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Life-Changing Weight Loss Maintenance: Introducing Liraglutide

Dec 5, 2023
Life-Changing Weight Loss Maintenance:  Introducing Liraglutide

Liraglutide is a drug used for managing type 2 diabetes and obesity. It has potential to be a key to sustainable weight loss maintenance. Obesity, now a global epidemic,(1) has seen its rates triple since 1975 according to the World Health Organization. Being obese puts you at risk for over 200 other health issues, including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, and liver disease.

In the United States, over 37 million people have type 2 diabetes, a serious health condition that could affect 1 in 10 adults you know. Additionally, one in three adults in the U.S. has prediabetes, putting them on the brink of developing diabetes. Both obesity and type 2 diabetes are part of a group of health issues called metabolic diseases. Having one of these diseases can increase the risk of getting others, leading to a harmful cycle.

Obesity and type 2 diabetes can shorten your life (2). However, losing even a small amount of weight (3% to 5%) can improve your health. If you have obesity and a related condition like type 2 diabetes, losing 5% to 15% of your weight might be necessary (3).

Novo Nordisk sells liraglutide under two names: Victoza for type 2 diabetes and Saxenda for obesity. It’s prescribed for obesity in individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, or 27 or more if they have a related health issue like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or abnormal blood fats (4).

Diagnosing Obesity

You can figure out your Body Mass Index (BMI) using your weight and height. BMI is used to estimate your risk of heart disease and chances of dying early. However, it’s not always accurate or fair for diagnosing obesity. BMI was originally based on data from white men and was meant to be a rough measure of body fat percentage.

When BMI is used for different groups of people, it shows some big flaws. For instance, it often overestimates the risk of heart and metabolic diseases in non-Latino Black Americans. This happens because, on average, Black Americans tend to have more muscle compared to fat than white Americans.

On the other hand, BMI underestimates these risks in people with a South Asian background. For them, being overweight is defined as having a BMI over 24, and obesity is a BMI over 27 (5).

BMI also doesn’t consider the differences in body composition between men and women. Women naturally have a different body makeup than men and generally have a lower risk of heart disease before menopause compared to men of the same age.

Athletes are another group where BMI can be misleading. They usually have more muscle mass than the average person, leading to a higher BMI that doesn’t accurately reflect their health (5).

ClassificationNormalOverweightClass 1 ObesityClass 2 ObesityClass 3 Obesity
Body mass index (BMI)18.0-24.925.0-29.930.0-34.935.0-39.940.0 and higher

Lifestyle Management

Treating obesity often focuses on changing lifestyle habits. Eating fewer calories and exercising regularly are key for losing weight and improving heart health. But, most people only see modest weight loss with these changes and tend to gain back the weight they lost.

It’s crucial to understand that obesity isn’t just a result of lifestyle choices and can’t be managed solely with diet and exercise. However, it’s worth noting that all clinical trials for anti-obesity medications also include a low-calorie diet and exercise as part of the study. In some studies, participants had to lose some weight through diet and exercise before they could join the study.

Losing weight and keeping it off is made difficult by metabolic adaptation. This is your body’s way of saving energy and resisting weight loss, often leading to regaining weight (6).

When you lose fat, your leptin levels drop. Leptin is a hormone that controls hunger. Lower leptin levels make you feel hungrier, less full after eating, and slow down your metabolism. This often leads to weight gain as your body tries to return to its previous weight.

Diet

Choosing the “best” diet for weight loss is a common question. The most effective diet is one you can maintain over time. It should be well-balanced, varied, and satisfying, meeting all your nutritional and energy needs.

The key to a successful weight loss diet is to focus on reducing calorie intake rather than adhering to a specific type of diet (7). Studies of 14 popular diets showed that people lost an average of 9 to 10 pounds over a year, but weight loss often plateaued after 12 months (8). It’s important to choose a low-calorie diet that includes foods you enjoy. The diet should feel like a natural part of your life, not a temporary or harsh punishment.

The specific balance of macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) in a diet doesn’t necessarily predict weight loss success. Instead, the quality of these macronutrients matters. Opt for complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and quality proteins. Some people may find that a higher protein intake helps them feel full for longer, which can help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. If you need assistance, a dietitian can help you create a satisfying, low-calorie meal plan.

Repeatedly losing and regaining weight, known as weight cycling, is harmful to your health. Choose a diet that suits your lifestyle and dietary needs. A common weight loss guideline is to eat 500 calories less per day than what is needed to maintain your current weight.

To track your progress, use journals, calorie counters, and photos. Focus on portion control and consuming fresh, minimally processed foods that are both appealing and tasty. Think of food as fuel for your body. Eating for reasons other than hunger, like stress relief or comfort, can lead to weight gain.

Exercise

Adults are advised to do 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week, along with two sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises that work all major muscle groups. This recommendation comes from the US Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

To lose or maintain weight, you should increase your moderate exercise to at least 300 minutes per week. If you’re short on time, consider upping the intensity to vigorous levels.

However, research shows that exercise alone usually doesn’t lead to significant weight loss. It’s also important to eat a low-calorie diet. Exercise can’t counteract the effects of a poor diet. Combining calorie restriction with exercise can lead to a weight loss of 5% to 15%.

Some individuals engage in long, moderate to intense exercise sessions, burning 500 to 700 calories each time. While this requires a big time commitment, it can lead to meaningful weight loss.

Exercise is crucial for keeping weight off and improving heart and metabolic health. Be mindful of your calorie intake when exercising, as it’s common to eat more after working out.

While diet and exercise are key for weight management and health, people who qualify for anti-obesity medication should consider it as part of a comprehensive weight management plan (9). A combined approach of exercise, a low-calorie diet, and liraglutide has been shown to enhance weight loss success and help maintain it over time (3).

How Does Liraglutide Work for Weight Loss Maintenance?

Liraglutide belongs to a group of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. These drugs work similarly to the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1 in your body. GLP-1 naturally reduces appetite and slows down the emptying of the stomach. As a result, people taking liraglutide often feel fuller for longer, aiding in weight loss (10). Liraglutide is very similar to your body’s own hormone, 97% similar in fact, but it’s given in much higher doses.

GLP-1 is released by your intestines after you eat. It attaches to receptors in the pancreas, stimulating it to release insulin. Insulin helps move glucose from your blood into your cells, where it’s used for energy (10).

As insulin lowers blood glucose levels, liraglutide also reduces glucose production in the liver. This dual action is how liraglutide and similar drugs help manage type 2 diabetes. By maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, it also reduces appetite and cravings for high-calorie sweets, thereby treating both diabetes and obesity.

Liraglutide also works in the brain, increasing feelings of fullness and reducing hunger. People using liraglutide often find they think less about food, helping them to see food more as fuel rather than an obsessive thought throughout the day.

Additionally, GLP-1 agents like liraglutide have benefits for heart health. They can strengthen the heart muscle, improve blood flow to the heart and throughout the body, and lower blood pressure (11).

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

  • Stimulates insulin release
  • Inhibits glucagon release
  • Slows stomach emptying
  • Suppresses appetite
  • Increases satiety after eating
  • Decreases waist circumference (abdominal and organ fat)
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Increases HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Decreases triglycerides
  • Decreased blood sugar
  • Decreases hemoglobin A1C
Liraglutide - A Key to Sustainable Weight Loss Maintenance

Clinical Trials and Effectiveness of Liraglutide

Liraglutide has undergone many clinical trials to determine its safety and efficacy.

Trial 1807: Dose Finding Trial

In this study, 564 individuals with a BMI of 30 to 40 were given either a placebo, 1.2 mg, 1.8 mg, 2.4 mg, or 3.0 mg of liraglutide daily, or Orlistat three times a day. Everyone in the study followed a low-calorie diet and exercised more.

MedicationWeight loss
Liraglutide 1.2 mg11 pounds
Liraglutide 1.8 mg12 pounds
Liraglutide 2.4 mg14 pounds
Liraglutide 3.0 mg16 pounds
Orlistat 9 pounds
Placebo6 pounds

Around 75% of the participants who took 3 mg of liraglutide lost over 5% of their body weight. This result was much better compared to those who took a placebo or Orlistat (12).

