Procedures You Should Take Before Using Any 

Weight Loss Injections?

  • Whether it is Ozempic, Wegovy, or Mounjaro, a consultation with your GP to ensure you are safe to use weight loss injections weekly.
  • It is mandatory to tell your GP of any medical conditions you may have. Weight loss injections are made up of blood sugar-lowering agents which means if used with other anti-diabetic drugs, can lower your blood glucose levels extremely and therefore, cause you to collapse. 
  • As with Wegovy and Ozempic, it is advisable to discuss whether you can use these weight loss injections with other medications – herbal or OTC – or conditions such as pancreatitis or other diabetic complications.
  • Weight loss injections may pose a threat to the development of thyroid cancer, so it is recommended to tell your healthcare practitioner of any lumps or swellings in the neck and if you have a history of any type of thyroid cancer in your family.
  • Wegovy is prohibited for use in pregnancy, but more is to be said about its use in breastfeeding. Discuss with your GP in cases where you are unsure of pursuing the dose or not. 

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Does Insurance Cover Weight Loss Injections?

While this may vary from one insurance provider to the other, compounded (mixed) drug regimens or medications that are sold on an off-label basis are not covered by insurance. 

While Wegovy is approved by the FDA selectively for weight loss, you would need to check this with your insurance provider to confirm if yours will be covered by insurance or not. A weight loss injection may range from $80 to $95 a shot (lowest dose) which if titrated and jabbed weekly, can take the costs to around $1000-1500 a month.

Disclaimer
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

 

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Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 06/05/2023

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  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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