GLP-1 Drugs: Entering a New Era in the World of Weight Loss

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Author: Bob Brensel | President, Pharmacist | ScriptWorks

Bob Brensel, RPh, earned his Pharmacy Degree at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California in 1980. He was honored as a student with the Longs Drugs Stores, “Outstanding Intern Scholarship” in 1977. Read More →

The search for effectively and safely addressing weight loss seems never-ending.

The drug semaglutide belongs to a class of medications known as Glucagon-like-peptide-1 receptor agonists, or GLP-1 receptor agonists. It mimics the GLP-1 hormone, released in the gut in response to eating.

Semaglutide was designed for type 2 diabetes and has shown great potential in helping diabetic patients. These GLP-1 analogues revealed several effects, including slowing stomach emptying, acting on the brain to reduce appetite, and boosting insulin release, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. It may also result in reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease in people who are obese or overweight.

Semaglutide for Weight Loss

Currently, semaglutide is only approved for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy™, which has been in the media as of late due to a recent nationwide drug shortage.

As interest in semaglutide for weight loss continues to grow, healthcare professionals are finding ways to manage the demand. Many are using all types of off-label semaglutide to help manage weight. The demand has become so high that now, there is a shortage for people who need this medication to help manage their diabetes.

How Effective is Semaglutide for Weight Loss in People without Diabetes?

There are several medications that may help achieve weight loss by suppressing appetite. Still, early data suggest that the weight loss seen with GLP-1s may greatly eclipse its predecessors.

The STEP (Semaglutide Treatment Effect in People with obesity) program, which consisted of several large-scale studies, revealed substantial weight loss among participants. In the STEP 1 trial, individuals who received semaglutide experienced an average weight loss of around 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks. The STEP 4 trial, which focused on individuals with obesity and type 2 diabetes, demonstrated weight loss and, additionally, improvements in blood sugar control.

As mentioned earlier, semaglutide has also shown a reduction in cardiovascular outcomes in obesity, according to the New England Journal of Medicine:

Possible Side Effects of Semaglutide Injections

The common side effects of semaglutide are typically mild — especially when compared to the complications associated with overweight patients and obesity.

Patients who have had thyroid cancer or have a history of pancreatitis should talk to their prescriber before using GLP-1 Drugs
.

People taking semaglutide for weight loss may experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating 
  • Headache

 

Gastrointestinal issues are the most common complaint among people initiating semaglutide. These side effects may be reduced by beginning on a lower dose and then slowly titrating up to the optimal dose.

Remember, semaglutide is not a stand-alone solution for weight loss. It should be viewed as part of a comprehensive approach that includes a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and lifestyle modification. Combining semaglutide with healthy habits may enhance its effectiveness and promote long-term weight maintenance.

Compounded Semaglutide in the East Bay and Beyond

Contact ScriptWorks with questions about the potential of compounded sublingual semaglutide medication. ScriptWorks is the East Bay Area’s premier compounding pharmacy — serving patients statewide throughout California. We work hand-in-hand with CA practitioners to provide patients with custom therapies for optimal patient outcomes.

California Prescribers

Semaglutide Rx Order Form

We make it easy to prescribe semaglutide for your patients through our Semaglutide Rx Order Form. Simply select from our recommended options for each patient.

Learn more about our exclusive formulas available through our Rx Order Forms >>

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