SCALE: Obesity and Prediabetes

The SCALE (Satiety and Clinical Adiposity—Liraglutide Evidence in Nondiabetic and Diabetic Individuals) Obesity and Prediabetes trial was a 56-week study involving 3,731 people who were either obese or overweight with an obesity-related health condition. These participants might have had prediabetes but did not have diabetes.

In this trial, those who took liraglutide lost an average of 18.5 pounds, which is about 7.4% of their body weight. On the other hand, participants who received a placebo lost an average of 6 pounds, or 3% of their body weight. Notably, twice as many people in the liraglutide group lost at least 5% of their body weight compared to those in the placebo group (14).

SCALE: Diabetes

In a 56-week clinical trial, 846 people with obesity or overweight and type 2 diabetes were randomly chosen to receive either 1.8 mg or 3.0 mg of liraglutide or a placebo. Additionally, they were instructed to follow a reduced-calorie diet and engage in regular exercise.

These are the results of this study. 

Weight loss percentage from randomization to week 56 (after the initial 6% average weight loss) 6.2% for a total of 12.2% of body weight0.2% for a total of 6.2% of body weight
Maintained the initial 5% of more weight loss81.4%48.9%
Lost a minimum of 5% of body weight 50.5%21.8%

During a 56-week study, participants who combined liraglutide with diet and exercise not only maintained but also improved their weight loss. Additionally, they saw some positive changes in markers of heart health. The gastrointestinal side effects reported were temporary and ranged from mild to moderate in intensity (15).

SCALE: Sleep Apnea

In a 32-week study, 359 patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea and who were overweight or obese were randomly divided to receive either liraglutide or a placebo. The findings showed that the group taking liraglutide experienced an average weight loss of 5.73%, compared to 1.58% in the placebo group (16).

LEADER

The LEADER clinical trial (Liraglutide Effect and Action in Diabetes: Evaluation of Cardiovascular Outcome Results) was a major study focusing on cardiovascular (CV) outcomes. It involved participants with type 2 diabetes who were at high risk for cardiovascular disease. The trial aimed to determine whether liraglutide could reduce cardiovascular risk in these patients compared to a placebo.

The results showed that participants who took liraglutide experienced a lower risk of cardiovascular death, nonfatal heart attacks, and nonfatal strokes than those who took a placebo. This study demonstrated that liraglutide not only helps in managing type 2 diabetes and obesity but also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases (17).

Liraglutide and Exercise 

The clinical trial “Combined Effects of GLP-1 Analogue and Exercise on Maintenance of Weight Loss and Health After a Very-Low Calorie Diet” investigated how liraglutide and exercise can help maintain weight loss and health after a very low-calorie diet. It involved 195 people who, after an eight-week low-calorie diet, lost an average of 29 pounds (12% of their body weight).

Participants were divided into four groups (3):

  • A moderate-to-vigorous-intensity exercise program plus placebo (exercise group).
  • Treatment with 3.0 mg of liraglutide per day plus usual activity (liraglutide group).
  • Exercise program plus liraglutide therapy (combination group).
  • Placebo plus usual activity (placebo group).

The trial’s results showed:

  • The exercise group lost an additional 9 pounds.
  • The liraglutide group lost an additional 15 pounds.
  • The combination group lost an additional 21 pounds.
  • In terms of body fat reduction, the exercise group lost 1.7 percentage points, the liraglutide group 1.9 percentage points, and the combination group 3.9 percentage points.

After one year, the placebo group had regained 45% of the weight they initially lost. In contrast, the combination group lost an extra 4% of their body weight, totaling a 16% weight loss from their starting weight.

Significantly, the group combining exercise and liraglutide lost twice as much body fat as those in the liraglutide-only or exercise-only groups. Exercise also helped in preserving lean body mass.

The research indicates that exercise alone has little to no effect on weight loss. Participants in this trial exercised vigorously for at least 150 minutes per week. This trial highlights the importance of a comprehensive weight loss program and suggests that without a sustained plan, individuals who lose weight with liraglutide or other GLP-1 medications are likely to regain it (3).

A scale, weights, apple and tape measure

Potential Side Effects and Precautions of Liraglutide

The most common side effects of liraglutide are related to the gastrointestinal system, a trait shared by all GLP-1 medications. These side effects occur due to the slowing down of stomach emptying and alterations in the muscle contractions in the gut.

