Liraglutide for Weight Loss
Since 1975, obesity has grown into one of the most common threats to overall health in the United States. Studies have found that people who are overweight are at a much higher risk of reducing their mortality, as obesity is closely associated with an increased rate of disease and severe health conditions such as musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and specific cancers. As a result, researchers have determined that obesity is one of the most prevalent causes of death for nearly 500,00 Americans each year. According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 1.9 million adults who are overweight around the world, with over 650 million people dealing with obesity.
To help overweight patients reduce and manage their weight, many physicians encourage their patients to increase their physical activity and change their eating habits. However, although this may seem like an easy fix for some people, many still struggle with weight management despite committing to rigorous exercise and dietary regimens. Because of these particular cases, researchers have concluded that a lack of exercise and a balanced diet may not be the only causes of obesity. Stress, environmental factors, poor sleep quality, and hormone imbalance can also play a major role in how the body breaks down and metabolizes the foods we eat. In many instances, a person’s genetic makeup has also been found to dictate how their body manages their weight gain, making it difficult for them to lose weight when the body is predisposed to work against them. For many people who are overweight people due to their genetics, getting rid of their excess body fat is a daunting and frustrating task that feels almost impossible, even with a good diet and regular exercise.
As we’ve entered the modern age, advancements in medicine have produced weight loss treatments that alter how a person’s body processes food and calorie intake. Over the last few years, prescription weight loss drugs such as Wegovy have served as an effective medicated treatment for overweight and obese adults when combined with increased physical activity and certain dietary changes. These types of medications are typically administered through weekly or daily injections and work on a biological level to change a person’s digestive processes to help stimulate and maintain weight loss.
From these medications, a new weight loss drug–Liraglutide–has resurfaced on the market with promising potential for overweight and obese people unable to manage their weight on their own. The FDA first approved Liraglutide as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes in 2010 under the name Victoza before later approving the medication for weight loss in 2014 as Saxenda. Since then, the medication has helped many promote reasonable weight loss in people with obesity and other weight-related health conditions. Now making a comeback in 2023, more patients have begun to look to Liraglutide as a viable option for weight loss treatment. But before you start using Liraglutide for weight loss, you must understand how the medication works so you can make an informative decision as to whether Liraglutide will be a good weight loss treatment option for you.
What Are Liraglutide Injections Used For?
Liraglutide injections can be used to treat several types of medical conditions. It is prescribed to patients with Type 2 diabetes to help control blood sugar when exercise and diet are insufficient to manage a diabetic’s glucose levels. The medication can also be used to help reduce the risk of heart and blood vessel complications such as heart attacks and strokes in patients with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and blood vessel disease. Combined with regular exercise and a reduced-calorie diet, Liraglutide can also help patients struggling with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes lose weight and prevent further weight gain.
What Is the Mechanism of Action of Liraglutide?
Liraglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that increases intracellular cyclic AMP (an intracellular messenger for various hormones and neurotransmitters), which promotes the release of insulin when glucose levels are too elevated. The secretion of insulin helps decrease blood glucose levels, which in turn, helps to slow down gastric emptying and digestion. As a result, patients are able to eat less and feel more satisfied after administering a Liraglutide injection.
What Is the Difference Between Semaglutide and Liraglutide?
If you’re a patient struggling with weight management, you’ve probably heard of another GLP-1 receptor medication that is commonly used for weight loss treatment, Semaglutide. At times, patients may confuse Semaglutide and Liraglutide as they share striking similarities. But although Liraglutide and Semaglutide are both GLP-1 receptor agonists that are used to stimulate weight loss, they actually have a few differences.
First, despite the fact that both medications use GLP-1 analogues that mimic the GLP-1 hormone produced by the body, Semaglutide has a longer half-life (165 hours) than Liraglutide (13 to 15 hours). Since Semaglutide has a longer duration of action, patients only need to administer the medication once a week for treatment to be effective. Naturally, because Liraglutide has a much shorter life span, the medication will need to be injected once a day to remain effective.
How To Take and Typical Dosing
Before administering a liraglutide injection for weight loss, you will first need to learn how to use the medication properly. Since liraglutide helps to lower blood sugar, it is recommended that you check your glucose levels before and after meals (and even at bedtime) while using Liraglutide to ensure that they don’t drop extremely low.
Liraglutide is usually administered as a daily injection or shot under the skin of your thighs, upper arm, or stomach. During the week, you will need to keep track of where you administer each shot and use a different body area each time to avoid redness and skin irritation at the injection site.
