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Semaglutide Alternatives: Liraglutide vs. Semaglutide

Mar 20, 2023
Semaglutide Alternatives: Liraglutide vs. Semaglutide

When considering liraglutide vs. semaglutide, many people turn to liraglutide, another GLP-1 agonist that is used to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity. Liraglutide (Victoza and Saxenda) and semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus) are both great prescription weight-loss drugs.

Obesity is a serious chronic health condition that affects about 42% of U.S. adults. About two out of every three adults meet the criteria for being either overweight or having obesity.

Why is this such a concern? Obesity, like any other serious health condition, shortens your lifespan and puts you at risk for other conditions.

Liraglutide and semaglutide were both initially developed to treat type 2 diabetes. Weight loss was a positive medication side effect. This led Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical developer of both medications, to begin testing them for safety and efficacy in inducing weight loss.

Semaglutide Alternatives: Liraglutide vs. Semaglutide

Semaglutide and liraglutide are both GLP-1 agonists. GLP-1 is a naturally occurring incretin hormone that is released after eating. Both liraglutide and semaglutide:

  • Stimulate insulin release
  • Inhibit glucagon release
  • Slow stomach emptying
  • Increase satiety after eating

Both medications are intended to be used in conjunction with a low-calorie diet and exercise program to facilitate weight loss.

Two women, one overweight, are exercising while wondering about liraglutide vs. semaglutide

Who Can Take Liraglutide vs. Semaglutide?

Semaglutide and liraglutide are intended for adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) that indicates overweight (with restrictions) or obesity.

  • Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher.
  • Overweight is defined as a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater with at least one weight-related medical condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or abnormal blood lipids.

How Are Semaglutide and Liraglutide Dosed?

Liraglutide, a semaglutide alternative, and semaglutide are both injectables. They also both have an incrementally increasing dose. When you get your prescription, verify the dosing schedule and instructions for administering subcutaneous injections.

Liraglutide

Liraglutide comes in a prefilled, multidose pen for subcutaneous injection.

  • 1st week: Take 0.6 mg daily
  • 2nd week: Take 1.2 mg daily
  • 3rd week: Take 1.8 mg daily
  • 4th week: Take 2.4 mg daily
  • 5th week and thereafter: Take 3.0 mg daily
Semaglutide Alternatives: Liraglutide vs. Semaglutide

Semaglutide

Semaglutide comes in a prefilled, single-dose pen for subcutaneous injection.

Following your healthcare provider’s instructions, semaglutide dosing is according to the following schedule:

  • Month 1: (weeks 1-4): take 0.25 mg each week
  • Month 2: (weeks 5-8): take 0.5 mg each week
  • Month 3: (weeks 9–12): take 1 mg each week
  • Month 4: (weeks 13–16): take 1.7 mg each week
  • Month 5: (weeks 17 and onward): 2.4 mg each week (full dose)
Semaglutide Alternatives: Liraglutide vs. Semaglutide

Which is Better for Weight Loss, Semaglutide or Liraglutide?

Liraglutide, a semaglutide alternative, was evaluated in two double-blind studies that enrolled over 3,000 participants. The average weight loss over one year was 8.9 to 13.3 pounds. Over half of the participants treated with liraglutide lost at least 5% of their body weight (the standard cut-off for an effective weight-loss medication), and between 25% and 33% lost 10% of their body weight.

Semaglutide studies

The STEP clinical trials were a series of four 68-week randomized, double-blind clinical trials that enrolled over 4,500 participants who had obesity or were overweight with a weight-induced medical condition.

Participants taking semaglutide in the clinical trials lost between 15% and 17% of their body weight. A 17% weight loss equals about 41 pounds.

A weight-loss bullseye

How Do I Switch From Liraglutide to Semaglutide?

Switching between liraglutide and semaglutide is possible. Talk to your doctor about why you want to switch. The two medications work similarly, and if you have side effects with one, you may experience the same side effects with another GLP-1 agonist. With that said, people respond better to different medications. You may find that one medication option works better for you.

Who Should Not Use Semaglutide?

People with a history of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2) or a family history of thyroid cancer should not take liraglutide or semaglutide. In animal studies, liraglutide and semaglutide were found to increase the risk of thyroid cancer. It is unknown whether this risk would increase in humans. You shouldn’t use liraglutide or semaglutide if you have/are:

  • A known allergy to liraglutide, semaglutide, or any of the medication’s components
  • A history of depression or thoughts of suicide
  • Taking insulin or another medication with liraglutide in it
  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding

More common side effects associated with liraglutide or semaglutide use include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Acid reflux
  • Gas
  • Dry mouth
  • Intestinal infections
  • Low blood sugar

Rare side effects include:

  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Gallbladder disease (infection or gallstones)

In most cases, gastrointestinal side effects decrease over time.