Most individuals on liraglutide report these side effects as mild to moderate. These symptoms are typically most noticeable when first starting the medication and after any increase in dosage. However, they usually diminish over time.

Liraglutide side effects reported in the clinical trials (3 mg dose) include (16): 

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

More serious side effects of liraglutide include: 

  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Increased risk of low blood sugar
  • Increased heart rate
  • Kidney problems
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Depression
  • Thoughts of suicide

Individuals who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should avoid taking liraglutide, as it may harm the fetus. Additionally, liraglutide is not recommended for those with a personal or family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2) or a family history of thyroid cancer. Although animal studies have indicated an increased risk of thyroid cancer with liraglutide, it’s unclear if this risk extends to humans.

You should not take liraglutide if you:

  • Have a known allergy to liraglutide or any of its components.
  • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • Have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer (MEN2).
  • Have a history of pancreatitis.

It’s important to inform your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts, or if you are taking insulin or other diabetes medications. This information is crucial as it can influence how your doctor prescribes liraglutide.

Comparison with Other Weight Loss Treatments

In the United States, there are currently six medications approved for the treatment of obesity. Traditionally, the most effective weight-loss drugs worked by suppressing appetite through their action on the brain. GLP-1 receptor agonists (RAs) like liraglutide, semaglutide, and the combination medication tirzepatide, work both in the brain and in peripheral organs. They slow down the emptying of the stomach to reduce hunger and appetite, stimulate insulin release in the pancreas, and enhance insulin sensitivity in the liver.

The approved prescription medications for weight loss are:

Orlistat

Orlistat works by blocking lipases, enzymes that help your body digest and absorb fats. When fats aren’t broken down, they pass through your digestive system and are excreted undigested in your stool. By reducing fat absorption by around 30%, Orlistat cuts down on the total calories your body absorbs, which leads to weight loss.

Common side effects of taking Orlistat include experiencing reduced absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, which need fat to be absorbed properly. Therefore, doctors often recommend taking a multivitamin supplement. Other side effects include excessive gas, an urgent need for bowel movements, and oily or fatty stools, as the undigested fat is excreted.

Orlistat is not advised for people with chronic malabsorption disorders or gallbladder disease. It’s also not recommended for those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. On average, people using Orlistat lose about 6.5 to 7.5 pounds each year, which is relatively modest, making it a less favored option for weight loss treatment (18, 19).

Naltrexone/Bupropion (Contrave)

Contrave combines bupropion, an antidepressant that also acts as a dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, with naltrexone, which blocks opioid receptors. This combination is effective in helping people resist cravings and food addictions.

When taking Contrave, common side effects can include nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, headaches, dizziness, agitation, and insomnia.

It’s important not to take Contrave if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, a history of seizures, or a history of eating disorders. It’s also not suitable for individuals who are withdrawing from drugs or alcohol. Additionally, Contrave should be avoided during pregnancy or if planning to become pregnant, and it should not be taken alongside monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOis).

Studies have shown that people taking Contrave can expect an average weight loss of about 11 pounds over a year (18).

Phentermine/Topiramate

Phentermine, which acts as an adrenergic agonist and appetite suppressant, combined with topiramate, an anti-seizure medication, effectively induces weight loss and increases feelings of fullness. This combination tends to be more effective for weight loss and has fewer side effects than when either medication is used alone.

Common side effects experienced with this combination include dry mouth, tingling sensations and numbness, headaches, insomnia, and mood changes such as depression, anxiety, irritability, and attention problems. Other side effects can include a fast heart rate or a sensation of a racing heart rate, dizziness, and fatigue.

Phentermine/topiramate is not recommended for use in individuals with uncontrolled high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, or those who are sensitive to stimulants.

This medication is teratogenic, meaning it can cause harm to a fetus, so it should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Additionally, in teenagers and young adults, phentermine/topiramate may increase the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts.

Studies have shown that, on average, phentermine/topiramate can lead to a weight loss of about 14.5 to 19 pounds over the course of a year (18, 19).

Liraglutide

Liraglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, effectively decreases appetite. In comparison to a placebo, it has been found to reduce calorie intake by about 16%. Clinical trials have shown that participants taking liraglutide generally lose more weight than those taking a placebo or Orlistat.

