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GLP-1 agonists were approved by the FDA for weight loss in late 2014. It’s a newer class of drugs better known for its ability to improve blood-sugar control. These medications  were actually designed to treat type II diabetes, but some have also been FDA approved to treat weight loss. The GLP-1 agonists we work with are called Semaglutide & Tirzepatide. Semaglutide is also known Ozempic or Wegovy. Tirzepatide is known as Mounjaro.


  • Helps slow food leaving your stomach

  • Helps prevent your liver from making too much sugar

  • Helps the pancreas produce more insulin when your blood sugar levels are high

  • Can help control blood glucose

  • Can reduce hyperglycemia, especially after meals

  • Can reduce fasting insulin and fasting glucose

  • Can reduce hemoglobin A1c

  • Can decrease appetite and caloric intake, while inhibiting weight gain

  • Has been shown to lower triglyceride levels and oxidative stress from high LDL

  • Has been shown to help induce weight loss in obese patients with higher dosing

  • Helps decrease leptin and increase leptin sensitivity

  • Can increase the conversion of white fat to brown fat

The addition of GLP-1 agonists to calorie restriction significantly augmented weight loss and improved insulin resistance, systolic blood pressure, glucose, and triglyceride concentration in this population at high risk for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


These medications fall into the GLP-1 agonist class of drugs. GLP-1 stands for Glucagon-like peptide 1. GLP-1 is secreted when we consume carbohydrates and fats. It stimulates the release of insulin, suppression of glucagon, slower gastric emptying, and increased satiety (fullness). Tirzepatide is also known as a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP).  

Both of those hormones are released when we eat food. When eating carbs or sugar our body recognizes these nutrients and it releases the GLP-1 and GIP hormones that then stimulate our pancreas to release insulin. The appetite center in the brain also recognizes this and turns on the "sense of fullness" sensation so we stop eating. 

Both Semaglutide & Tirzepatide affect these receptors and causes changes to various hormones involved in regulating appetite and body weight: insulin, glucagon, and leptin.




In clinical trials, the most common side effects observed in patients treated with these medications were nausea, low blood sugar, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, headache, decreased appetite, upset stomach, fatigue, dizziness, and abdominal pain.

In addition, some patients who took these medications reported other side effects including pancreatitis, gallbladder disease and renal impairment. You should stop taking it if you notice an increase in your resting heart rate that continues over time.


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Frías JP, Davies MJ, Rosenstock J, Pérez Manghi FC, Fernández Landó L, Bergman BK, Liu B, Cui X, Brown K; SURPASS-2 Investigators. Tirzepatide versus Semaglutide Once Weekly in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. N Engl J Med. 2021 Aug 5;385(6):503-515. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2107519. Epub 2021 Jun 25. PMID: 34170647.

Jastreboff AM, Aronne LJ, Ahmad NN, Wharton S, Connery L, Alves B, Kiyosue A, Zhang S, Liu B, Bunck MC, Stefanski A; SURMOUNT-1 Investigators. Tirzepatide Once Weekly for the Treatment of Obesity. N Engl J Med. 2022 Jul 21;387(3):205-216. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2206038. Epub 2022 Jun 4. PMID: 35658024.

Heise T, Mari A, DeVries JH, Urva S, Li J, Pratt EJ, Coskun T, Thomas MK, Mather KJ, Haupt A, Milicevic Z. Effects of subcutaneous tirzepatide versus placebo or semaglutide on pancreatic islet function and insulin sensitivity in adults with type 2 diabetes: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, parallel-arm, phase 1 clinical trial. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2022 Jun;10(6):418-429. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(22)00085-7. Epub 2022 Apr 22. PMID: 35468322.

Nauck, M.A., D‘Alessio, D.A. Tirzepatide, a dual GIP/GLP-1 receptor co-agonist for the treatment of type 2 diabetes with unmatched effectiveness regrading glycaemic control and body weight reduction. Cardiovasc Diabetol 21, 169 (2022).

GLP-1 agonists: Diabetes drugs and weight loss

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