Losing weight can be a challenging journey, as many individuals who have attempted it can attest. Losing a significant amount of weight or even just a few pounds can be a challenging task for anyone, but our bodies, age, genetics, and metabolism can sometimes make it even more challenging. Even when we feel like we’re making significant efforts, watching our calorie intake and exercising for weight loss can be underwhelming and leave us frustrated and discouraged.
Over the years, pharmaceutical companies have been trying to come up with a solution that offers individuals help with their weight loss journey. Up until recently, there really were no good options that were both safe and effective. The FDA approved the first weight loss injection in 2017, the second one in 2021, and another one is currently on the “fast track” and is likely to be approved before the end of 2023.
In this article, we are going to talk about these new prescription options for weight loss, including a bit of their history, how they are used, and their weight loss potential. For those of you considering these new medications, we hope that this information is helpful in determining what is the best injection for weight loss for your unique circumstances.
The History Of Weight Loss Injections
All of the increasingly popular weight loss injections were initially developed as type 2 diabetes treatments. The positive side effects of weight loss became clear as patients received these drugs to help control their blood sugar. For many patients, losing weight improved the obesity-related diseases they suffered from, or they experienced complete remission, eliminating the need for medication. Currently, there are two FDA-approved injections for weight loss: Saxenda and Wegovy. Mounjaro is a similar medication that has been approved for use to control blood sugar in diabetic patients and is currently pending approval for weight loss purposes. Here is an overview of each of these medications:
to see the entire table
|Active Ingredient||Brand Name and FDA Approval Date For Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes||Brand Name For Treatment of Obesity||FDA-Approved for Weight Loss||Dosing Schedule|
* SlimMed is a compounded semaglutide
Understanding Compounded Semaglutide
Semaglutide that has been customized for a specific person by a special pharmacy (compounding) is called compounded semaglutide. These pharmacies can customize the injection for a particular patient, offering individualized dosages and the chance to alter the prescription to better meet their needs.
The ability to personalize these prescription injections can increase their effectiveness and may be a more flexible and affordable option than the name-brand equivalents. In addition to being budget-friendly, compounded semaglutide has remained readily available, and sources have not been significantly affected by the continuous shortages that have plagued the name-brand version.
How Do The Best Injections For Weight Loss Work?
The drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes that have been approved for weight loss are glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. (a class of drugs). Simply put, they are quite similar to the human hormone glucagon-like peptide 1. When it is injected into our bodies, it imitates the effects of the hormone.
We need to understand the body’s hormonal response to food in order to better grasp how these medications function. The hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 is part of a hormone family responsible for insulin secretion in our bodies. This set of hormones is referred to as “glucagon-like” since they share some characteristics with one another and come from the same source.
Although the pancreas also releases it in small amounts, the small intestine’s lining cells produce the majority of the GLP-1 hormone. GLP-1 also communicates with the brain, creating satiety between meals and slowing down the digestive process to help individuals feel full longer. These hormones also prompt the liver to break down stored glucose and send it into the bloodstream; they transform some amino acids into glucose; and they promote the utilization of stored fat (triglycerides).
When these prescription medications are introduced into the body, they jumpstart these processes and create a more efficiently run system. This is extremely helpful to those patients whose metabolism is not functioning properly due to underlying conditions that hinder their attempts at weight loss.
Which Shot For Weight Loss Was Approved First?
- Liraglutide (Victoza And Saxenda)
- The prescription medication liraglutide, sold under the brand name Victoza, was the first GLP-1 receptor agonist to be approved by the FDA (2010) for the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes. The identical prescription drug was approved by the FDA in 2017 under the trade name Saxenda for the purposes of weight management. Saxenda is injected once daily under the skin into a “fatty” area such as the stomach, thigh, or back of the upper arm.
