Liraglutide for Weight Loss: How It Works and Its Benefits

March 26, 2024
Liraglutide injection

Liraglutide is a highly effective weight-loss medication that reduces hunger, increases satiety, and boosts insulin release. These liraglutide benefits, when combined with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise plan, can aid you in your weight-loss journey. Learn more about liraglutide for weight loss.

Weight loss can be difficult. Weight management is a complicated process in which your body uses complex feedback loops to keep your body weight at a predetermined set point, according to researchers who have investigated how your body maintains body weight.

While a low-calorie diet and regular exercise remain essential components of an effective weight-loss plan, for some people, lifestyle changes alone are insufficient. Liraglutide and other glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists may help you lose weight.

When taking liraglutide, there are risks and benefits, just like any other medication. It is also critical to understand that obesity is treated similarly to other chronic diseases, requiring a long-term commitment to a treatment plan.

What is Liraglutide?

Liraglutide, marketed under the brand name Saxenda, is a prescription weight-loss medication. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Saxenda, the brand name of liraglutide, to help people with type 2 diabetes or those who are overweight or have obesity lose weight when diet and exercise alone have not worked. Overweight and obesity are defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher (obesity) or 27 or higher (overweight) with a weight-related medical condition.

How Liraglutide for Weight Loss Works

The gastrointestinal tract’s L-cells secrete the incretin hormone GLP-1 in response to nutrients in the gut lumen. When you eat food, your body releases this hormone. GLP-1 has multiple effects on the body, including stimulating insulin secretion, reducing plasma glucagon concentrations, delaying gastric emptying, suppressing appetite, and increasing heart rate.1

Slowing stomach emptying and increasing satiety can help you feel full longer and be satisfied with less food, resulting in weight loss.

Besides weight loss, liraglutide also has other benefits. It can improve insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease risk factors. It can also help regulate blood sugar levels, making it particularly beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.

weight loss injections

Liraglutide Administration

Liraglutide is administered as a daily subcutaneous injection, which means it’s injected under the skin. The injection can be given in your stomach area, thigh, or upper arm. If you inject it in your stomach area, avoid the area within 2 inches of your belly button.

Change your injection site often to prevent skin irritation or hardening under the skin.

Liraglutide can be taken with or without food. Try to take your liraglutide dose at the same time each day.

Liraglutide dosage:

Week DosageInstructions
Week 1Inject 0.6 mg under the skin daily.If you do not tolerate a dosage increase, your doctor may suggest delaying the increase by a week. If you cannot tolerate the 3 mg dose, your doctor may advise that you stop taking liraglutide (16).  If you have not lost a minimum of 4% of your body weight after taking liraglutide, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it. Liraglutide for weight loss does not work for everyone. There are several classes of weight-loss medications available.
Week 2Inject 1.2 mg under the skin daily.
Week 3Inject 1.8 mg under the skin daily.
Week 4Inject 2.4 mg under the skin daily.
Weeks 5 and afterInject 3.0 mg under the skin daily.

A slow increase in liraglutide dose is necessary to minimize side effects. Slowly increasing your liraglutide dose allows your body to adjust to each dosage increase. If you have persistent side effects or your side effects are worsening, contact your doctor to determine whether a liraglutide dosage adjustment is needed.

It’s important to note that while taking Liraglutide for weight loss, you should also follow a reduced-calorie diet and engage in increased physical activity for the best results.

liraglutide for weight loss. "uncover the benefits"

Liraglutide Benefits

Liraglutide has the following weight-loss and other beneficial effects:.

Decreases

  • Blood sugar
  • Blood pressure
  • Hemoglobin A1C
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • Waist circumference (abdominal and organ fat)
  • Glucagon release
  • Appetite

Increases

  • HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Satiety after eating
  • Insulin release

The Efficacy of Liraglutide for Weight Loss

Several clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of Liraglutide in aiding weight loss. For example, in a study involving adults with obesity or overweight conditions, individuals with obesity and prediabetes who were taking liraglutide lost 7.4% of their body weight compared to people who were using lifestyle modifications alone and lost 3% of their body weight.2

About 60% of people taking liraglutide lost more than 5% of their body weight, and about 10% lost more than 10% of their body weight. In the placebo group, 34% of people lost more than 5% of their body weight, and 15% lost more than 10% of their body weight.2

These results were replicated in the SCALE Maintenance trial. In this trial, participants with overweight or obesity were required to lose at least 5% of their body weight using diet and exercise alone before they could enter the treatment phase of the study.

Participants taking liraglutide lost a total of 12.2% of their body weight (6.6% using diet and exercise, and the rest with liraglutide). Twice as many people taking liraglutide lost at least 5% of their body weight in the treatment phase of the trial as the placebo group. Twice as many people taking liraglutide maintained their weight loss over 56 weeks as the placebo group.3

Liraglutide is a safe and effective medication for treating type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Side Effects and Precautions

As with any medication, liraglutide can have certain side effects. Some of the common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and headaches. However, these side effects usually decrease over time as your body adjusts to the medication.

