Obesity is a major public health concern that affects millions of people worldwide and is continuously emerging as an enormous problem. From using diabetes drugs to other medications, people often indulge in various ways to combat this problem. As obesity is a complex condition influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and environment, there is a need for a variety of different treatment options. To do so, new drugs are constantly being developed and researched to help individuals manage their weight. , , CONNECTION, One class of drugs that are currently commercially available for the treatment of obesity are GLP-1 analogues, also known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists. GLP-1 analogues promote insulin secretion and decrease glucose production in the liver by increasing the levels of incretin hormones, GLP-1 and GIP (glucose-dependent, insulinotropic polypeptide). , , These medications are primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes, but they have also been shown to cause weight loss in individuals with obesity. GLP-1 analogues are a class of medications that are approved by the FDA for the treatment of obesity. , , They work by slowing gastric emptying, leading to a feeling of fullness and a decreased appetite. This leads to weight loss as the individual is not consuming as much food as before. One of the most widely used GLP-1 analogues is liraglutide, which is available as an injection under the brand name Saxenda. Lira-glutide has been shown to cause weight loss of an average of 4-5 kg over a period of 56 weeks and is approved by the FDA for weight loss. Another GLP-1 receptor agonist that is commercially available is exenatide, which is available in two forms: once-weekly and twice-daily injections under the brand names Byetta and Bydureon. Exenatide has been shown to cause weight loss in individuals with obesity, with an average weight loss of 3–4 kg over a period of 26 weeks. , Semaglutide (Ozempic) is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, also known as a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist. Semaglutide is available as a once-weekly subcutaneous injection and has been shown to cause weight loss in individuals with obesity. , , In clinical trials, semaglutide has been shown to cause weight loss of an average of 8.4% over a period of 68 weeks. This is a significant amount of weight loss that has been sustained over a longer period of time. Sema-, glutide stimulates the release of insulin and suppresses glucagon secretion in the pancreas, resulting in decreased glucose production in the liver and improved insulin sensitivity. It also slows gastric emphasizing, leading to a feeling of fullness and decreased appetite. The weight loss effect of Semaglutide is not limited to diabetes patients; it has been shown to be effective in weight loss in individuals with obesity without diabetes as well. It’s worth mentioning that Semaglutide has been shown to have a greater weight loss effect in comparison to other medications for weight loss. Tirzepatide works by binding to GLP-1 and GIP receptors in the pancreas, which stimulates the release of insulin and suppresses glucose secretion, leading to decreased glucose production in the liver and improved insulin sensitivity. In a phase IIb study, individuals with obesity treated with Tirzepa-T lost an average of 12.4% of their body weight over a period of 56 weeks. This is a significant amount of weight loss and is considered to be clinically meaningful. , Side effects, These medications are not without side effects, and they are not suitable for everyone. The most common side effects are nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. These side effects usually subside after a few weeks of treatment. However, individuals who have had a history of pancreatitis should not take GLP-1 agonists. Take Away, In conclusion, GLP-1 receptor agonists are currently commercially available drugs for the treatment of obesity. Drugs like liraglutide, semaglutide, and exenatide are FDA-approved and have been shown to cause weight loss in individuals with obesity. They work by decreasing appetite and food intake, which leads to weight loss. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any medication and to adopt a holistic approach to weight loss. Dr. Sanjay Agarwal is a diabetologist in his senior year.
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