The Rise of GLP-1 Medications and Your Weight Loss Journey

GLP-1 medications have been a hot topic online, and it’s understandable that there might be some confusion or questions. My interest in them began during my studies, where I researched every clinical trial and scientific paper I could find. This passion led me to pursue a career specializing in this field. Additionally, I’ve personally used Saxenda, Wegovy, and Zepbound and experienced positive results.

This unique perspective, both as a healthcare professional and someone who has used these medications, allows me to share valuable insights and practical tips to help you get the most out of GLP-1 treatment.

My goal is to make GLP-1 medications clear and understandable. I want to empower you with the knowledge you need to decide if they’re a good fit for your weight loss journey. By combining my expertise with my personal experience, I hope to help you make informed decisions about your health.

What are GLP-1 medications?

GLP-1 medications, or glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, have been around since 2005 for treating type 2 diabetes in the US. One of their side effects is weight loss. In 2014, the FDA approved the first GLP-1 medication specifically for weight management.

Popularity and Insurance Coverage

The recent surge in popularity of these medications has created some confusion. It’s important to note that medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro are primarily for diabetes and may not be covered by insurance for weight loss. Additionally, due to high demand, their availability can be limited.

Saxenda, Wegovy, and Zepbound, on the other hand, are FDA-approved for weight loss and might be covered by insurance, depending on your plan. However, always check with your provider for specific coverage details.

Types of GLP-1 Medications

There are three main GLP-1 medications approved  for weight loss:

  • Liraglutide (Saxenda): This daily injection helps manage blood sugar, increase satiety (feeling full), and reduce cravings. It shows a slightly lower average weight loss compared to other options after a year.
  • Semaglutide (Wegovy): This once-weekly injection offers longer-lasting effects and leads to a slightly higher average weight loss than liraglutide due to its stronger blood sugar control.
  • Terzepatide (Zepbound): This is the newest option, combining GLP-1 and GIP mechanisms for potentially better blood sugar control and weight reduction. It’s administered weekly via injection.
Is a GLP-1 medication right for me?

Consulting with your doctor is crucial to determine if a GLP-1 medication is a good fit for you and to choose the right option. While online clinics offering prescriptions exist, it’s best to avoid them. Starting any medication comes with potential side effects, and your doctor should do a physical exam and review your lab work before prescribing. They will also monitor your progress.

What to expect when starting?

Using a pen injector can be intimidating initially, but injections are typically minimally painful, if at all. Side effects can include nausea, dizziness, dehydration, or flu-like symptoms. Some may experience increased fullness and reduced cravings. Natural remedies can help manage these side effects, and discussing them with your doctor is important.

As your appetite decreases, focusing on a healthy, nutrient-rich diet becomes crucial to ensure your body gets the essential vitamins and minerals it needs.

Insurance Coverage and Costs
If your insurance plan includes coverage for weight loss medications, they might be covered. However, some insurers might require prior authorization from your physician. It’s wise to contact your insurance provider directly to understand the specifics of your coverage. For those without insurance, the cost of these medications can carry a steep price tag, with a monthly out-of-pocket expense around $1,000, which might be financially challenging for many.
Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Saxenda and Wegovy, has currently halted any discount programs due to the variable availability of these medications. In addition, locating a pharmacy with these products available can be challenging, even for those prepared to pay the full price. On the other hand, Eli Lilly, which produces Zepbound—a newer drug on the market—has not yet faced such high demand issues. Additionally, Eli Lilly offers a savings card that can reduce the out-of-pocket cost by about 50%, making it a more accessible option for some patients. This may become challenging to find in the future as well since the demand for these medications has outweighed the ability to manufacture them.


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