Liraglutide side effects reported in the clinical trials (3 mg dose) include:

  • Abdominal distension: 4.5%
  • Abdominal pain: 5.4%
  • Anxiety: 2.0%
  • Burping: 4.5%
  • Constipation: 19.4%
  • Diarrhea: 20.9%
  • Dizziness: 6.9%
  • Dry mouth: 2.3%
  • Fatigue: 2.1%
  • Fatigue: 7.5%
  • Flatulence: 4.0%
  • Gastroenteritis: 4.7%
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease: 4.7%
  • Headache: 13.6%
  • Indigestion:  9.6%
  • Injection site reactions: 13.9%
  • Insomnia: 2.4%
  • Low blood sugar in type 2 diabetes: 12.6%
  • Nausea: 39.3%
  • Upper abdominal pain: 5.1%
  • Urinary tract infection: 4.3%
  • Viral gastroenteritis: 2.8%
  • Vomiting: 15.7%

More serious side effects of liraglutide include:

  • Depression
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased risk of low blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Kidney problems
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Thoughts of suicide

It’s also important to note that liraglutide may not be suitable for everyone. For instance, those who are breastfeeding, planning to become pregnant, or are already pregnant shouldn’t use it. You should also not take liraglutide if you have a personal or family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2) or a family history of thyroid cancer. Animal studies showed that liraglutide increases the risk of thyroid cancer. However, scientists are not sure if the risk also increases in humans.

Share your complete medical history with your doctor, especially if you have ever had pancreatitis, depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, or liver, thyroid, or kidney disease. Do not take liraglutide with another GLP-1 receptor agonist or if you have severe stomach problems, especially ones that slow stomach emptying.

Tell your doctor about all the medications you are currently taking. Liraglutide slows stomach emptying, so it may affect how your medications are absorbed. Other drugs you are taking may interact with liraglutide.

Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting Liraglutide to ensure it’s a safe and effective option for you.

Liraglutide for Weight Loss: How It Works and Its Benefits

Conclusion

Liraglutide presents a promising solution for those struggling with weight loss. By mimicking the effects of a naturally occurring hormone, it helps to suppress appetite and promote a feeling of fullness, thereby aiding in weight loss. However, as with any medication, it’s crucial to use Liraglutide under medical supervision and in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise. You can buy liraglutide online through Invigor Medical.

Frequently Asked Questions

How quickly does liraglutide work for weight loss?

The speed at which liraglutide works for weight loss can vary among individuals. Some people may start to notice weight loss within a few weeks of starting treatment, while others may take longer to see significant results. It’s essential to follow your healthcare provider’s guidance and maintain a healthy lifestyle to maximize the effectiveness of liraglutide for weight loss.

Is liraglutide the same as Ozempic?

Liraglutide is not the same as Ozempic, although both medications belong to the class of drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. While they share similarities in their mechanism of action and therapeutic uses, they are different medications with distinct formulations and dosing regimens. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable medication for your specific needs.

Is liraglutide safe for weight loss?

The Saxenda brand of Liraglutide has been approved by regulatory authorities for weight loss in individuals with obesity or overweight who have certain obesity-related health conditions. Like any medication, liraglutide may have potential side effects, and its safety for weight loss should be evaluated on an individual basis in consultation with a healthcare provider.

What is better for weight loss semaglutide or liraglutide?

Both semaglutide and liraglutide are GLP-1 receptor agonists used for weight loss in individuals with obesity or overweight who have certain obesity-related health conditions. Clinical studies have shown that semaglutide may lead to greater weight loss compared to liraglutide in some individuals. However, the choice between semaglutide and liraglutide for weight loss should be based on individual factors and discussed with a healthcare provider.

Author: Leann Poston, M.D.
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Sources

  • Jackson SH, Martin TS, Jones JD, Seal D, Emanuel F. Liraglutide (Victoza): the first once-daily incretin mimetic injection for type-2 diabetes. P t. 2010;35(9):498-529.
  • Davies MJ, Bergenstal R, Bode B, Kushner RF, Lewin A, Skjøth TV, Andreasen AH, Jensen CB, DeFronzo RA. Efficacy of Liraglutide for Weight Loss Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: The SCALE Diabetes Randomized Clinical Trial. Jama. 2015;314(7):687-699.
  • Wadden TA, Hollander P, Klein S, Niswender K, Woo V, Hale PM, Aronne L. Weight maintenance and additional weight loss with liraglutide after low-calorie-diet-induced weight loss: the SCALE Maintenance randomized study. Int J Obes (Lond). 2013;37(11):1443-1451.
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