The side effects of liraglutide are primarily gastrointestinal in nature. However, there are other important safety considerations to be aware of when taking liraglutide. These include an increased risk of thyroid cancer (as observed in rodent studies), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), gallbladder disease, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), tachycardia (fast heart rate), kidney disease, and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

In the Safety and Clinical Adiposity Liraglutide Evidence in Individuals With and Without Diabetes (SCALE) trials, including SCALE Maintenance, SCALE Diabetes, and SCALE Sleep Apnea, participants who took liraglutide lost, on average, 11 pounds more than those who took a placebo. About 63% of participants in these one-year trials lost at least 5% of their body weight, and slightly more than one-third lost 10% (1).

Additionally, the LEADER clinical trials revealed that liraglutide can reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, in patients who are at high risk for these conditions.

Life-Changing Weight Loss Maintenance: Introducing Liraglutide

Tirzepatide

Tirzepatide, a combination of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and GLP-1, has been studied for its effectiveness in treating type 2 diabetes and obesity. The SURPASS clinical trials focused on type 2 diabetes, while the SURMOUNT trials targeted obesity. In 2022, the US FDA approved tirzepatide as an addition to diet and exercise for treating type 2 diabetes (20), and it is anticipated to receive approval for obesity treatment soon.

Tirzepatide works by (21):

  • Slowing stomach emptying, which helps reduce hunger.
  • Promoting a feeling of fullness by acting on specific areas of the brain.
  • Enhancing insulin secretion from the pancreas.
  • Improving insulin sensitivity in the liver.
  • Increasing the breakdown of fats.
  • Reducing the release of glucagon.

Common side effects associated with tirzepatide include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), dizziness, nervousness, anxiety, depression, tachycardia (fast heart rate), allergic reactions, and reactions at the injection site.

In the SURMOUNT clinical trials, participants who received the highest dose of tirzepatide (15 mg) along with lifestyle counseling achieved remarkable weight loss results. Over the 72-week trial period, they lost an average of 20.9% of their body weight. More than half of these participants lost at least 20% of their body weight, and 36% of those on the 15 mg dose of tirzepatide lost at least 25% (21).

Semaglutide

Semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity. It works by:

  • Lowering blood sugar levels.
  • Curbing appetite.
  • Reducing food cravings.
  • Increasing feelings of fullness.
  • Slowing down the process of stomach emptying.

Common side effects associated with semaglutide include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, reactions at the injection site, and allergic reactions.

Semaglutide is not recommended for individuals with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2), or a history of pancreatitis. It’s also advised against those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Other safety concerns when taking semaglutide, based on rodent studies, include an increased risk of thyroid cancer, pancreatic inflammation, gallbladder disease, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), tachycardia (fast heart rate), kidney disease, and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

In the STEP clinical trials, participants taking semaglutide experienced significant weight loss, averaging between 14.9% to 17.4% of their body weight over 68 weeks. In addition to weight and fat loss, semaglutide also improved several health markers, including blood pressure, waist circumference, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes (6).

There are also other combination medications and treatments currently being explored, including an amylin/semaglutide combination, Danuglipron (an oral GLP-1 RA for obesity treatment), a higher-dose version of Rybelsus for obesity, and LY3437943, a triple receptor agonist being tested for obesity treatment.

Liraglutide Dosage and Administration

Liraglutide is given as a daily subcutaneous injection, which means it’s injected just under the skin. The recommended sites for injection are the fatty tissue in your lower abdomen, upper arm, or thigh.

The peak effect of liraglutide occurs approximately 8 to 12 hours after the injection. The term “half-life” refers to the time it takes for the medication’s effectiveness to reduce by half. For liraglutide, this half-life is around 13 hours. Because its half-life is less than 24 hours, it needs to be administered daily to maintain its therapeutic effect.

Liraglutide dosage: 

WeekDosage
Weeks 10.6 mg dailyIf 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. 
Week 21.2 mg daily
Week 31.8 mg daily
Week 42.4 mg daily
Weeks 5 and after3.0 mg daily 

Success Stories and Testimonials From Liraglutide Users

According to user reviews on Drugs.com, liraglutide has received an average rating of 7.6 out of 10 for obesity treatment and 7.7 for treating type 2 diabetes. About 68% of these reviewers had a positive experience, while 14% reported a negative experience.

