GLP-1 Drugs: Explained
GLP-1 Drugs: Explained
In today’s world, there are thousands of drug options readily available to treat various diseases. One type of medication that has been on the rise within the last few years is GLP-1 drugs. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) drugs are medications used to treat conditions like type 2 diabetes and obesity.
How GLP-1 Medications Function
GLP-1 medications work by mimicking the actions of the GLP-1 hormone in your body. GLP-1 medications exert multiple effects to regulate blood sugar levels. They stimulate insulin secretion, enabling cells to absorb glucose, while inhibiting glucagon secretion, preventing the release of additional glucose into the bloodstream. Additionally, GLP-1 slows down stomach emptying, resulting in a reduced release of glucose from food into the bloodstream.
While GLP-1 medications are often used to treat type 2 diabetes, they are also utilized in the treatment of obesity. There is research to suggest that it may help to improve cardiovascular health, reduce weight, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. As a result of weight loss and with the help of GLP-1 medications, some people may experience additional benefits, including:
- Improved Metabolic Health
- Restoration of Hormones
- Reduced Pain
- Better Lung Function
- Reduced Risk for Stroke or Heart Attack
- Lower Triglycerides
- Improved Mobility
- Less Joint Damage
- Lower Risk of Erectile Dysfunction
- Enhanced Libido
- Higher Self-Esteem
- Better Sleep
Available GLP-1 Medications from BeyondMD
There are two different comprehensive weight loss programs available from BeyondMD that include the intervention of GLP-1 medication. Below is an overview of the two options:
1. Prevail GLP-1 Weight Loss Program (Semaglutide)
Semaglutide, also known by its generic name Wegovy, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise to promote sustainable weight loss. It has demonstrated more potent effects compared to other medications in its class, potentially due to its higher dosage. By binding to brain receptors that regulate hunger and appetite, semaglutide alters food preferences and reduces calorie consumption.
Several clinical trials evaluated semaglutide’s efficacy and safety in overweight or obese individuals, with or without diabetes. These trials incorporated behavioral interventions like counseling on diet and exercise, as well as meal replacements. The largest trial revealed that the group receiving semaglutide achieved a remarkable 12% more weight loss at 28 weeks compared to the placebo. Semaglutide is particularly beneficial for individuals struggling with appetite control and snacking tendencies.
2. Prevail Rapid Weight Loss Program (Tirzepatide)
Tirzepatide works similarly to the other drugs in the GLP-1 family, but it contains an extra molecule that may give it a slight edge.
The medication has a dual-action design, mimicking the action of two unique incretin hormones involved in blood sugar control: glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). This unique dual action makes it the first-in-class medication that acts on both of these receptors.
GIP is a hormone that may complement the effects of GLP-1 receptor agonists. In preclinical models, GIP has been shown to decrease food intake and increase energy expenditure, therefore resulting in weight reductions. When combined with the GLP-1 receptor agonist, GIP usage may have a greater impact on markers of metabolic dysregulation, such as body weight, glucose, and lipids.
Incretin hormones are released whenever food is consumed. Among other things, they help promote a feeling of fullness by delaying gastric emptying and activating the satiety centers of the brain. They also boost insulin production in the pancreas and suppress glucagon production, both of which help normalize blood sugar. All of this happens in a glucose-dependent manner, which means incretin hormones—or their imitators, i.e. GLP-1 and GIP receptor agonists—are unlikely to cause severe hypoglycemia.
What about your natural incretin hormones? Studies have found that overweight or obese individuals may have a reduction in incretin effects, particularly if they have had frequent weight fluctuations due to yo-yo dieting. GLP-1 medication narrows the gap, making it easier to reach your goals and lower your metabolic set point.
B6 is also added in Tirzepatide (10mg/ml). Having been studied in morning sickness and as an overall antiemetic, it has been shown to reduce mild to moderate nausea in patients for decades.
Potential Side Effects
Common side effects of GLP-1 medications include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some people may also experience dizziness, a slightly increased heart rate, infections, headaches, and upset stomach. It’s important to note that GLP-1 medications can increase satiety, and if you continue eating while feeling full, you may experience temporary, mild nausea. If nausea occurs, your healthcare provider may gradually adjust your dosage. As most GLP-1 medications are administered via subcutaneous injections, there may be itchiness or redness at the injection site. However, this class of medications carries a low risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels.
In some people, GLP-1 medications may be contraindicated, including those with a personal and/or family history of a family history of medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasias, or acute pancreatitis. Additionally, pregnant individuals and those with severe allergic reactions to GLP-1 medications, gastroparesis, or inflammatory bowel disease should not take these medications.
Key Takeaways on GLP-1 Medications
- GLP-1 medications are often used to treat both type 2 diabetes and obesity
- GLP-1 medications work by mimicking the actions of the GLP-1 hormone in your body.
- Most GLP-1 medications are injectable, and the two available from BeyondMD are Semaglutide and Tirzepatide.
- Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Contraindications with GLP-1 medications include a family history of medullary thyroid cancer or other endocrine neoplasias, a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis, severe allergic reactions, current pregnancy, gastroparesis, or inflammatory bowel disease.
If you’re looking for weight loss support and healthcare resources, consider exploring BeyondMD. BeyondMD provides weight loss and management telehealth services, connecting you with providers who can assist with weight loss, including prescribing and providing GLP-1 medications when needed. To find out more about BeyondMD and the available options for you, book your introductory consultation with a weight loss specialist today!