Weight-loss tools

How Long Do You Stay on Semaglutide or Liraglutide for Weight Loss?

Studies indicate that obesity should be treated like any other chronic disease. Participants who stopped taking liraglutide or semaglutide (depending on the study) regained about two-thirds of their lost weight.

Talk to your doctor about your prescription weight loss medication options and ask them whether they anticipate that you will need to take your medication long-term.

A summary of the treatment options and weight loss found:

  • Most people can expect a weight loss of 3% to 5% using a low-calorie, portion-controlled diet.
  • If you take liraglutide, you can expect a 3% to 5% weight loss in addition to the weight loss from your diet.
  • If you take semaglutide, you can expect a 6% to 13% weight loss in addition to the 3% to 5% you can achieve with a low-calorie diet.

Conclusion

After exploring the benefits and specifics of both liraglutide and semaglutide, it’s clear that your journey towards a healthier weight could be greatly supported by the right medication. If liraglutide or semaglutide aligns with your health goals, preferences, and medical advice, consider taking the next step towards your weight management journey. Invigor Medical offers a straightforward path to buy liraglutide or semaglutide, with professional support to guide you. Embrace this opportunity to transform your health. Visit Invigor Medical’s website for more details and to make an informed decision about starting liraglutide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is more effective liraglutide or semaglutide?

The effectiveness of liraglutide versus semaglutide for weight loss may vary among individuals. Clinical studies have shown that both medications can lead to significant weight loss when combined with diet and exercise. However, some studies suggest that semaglutide may lead to greater weight loss compared to liraglutide in some individuals. It’s essential to discuss the benefits and risks of each medication with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable option for your needs.

Can you switch from liraglutide to semaglutide for weight loss?

Switching from liraglutide to semaglutide for weight loss may be possible, but it’s essential to do so under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Factors such as dosage, side effects, and individual response to the medications need to be considered. A healthcare provider can help assess your suitability for switching medications and provide guidance on the transition process.

How fast is weight loss on liraglutide?

The rate of weight loss on liraglutide can vary among individuals. Some people may start to see weight loss within a few weeks of starting treatment, while others may take longer to notice significant results. It’s essential to follow a personalized treatment plan, including a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise, to maximize the effectiveness of liraglutide for weight loss.

Why am I not losing weight on semaglutide injections?

There could be several reasons why you may not be losing weight on semaglutide injections. It’s essential to evaluate factors such as adherence to the treatment regimen, diet, exercise habits, and potential underlying medical conditions. If you’re not experiencing the desired weight loss results with semaglutide, it’s important to discuss your concerns with a healthcare provider for further evaluation and adjustment of your treatment plan.

Disclaimer
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.

Semaglutide Alternatives: Liraglutide vs. Semaglutide

Leann Poston, M.D.

Dr. Leann Poston is a licensed physician in the state of Ohio who holds an M.B.A. and an M. Ed. She is a full-time medical communications writer and educator who writes and researches for Invigor Medical. Dr. Poston lives in the Midwest with her family. She enjoys traveling and hiking. She is an avid technology aficionado and loves trying new things.

References

  • Daily Med. Drug label information: Saxenda (liraglutide injection, solution). https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=3946d389-0926-4f77-a708-0acb8153b143. Accessed January 8, 2016.
  • Davies MJ, Bergenstal R, Bode B, et al.; NN8022-1922 Study Group. Efficacy of liraglutide for weight loss among patients with type 2 diabetes: the SCALE diabetes randomized clinical trial [published correction appears in JAMA. 2016;315(1):90]. JAMA. 2015;314(7):687-699.
  • Pi-Sunyer X, Astrup A, Fujioka K, et al.; SCALE Obesity and Prediabetes NN8022-1839 Study Group. A randomized, controlled trial of 3.0 mg of liraglutide in weight management. N Engl J Med. 2015;373(1):11-22.
  • Lean ME, Carraro R, Finer N, et al.; NN8022-1807 Investigators. Tolerability of nausea and vomiting and associations with weight loss in a randomized trial of liraglutide in obese, non-diabetic adults. Int J Obes (Lond). 2014;38(5):689-697.
  • Astrup A, Carraro R, Finer N, et al.; NN8022-1807 Investigators. Safety, tolerability and sustained weight loss over 2 years with the once-daily human GLP-1 analog, liraglutide. Int J Obes (Lond). 2012;36(6):843-854.
  • Wilding JPH, Batterham RL, Calanna S, et al. Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. New England Journal of Medicine. 2021/03/18 2021;384(11):989-1002. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2032183
  • Wadden TA, Bailey TS, Billings LK, et al. Effect of Subcutaneous Semaglutide vs Placebo as an Adjunct to Intensive Behavioral Therapy on Body Weight in Adults With Overweight or Obesity: The STEP 3 Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2021;325(14):1403–1413. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.1831

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