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How GLP-1 drug (semaglutide) promote weight loss

The search for effective and safe weight loss treatment seems never-ending. But the newest anti-obesity medication, semaglutide, is making waves.

Semaglutide is an injectable drug formulated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but it’s since become increasingly popular as a weight loss treatment. While the drug—commonly known by brand names such as Ozempic and Wegovy— helps reduce blood glucose to normal levels, it also slows the passage of food through the stomach. It also reduces appetite, often resulting in weight reduction.

Semaglutide belongs to a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, or GLP-1 RAs. It mimics the GLP-1 hormone, released in the gut in response to eating. The main role of GLP-1 is to prompt the pancreas to produce more insulin, which reduces blood sugar (glucose). For that reason, healthcare providers have used semaglutide for more than 15 years to treat Type 2 diabetes.

GLP-1 works by helping people to lose weight in 3 ways:

  • It targets the brain centers that regulate appetite, especially after eating, which may help you eat less.

  • It slows down how quickly the stomach empties, which makes you feel fuller for longer.

  • Semaglutide treatment is recommended for long-term use if it’s effective for you. With continued use, semaglutide has been shown in studies to help people lose weight and keep it off for over one year.

When used in conjunction with diet and exercise and a healthy lifestyle, it can cause significant weight loss — and a reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease — in people who are obese or overweight. No medication or supplement can counteract the effects of a bad diet. Regular exercise, good hydration, and high-quality sleep are other habits crucial for overall health and better weight loss results.

Common side effects of semaglutide include:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Constipation

  • Headaches

Strategies for reducing or managing side effects include a slow titration [which means adjusting the dose], adequate hydration and use of medication for symptom control as needed.

As for who is a good candidate for semaglutide, there are no official criteria. “Right now, we use BMI combined with other medical conditions to determine eligibility for a medication. These include anyone with a BMI of 30 or greater, or a BMI of at least 27 with another weight-associated medical condition such as high blood pressure. If interested in semaglutide, meet with one of our medical providers to be cleared.


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