If you’re a person who takes insulin for Type 2 diabetes, you will need to avoid taking Liraglutide at the same time as your insulin shot. That also means that you shouldn’t attempt to mix the two medications in the same syringe. Although you can administer both medications on the same injection site, you should not take the respective doses next to each other. Instead, allow a few moments between shots and find injection sites within a reasonable distance of each other to avoid any potential complications.
Typically, Liraglutide is taken once a day. However, the dosage of Liraglutide injections will differ depending on the patient and the nature of each case. This will include the dosage strength of each injection, the number of doses taken each day, and the time needed to treat your condition, which your physician will determine. To help with weight loss, doctors will typically start patients off with a 0.6 mg dosage during the first week to allow the body to adjust to the medication’s side effects before gradually increasing the dose by 3 mg in the following weeks.
If you miss your regular dose, try to take it as soon as you remember. If the time frame is too close to your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and proceed with your next dose at the scheduled time to avoid double dosing. If it’s been three days since your last dose, consult with your physician about restarting your treatment process with the low dose to lower the chance of experiencing side effects.
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What Side Effects Can This Medication Cause?
Since Liraglutide affects your digestive system, it can cause various side effects regarding the stomach. At the start of treatment, many patients may experience gas, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or heartburn after the first weeks of using Liraglutide. Other side effects that you may experience also include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and mood disorders such as depression. Normally, many of these side effects are minor when they occur and will begin to subside as you continue to use Liraglutide for weight loss.
In most cases, patients who use Liraglutide rarely experience serious side effects. However, depending on your medical history, Liraglutide can exacerbate specific pre-existing medical conditions, such as:
- Gallbladder disease
- Kidney complications
- Liver disease
- Thyroid cancer
- High cholesterol
In certain cases, patients who suffer from depression may experience suicidal thoughts while taking Liraglutide. The medication may also contain certain ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction in some patients. Since Liraglutide works to inhibit your blood glucose levels, certain patients may experience symptoms of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar as a result of treatment. Patients with thyroid cancer may need to avoid using Liraglutide as the medication can also increase the risk of thyroid tumors.
Women who use Liraglutide as a weight loss treatment should also stop taking the medication while they are pregnant or breastfeeding. Proceeding to use Liraglutide during pregnancy may harm the unborn baby while inside the fetus. The weight loss medication may also pass into breast milk during breastfeeding and adversely affect the newborn. If you believe that you might be pregnant, make sure to consult with your healthcare professional immediately about discontinuing Liraglutide until it’s safe to resume treatment.
It is imperative that you disclose your medical history, any allergies you may have, and medications or other products that you take with your physician before starting Liraglutide treatment. Armed with that information, your doctor will more than likely continue to monitor your blood sugar levels and will adjust your medication regimen if needed. If you’re a patient with a pre-existing condition that can become seriously affected by Liraglutide, your physician may recommend that you avoid using the treatment and instead offer other alternatives, such as Semaglutide, to help you achieve weight loss.
How Much Weight Can You Lose With Liraglutide?
Since every patient’s physiology is different, the weight loss results from Liraglutide will vary depending on your prescribed dosage levels, your body’s response to treatment, and the exercise or dietary program you’ve followed while taking the medication.
At Slim Weight Loss Clinic, we specialize in weight loss treatment for people struggling with weight management and obesity. Our team of physicians and wellness experts combines effective weight-loss medications and dietary plans to help you achieve your weight-loss goals. Contact us at 1-866-755-0594 and schedule a consultation with one of our physicians to find out how our weight loss programs can help you to change your weight loss goals.
Can you just stop taking Liraglutide?
Liraglutide is not an addictive medication, so it is possible to discontinue treatment without experiencing withdrawal. However, once you stop taking Liraglutide, you will regain any weight that you have lost. Since Liraglutide affects the digestive system, abruptly ceasing the medication may also lead to nausea or feelings of sickness. As a precaution, it’s important that you consult with your physician before discontinuing Liraglutide treatments.
Can you take Liraglutide and Metformin together?
Yes, you can. In fact, studies show using Liraglutide and Metformin together as a form of weight loss treatment can actually improve weight loss and blood sugar regulation
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss your regularly scheduled dose of Liraglutide, you should try to take the dose as soon as you remember. However, if the missed dose is too close to your next scheduled dose, make sure to skip the missed dose and take your next dose as planned to avoid overdosing. If it’s been three days since your last dose, consult with your physician before resuming treatment.
What may interact with this medication?
Diabetes medications such as insulin and sulfonylureas, including glyburide, can interact with Liraglutide.
Should I follow special dietary instructions?
Yes. Liraglutide works best when combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet.
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