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Weight Loss Injection Therapy: A New Treatment for Obesity

Semaglutide ™ was FDA approved in June 2021 for treating weight loss.  With so many media outlets touting it as a game-changing phenomenon, it is normal to have questions about whether it really works or not.  Here is what to know about this new medication and how it can help.

What Is Weight Loss Injection Therapy?

Compounded Semaglutide™, a form of weight loss injection therapy, is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring hormone that acts on the brain, regulating your feelings of satisfaction and the amount of food eaten. In short, this glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist lowers your appetite, reducing the amount of food consumed. This results in a lower calorie intake and thus a lower weight over time. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) function as a hormone released in the gastrointestinal tract after eating. Weight loss injection therapy delays stomach emptying, increases the amount of insulin released by the pancreas, and targets brain receptors that reduce appetite. The sensations of fullness last longer compared to satiety with naturally occurring GLP-1 hormone levels.

Who Is Weight Loss Injection Therapy For?

Semaglutide™ in combination with B-12 is a prescription medication provided as an obesity treatment.  The drug's indication is for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or a BMI of 27 and one or more weight-related medical conditions. Those conditions include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.

How effective is treatment with weight loss injection therapy? Results from the STEP 1 trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, producing an average 14.9% reduction in body weight over 68 weeks of treatment. That compares to 2.9% for placebo, 5-9% for other medications, or 5% for lifestyle changes and behavior therapy.

Conversely, who should avoid taking weight loss injection therapy? It has a warning for the risk of a specific thyroid tumor. Anyone with a family or personal history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia types II should avoid using this medication. It is worth noting that tumor observations were in vivo through animal studies but not human trials.

How Long Can You Take Weight Loss Injection Therapy?

Since receiving FDA approval in 2005, GLP-1 RA medications have undergone long-term safety studies, including the ongoing SELECT trial looking into weight loss injection therapy's effects on heart disease and stroke in patients diagnosed as overweight or with obesity. Currently, weight loss injection therapy is one of six long-term obesity medications. Patients can receive weekly injections if it demonstrates a benefit for their weight loss or maintenance and does not create intolerable side effects.

Schedule an Appointment

If you are curious about weight loss injection therapy and how it can help you transform your lifestyle, our team can help. Contact Zuliani Facial Aesthetics by calling our Bloomfield Hills, MI office or filling out our online contact form.