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Understanding How Tirzepatide and Semaglutide Can Help You Lose Weight

Oct 09, 2023
Understanding How Tirzepatide and Semaglutide Can Help You Lose Weight
The names are hard to pronounce, and both were developed to manage diabetes, but these meds have shown significant success in helping with weight loss. Who can take them, how do they work, and what results can you expect?

Whether you’re interested because of your health, are focused on the aesthetic rewards, or both, weight loss is not easy. Tirzepatide and semaglutide can help. So, what makes these medications different from others?

Gerard Acloque, Jr., MD, is a primary care physician and medical aesthetics specialist here at Florida Concierge Medicine & Wellness in Hollywood, Florida. He focuses his medical expertise on helping our patients achieve their healthiest life, which often includes diabetes prevention and management as well as weight loss.

Here, Dr. Acloque explains how tirzepatide and semaglutide work and their potential benefits for achieving a healthy weight.

Understanding the basics

Both tirzepatide and semaglutide belong to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. GLP-1 is a naturally occurring peptide hormone produced in the gut when you eat. 

Specific roles of GLP-1 include:

Insulin secretion

GLP-1 stimulates the secretion of insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Appetite regulation

GLP-1 sends signals to the brain that promote feelings of fullness or satiety, leading to reduced food intake.

Delay in stomach emptying

GLP-1 slows the rate at which food leaves the stomach, further enhancing the feeling of fullness after meals.

Protection of beta cells

GLP-1 has protective effects on the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

As GLP-1 agonists, tirzepatide and semaglutide mimic the effects of natural GLP-1 but with a prolonged action, making them suitable for managing type 2 diabetes and weight loss.

However, while tirzepatide and semaglutide can aid in weight loss, they are not magic bullets. Their efficacy is magnified when combined with a balanced diet and regular physical activity.

Tirzepatide for weight control

Tirzepatide (brand name Mounjaro) is a newer GLP-1 agonist. Though its primary focus has been the treatment of type 2 diabetes, weight loss has been a notable side effect.

Delivered via weekly injection, tirzepatide is FDA cleared for treating type 2 diabetes. It’s currently in the FDA’s fast-track approval program to aid weight loss.

Weight loss over 72 weeks varies according to the weekly dose: 15% for a 5 mg dose, 19.5% for a 10 mg dose, and 20.9% for a 15 mg dose.

Semaglutide basics

Semaglutide (brand names Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus) is FDA cleared for lowering blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes, and aiding in robust weight loss.

When used at higher doses for weight management and combined with improved diet and increased physical activity, people have lost 10-15% of their body weight over a year.

Most side effects, like nausea and diarrhea, are mild and transient. They generally decrease over time as the body adjusts to the medication. Semaglutide is versatile enough for those with or without diabetes, widening its applicability.

Semaglutide may also offer cardiovascular benefits, especially crucial for people with type 2 diabetes who are at increased risk of heart disease.

Rybelsus is an oral medication taken once daily and used along with diet and exercise to help manage type 2 diabetes.

Ozempic (for managing type 2 diabetes) is initially injected once per week at 0.25 mg and can be increased after four weeks to 0.5 mg. Depending on your response, Ozempic can be increased to 1.0 mg after another four weeks.

The dose for Wegovy, delivered via injection, starts at 0.25 mg once a week, increasing by 0.25 mg increments each week, up to a weekly maintenance dose of 2.4 mg.

Individual responses can vary in all cases, and not everyone will experience the same results. These prescription medications also require regular monitoring by Dr. Acloque since doses will need to be adjusted.

For expert health care, including weight loss and diabetes management or both, schedule a visit with Dr. Acloque at Florida Concierge Medicine & Wellness today. Call us or request an appointment online.