- Semaglutide (Ozempic And Wegovy)
- Semaglutide, also known as Ozempic, is a prescription drug that has been approved by the FDA since 2017 for the management of type 2 diabetes in patients. The FDA granted approval to Wegovy® in June 2021 for the treatment of obesity. The Wegovy® weight loss shot is administered by patients once a week using a preloaded, one-time-use injection pen. Most patients choose to administer their weight loss shots into their abdominal area by pinching a roll of fat and injecting it under their skin.
- Compounded Semaglutide (SlimMed)
- Surgicare Arts & Aesthetics’ compounded weight loss injection SlimMed combines the fat-burning supplement Levocarnitine with the prescription drug semaglutide. (the same main ingredient found in the name brand Wegovy). These subcutaneous injections are given once weekly using prefilled syringes.
- Tirzepatide (Mounjaro)
- The FDA gave its blessing to this novel therapy for diabetes in May 2022. Two hormones in the human body, called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), are the prime regulators of blood sugar levels. Mounjaro is the first drug to mimic and stimulate both of these natural receptors, and clinical trials demonstrated its superiority to other diabetic treatments in regulating blood sugar levels. Although the FDA has not yet green-lighted the use of Mounjaro to treat obesity, the drug is reportedly on the “fast track” for approval, and experts have indicated approval may be granted before the end of 2023. Administration of Mounjaro is the same as semaglutide through weekly injections.
How Does Dosing Differ Between Weight Loss Injections?
The best injections for weight loss are administered through a specific dosing schedule that starts with a low dose and escalates to the highest approved dose over a series of months. This is done to mitigate the common side effects of nausea and vomiting frequently associated with these weight loss prescriptions. Patients take each dose strength for four weeks before transitioning to a higher dose. The acclimation schedule for all these medications takes around five months, with the exception of Mounjaro, which is completed over a six-month time frame.
What Is The Best Injection For Weight Loss According To Clinical Trials?
The short answer is Mounjaro; even though it is not yet approved for weight management, it surpassed other weight loss injections in weight loss results. The first clinical trial that included 2,539 patients taking a 15-mg dose of Mounjaro resulted in most losing approximately 22.5% of their total body weight, or an average of 54 pounds. This was a larger percentage of total body weight than the 15.8% experienced by semaglutide (Wegovy) patients during their 68-week trial. In last place in the weight loss race is liraglutide, which yields an average loss of 6.4%.
If you are wondering what is the best injection for weight loss for you, the comparison chart below may be helpful.
to see the entire table
|Name Of Prescription Medication||Name Of Brand||Administration Schedule||Escalating Dosing Schedule in Milligrams for Each Four-Week Period||Average Percentage of Total Body Weight Loss Per Clinical Trials|
|Liraglutide||Saxenda||Once a day||0.6 / 1.2 / 1.8 / 2.4 / 3||6%|
|Semaglutide||Wegovy||Once a week||0.25 / 0.5 / 1 / 1.7 / 2.4||16%|
|SlimMed||Once a week||0.25 / 0.5 / 1 / 1.7 / 2.4||16%|
|Tirzepatide||Mounjaro||Once a week||2.5 / 5 / 7.5 / 10||22%|
Side Effects And Potential Downsides
Common side effects are temporary and include an upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. There are also some serious known but rare side effects; however, some of these medications have not been tested long-term.
A potential drawback to these new weight loss injections is that patients might rely on them to maintain their weight rather than learn to control their portions and alter their unhealthy eating habits or sedentary lifestyles. To achieve sustainable weight loss, patients must develop good behavioral habits that extend beyond diet and exercise, such as getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and managing their level of stress.
Patients who have tried and failed with conventional weight loss treatments may benefit from weight loss injections. These prescription injections can help you lose a significant amount of weight and improve your health when used in conjunction with a balanced diet and regular exercise. The best injection for weight loss may also be combined with a non-surgical weight loss procedure for optimal results.
If you would like to learn more about how prescription injections could benefit your journey to better health or wonder what is the best injection for weight loss for your circumstances, contact SurgiCare Arts & Aesthetics today! We would love the opportunity to talk with you during a personal consultation and share the best options with you.