Positive reviews often mention significant weight loss, increased energy and exercise capacity, lower blood pressure, and reduced food cravings. A common observation among satisfied users is their surprise at no longer constantly thinking about food.

On the other hand, those with negative experiences reported issues such as a depressed mood and feelings of doom, which some found intolerable. Other adverse effects mentioned include nausea, excessive gas, constipation, and weakness.

A few reviewers noted either a lack of weight loss or experienced more serious side effects related to the medication.

Additionally, liraglutide reviews on WebMD have an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5. These reviews, while generally shorter, echoed similar benefits and challenges associated with taking liraglutide.

Liraglutide Availability and Cost

As of October 24, 2023, the average cost for a one-month supply of liraglutide is around $1,430. Prices listed on GoodRX for a Midwest location range from approximately $1,311 to $1,629.

Alternatively, Invigor Medical offers liraglutide at a rate of $90 per week, which presents a different pricing option.

It’s important to note that Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Saxenda (a brand name for liraglutide), has ended its Saxenda savings offer for new enrollees as of June 30, 2023. However, individuals who enrolled in the program and redeemed their coupon before this cutoff date will still be able to use the benefits of the program until December 31, 2023.

A doctor holding the word obesity

Frequently Asked Questions About Liraglutide and Weight Loss

What is Liraglutide, and how does it work?

Liraglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, similar to the naturally-produced GLP-1 hormone. Released from the gut after eating, GLP-1 stimulates insulin production in the pancreas, lowering blood sugar levels. Liraglutide also binds to GLP-1 receptors in the brain, reducing hunger and increasing feelings of fullness. By slowing stomach emptying and reducing blood sugar levels, it helps you feel fuller for longer and reduces cravings, aiding in weight loss.

Is Liraglutide suitable for everyone?

Liraglutide is FDA-approved for adults with a BMI of 30 or higher, or a BMI of 27 or higher with a weight-related condition like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, or high cholesterol. It’s not recommended for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a history of certain thyroid cancers or syndromes, or are allergic to its components.

How is Liraglutide administered?

Liraglutide is a daily subcutaneous injection. The dosage starts at 0.6 mg per day, increasing by 0.6 mg weekly until reaching the maintenance dose of 3.0 mg. This gradual increase helps minimize gastrointestinal side effects.

How much weight can I expect to lose with Liraglutide?

Weight loss varies. Clinical trials show an average loss of 11 to 18.5 pounds (6.2% to 8% body weight). Effectiveness depends on adherence to a low-calorie diet and exercise plan. Some may not lose weight due to side effects or inability to maintain lifestyle changes.

What if I don’t lose weight after taking Liraglutide?

If there’s less than a 4% weight loss after using liraglutide, your doctor might suggest discontinuing it and trying another anti-obesity medication.

Can Liraglutide be used as a standalone weight-loss treatment?

Liraglutide is not a standalone treatment. Studies like the S-LITE trial show that combining liraglutide with exercise leads to greater weight and fat loss than liraglutide or exercise alone.

What are the possible side effects of Liraglutide?

Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. Serious but rare side effects can include pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, thyroid cancer risk, and allergic reactions. Monitoring by a healthcare provider is important.

Are the weight loss results with Liraglutide sustainable?

Studies like SCALE Maintenance and S-LITE suggest that combining liraglutide with exercise is effective for maintaining weight loss. Long-term effects on weight after stopping liraglutide are still being studied.

What are the long-term effects of Liraglutide?

The long-term effects of liraglutide are not fully known, as it is a relatively new drug. Maintaining healthy eating and exercise habits is crucial, even after stopping the medication. Liraglutide is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle.

Conclusion: Is Liraglutide the Game-Changer in Weight Loss Treatment?

Liraglutide and other GLP-1 medications represent a significant advancement in the treatment of weight loss. As one of the earlier drugs in this class, liraglutide has set the stage for ongoing research and development. Researchers are actively exploring how to enhance the effectiveness of GLP-1 receptor agonists, aiming to maximize weight loss benefits while reducing side effects. This ongoing research is crucial for improving obesity treatment and potentially offering more effective and safer options for individuals struggling with weight management.

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.

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