Despite the fact that there is so much buzz about these latest innovations in medical weight loss, there is still a great deal of confusion for many people about what these medications are used for and what they may or may not be FDA-approved for. To answer these questions, we will discuss the different ways they are used, how they work to both treat diabetes and address weight gain and how they can be used safely and effectively for each concern.

Semaglutide for Diabetes

The hormone GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) is produced in the intestines after eating or drinking and stimulates insulin production from the pancreas. Insulin is necessary for the transition of glucose from the bloodstream into cells, which means the whole process ultimately reduces blood sugar levels and helps to regulate diabetes.

Semaglutide belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, which mimic this natural hormone and enhance the secretion of insulin. Along with insulin improvement, semaglutide also slows gastric emptying and helps to prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar levels following meals, another diabetes management strategy. Ozempic, one brand name under which semaglutide is sold, was specifically designed and is FDA-approved for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. There is wide acceptance among medical professionals that it may also help patients, with or without diabetes, combat obesity or weight problems.

Semaglutide for Weight Loss

Since weight loss was technically a “side effect” of the original form of semaglutide, this medication induces weight loss through essentially the same mechanisms it uses to improve diabetes symptoms. As a GLP-1 agonist medication, it effectively controls insulin and in turn blood sugar levels which increases the levels of fat burning. Since this injectable medicine also slows down the emptying of the stomach, the feeling of fullness is extended and calorie consumption is reduced.

Under the supervision of a qualified doctor, patients using semaglutide can see significant weight loss of up to 15 percent or more of their body weight. Semaglutide is prescribed for weight loss under both the Ozempic and Wegovy brand names, but there are differences in FDA approvals and the medication composition.

The Rise of Semaglutide for Weight Loss

These medications have become incredibly popular over the last few years due to their effectiveness, celebrity attention, and prevalent usage. While Ozempic is often the headline, Wegovy was actually approved by the FDA for weight management in 2021 and is specifically dosed and designed for this purpose. A representative from the FDA even stated that Wegovy “offers adults with obesity or overweight a beneficial new treatment option to incorporate into a weight management program” with its approval.

Often referred to as “the skinny shot,” this term can realistically be attributed to any of these medications, although they are not all the same. While Ozempic is FDA-approved for diabetes and is sometimes prescribed off-label for weight loss, it contains a lower dosage of semaglutide than Wegovy.

In contrast, Wegovy is specifically approved for weight management and not for diabetes but is sometimes prescribed for diabetic patients when their physician believes it may be the most beneficial. It’s also important to remember that compounded semaglutide, which may be used in some cases, and other similar but essentially different weight loss drugs may not be FDA-approved at all.

All of this is helpful knowledge, but how does it apply to you and your unique health and weight loss goals?

Let The Experts Weigh In

Doing your own research and due diligence is incredibly important when it comes to making decisions for your health. Ultimately, when it’s time to speak to a professional, it’s also crucial to consult with someone who is qualified and has the experience you need. The experts at Clareo Plastic Surgery, including Dr. Michael Tantillo and Dr. Chris Lee, can be your guide to healthy weight loss that works just right for you. Book your consultation today for a comprehensive look at medical weight loss options.