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What are GLP-1 Receptor Agonists?

An individual who has not seen results with medications like metformin or sulfonylureas for controlling blood sugar may use glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists as a class of medications initially approved for type 2 diabetes treatment. To control blood sugar levels, diabetic drugs are used in conjunction with a diet and exercise plan. Incretin mimicking is the process of enhancing the production of natural hormones, such as GLP-1 agonists. During your lab workup, the Weight Loss Coach will request a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test to determine whether you have diabetes.


Following an intake of food, the small intestine releases GLP-1, a naturally occurring hormone. Upon consuming these drugs, the body secretes more insulin and inhibits glucagon when blood sugar levels rise after eating. People with type 2 diabetes benefit from the extra insulin because it lowers their blood sugar levels. In addition, GLP-1 delays the emptying of the stomach, allowing glucose to remain in the stomach for a longer period.

GLP-1 - Glucagon-Like Peptide-1: How Does It Work?

GLP-1 drugs, despite being developed as a diabetes medication, have been authorised to treat obesity in persons with a BMI of more than 27. They have comorbidities or those with a BMI of more than 30. You can decrease your risk of other diseases by taking GLP-1 medications, which work by regulating your body's natural GLP-1 receptors. In addition to lowering blood sugar after meals, GLP-1s reduce appetite by binding to receptors in the brain. Chemicals released by these receptors reduce hunger by diminishing your desire to eat. Human bodies do not store GLP-1s for long because they are natural chemicals. Even though your body produces GLP-1s on its own, taking them can help reduce your weight.

GLP-1s, when used as directed with lifestyle modifications, including a healthy diet and exercise, can help you lose 15% of your weight in 12 months compared to a placebo, according to studies. A lack of lifestyle changes will minimise this efficacy. Research has shown that certain types of GLP-1 medications can also improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and kidney and liver function in people who take them for weight loss, as well as significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, including heart failure and stroke, and kidney disease.

GLP-1 drugs can improve weight loss and type 2 diabetes due to their metabolic regulating effects. GLP-1RAs can provide a lot of benefits like Insulin levels can be improved, sex hormone levels can be regulated, blood lipid profiles can be improved, adiponectin levels can be boosted, autophagy can be regulated, liver glucose cannot form, liver fat can be reduced, plasma liver enzymes can be reduced, and liver steatosis can be reduced. Furthermore, they can be used to treat metabolic diseases such as PCOS and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and prevent endocrine abnormalities.

How to use GLP-1 medication?

There are two types of GLP-1 medications: injections and oral medications. You may ask your provider if you should stick to oral medications if you have concerns about injectables.


Pen injector syringes are commonly used for administering GLP-1 medications under the skin. You can inject GLP-1 medications at home without a healthcare provider or clinician. It involves injecting short- and long-acting GLP-1 receptor agonists into fatty tissue beneath the skin.

What are the side effects of GLP-1 medications?

Most people who take GLP-1 medications do not experience any side effects. Over 95% of people who take these medications do not show any side effects. The most common side effect is nausea or indigestion, which usually resolves within the first month.


Nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, headache, tiredness, dyspepsia, dizziness, abdominal distention, and eructation are other common side effects of taking GLP-1 medicines. Additionally, taking GLP-1 while taking another similar medication can increase your risk of hypoglycemia or acute kidney injury.


In patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2), the GLP-1 class of drugs isn't recommended. Additionally, they shouldn't be taken if you have had pancreatitis. Talk to your primary care provider if you have concerns regarding your family history and ability to take GLP-1 receptor agonist medications.

Understanding GLP-1 Dosing

You will progress through the Weight Loss Coach’s program by building up the dose of your GLP-1 injections until you reach the full dose, which your healthcare professional (either an MD or NP) will prescribe. As a result, any side effects associated with the medication are minimized.


Medication dosages are increased for certain medications. Saxenda, for instance, contains a higher dose of liraglutide than Victoza.

Types of GLP-1 Medications

GLP-1 receptor agonists come in short-acting and long-acting forms. Short-acting formulas should be taken one or twice a day, while long-acting formulas should be taken once a week. Prescription decisions are influenced by medical history, insurance coverage, price (GLP-1 receptor agonists are expensive), personal preference, and effectiveness in controlling blood sugar levels.

Alternative Medications

The GLP-1 category includes multiple weight-loss drugs, including Mounjaro (tirzepatide). Among the other medications that contain GLP-1 are: