Losing weight can be a struggle for many people, especially with those who have underlying issues. However, new medications are coming out to help you better control your weight and live a healthier life. One medication such as GLP-1 may even come with the benefit of helping you control your type 2 diabetes. This article will help you better understand GLP-1 agonists to determine if this is the right treatment option for you and your weight loss goals.
GLP-1 Agonist Overview
The GLP-1 agonist is a medication known as an incretin mimetic, an incretin-based medicine to treat type 2 diabetes. This medication is based on the action of incretins (a hormone), which can control how well the pancreas works. GLP-1 is one type of incretin responsible for producing insulin after eating and keeping your glucose levels where they are supposed to be. While the GLP-1 naturally produced in the body can only last a few minutes, medicines like GLP-1 receptor agonists can last for hours or even days.
There are several benefits to using this type of medication to treat type 2 diabetes and manage weight.
These benefits include:
- Increase the insulin that is made by the pancreas.
- Decreases glucagon, the hormone responsible for releasing glucose from the liver.
- Regulates hunger hormones to help you feel full after a meal, enhance your diet, and intermittently fast.
- Slows the process of emptying the stomach’s contents into the intestines, which can help lower your blood glucose levels after eating a meal.
GLP-1 Agonist Uses (Benefits)
GLP-1 agonists can mimic the natural effects of GLP-1 on the various functions of the body. This section will take a look at how this medication can be used to help you.
The GLP-1 agonist can signal the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for your appetite, to take in less food. This can lead to weight loss.
This medication can stimulate gluconeogenesis, which is the synthesis of glucose that naturally occurs in the body. To put this simply, this is the conversion of fat or protein (instead of carbohydrates) to sugar, which is then used by the body for fuel. By stimulating this process, you can lower blood sugar levels and help the body more efficiently use insulin.
GLP-1 will trigger the pancreas to secrete extra insulin when it comes into contact with glucose. This then causes the body to lower post-meal blood sugar levels. It can also decrease the secretion of glucagon, which can cause glucose blood levels to increase in those who have type 2 diabetes.
GLP-1 can lower the output of hepatic (liver) glucose. This can help lower the blood sugars in the system. The glucagon receptors are reduced in the liver, which lowers glucose present in the blood.
Stomach & Weight Loss
GLP-1 can not only decrease the secretion of stomach acid, but it can also decrease the speed at which the food is emptied from the stomach. This can cause you to feel fuller longer, reducing your appetite and helping you to lose weight. On June 4, 2021, the FDA approved GLP-1 for chronic weight management, one of the first approved treatments since 2014.
GLP-1 Agonist Side Effects
These medications are considered to be safe and don’t often cause side effects. Many of the more common side effects are most likely to occur with short-acting forms of these medications and when you start taking this medicine. As you take this medication for a longer period of time, these side effects will be reduced.
Some common side effects of this medication include:
- Redness, minor itching, and soreness at the site of injection
There are some more serious side effects that you should be aware of. These are rare side effects, but you should seek out medical attention right away. These serious side effects include:
- Extreme thirst
- Parched mouth or skin
- Ongoing pain in the upper left or the middle part of your stomach that spreads to your back, whether you have vomiting or not.
- Decreased urination
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the face, mouth, throat, ankles, feet, or tongue
This medication is not for everyone. Some people should not take this medication, including people:
- with a history of pancreatitis or a history of paralysis of the stomach (gastroparesis).
- medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2, or a family history of either of these conditions.
- who are on dialysis.
GLP-1 Agonist Dosage
The exact dosage you will be prescribed of the GLP-1 agonist can depend on the individual patient and their medication. The doctor will carefully consider your specific situation and then determine the dosage amount best suits your needs. The doctor will monitor the dosage and then make adjustments as necessary. You should talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about the dosage or any side effects that you may be having.
GLP-1 agonist medications are injectable medications, which means that they are taken by a syringe or with a pre-filled dosing pen. These injections are administered subcutaneously, which means into the fatty tissue under the skin. If you can inject this medication yourself, you should administer the medication through either your thigh or abdomen. If not, you should have someone else administer the medication into your upper arm.
GLP-1 agonist can be a highly effective treatment for weight loss, giving you a solution that can help you better control your weight. When used with a proper diet and exercise regimen, GLP-1 agonist can help you control your blood sugar levels better and can help treat type 2 diabetes. Your doctor or a qualified telemedicine hormone specialist like EVOLVE can help you determine if adding GLP-1 agonist can help give you the best results for controlling your weight and blood sugar.
If you’re ready to control your blood sugar levels and get help losing weight, contact EVOLVE patient care to schedule your intake.