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Semaglutide and Tirzepatide Are Effective For Weight Loss

Skinspirations is thrilled to offer both semaglutide (better known by the brand names of Ozempic and Wegovy) and tirzepatide (brand names Zepbound or Mounjaro) in our weight loss program to help people lose weight and decrease their risk of cardiovascular disease. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, such as semaglutide, and tirzepatide, a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and GLP-1 agonist, are effective for reducing weight and the risk of chronic disease.

Every recent generation has been more overweight than the one preceding it and it’s estimated that by 2030, half of all Americans will be obese. While the increase in consumption of processed foods and less exercise has certainly contributed to the increase in obesity, research is showing that the causes for being overweight are more complicated than “calories out vs. calories in”. Medications that can help people reach and maintain a healthy weight can have a dramatic impact not only on their appearance but also on their health.

Unless you’ve been on a desert island, you’ve no doubt heard about the weight loss seen with the medication semaglutide, better known by the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy. For more than 15 years, it’s been used to treat Type 2 diabetes but the results it has with weight loss have made it a household name. In studies on semaglutide and weight loss, patients lost an average of 6% of their body weight in the first 12 weeks of treatment.

What are GLP-1 agonists?

Semaglutide is a member of the class of medications known as GLP-RAs and it works like the GLP-1 hormone that’s released in the intestines in response to food. The medication increases insulin secretion, lowers blood sugar levels, slows stomach emptying, and decreases appetite.

What is the Skinspirations GLP-1Weight Loss Program?

The program starts with prospective patients filling out an online questionnaire about any medical conditions they have and their current height and weight. Once that’s submitted, they make an appointment for a short consultation in the office to make sure that GLP-1 agonist medication is a good treatment option for them. If it’s determined that they’re a good candidate, they can elect to either do home self-injections or come in weekly and we’ll administer the injections. If they choose self-injections, they’re given 4 or 6 syringes of pre-filled syringes of medication to take home.

Injections are done through tiny insulin needles just below the skin’s surface on the abdomen. If you choose to do self-injections, we’ll show you how to do your own during your first visit and send you home with all the supplies you need.

Because tirzepatide is more expensive than semaglutide, most people choose to use semaglutide.

injection abdomen exosomesBecause the appetite-suppressing effects of semaglutide are greatest a few days after each injection, people who tend to eat the most on weekends are encouraged to have or do their treatments on Wednesday or Thursday.

A low dose is used initially and is usually effective. Starting at the lowest dose helps you to experience fewer side effects. If you stop losing an average of about one pound a week, you can start on the next higher dose. Treatments may be continued for as many months as desired.

What are the possible side effects of treatment with GLP-1 agonists?

Common side effects of GLP-1 medications include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, indigestion, and bloating. The risk of these side effects is reduced by starting at a low dose and following the tips listed below. If you develop discomfort while using the medication, pausing the injections for a week or two or decreasing the dose will usually resolve the problem.

As with any weight loss of more than 10 pounds a month, there is an increased risk of developing gallstones or temporary hair loss.

Symptoms of gallstones may include:

  • Sudden upper abdominal pain that lasts up to several hours and occurs most often after eating fatty foods or at night.
  • Nausea and possibly vomiting.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Belching
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes.

Call your primary doctor immediately if you develop a fever, chills, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Tips to minimize the potential side effects of a GLP-1 weight loss program:

  • Try to get at least 40 grams of protein a day. If you have no appetite, drink high-protein, low-calorie shakes.
  • Make sure you eat a lot of vegetables for fiber every day. Beans, lentils, edamame, and chickpeas are all excellent high-fiber choices that have a lot of protein. If you start to feel constipated and bloated, start taking Miralax or Phillips’ Laxative caplets.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking eight cups of fluids such as water or calorie-free electrolyte beverages per day because high-fiber diets can make you feel bloated if you’re not well hydrated.
  • Drink ginger or peppermint tea, or ginger chews or capsules if you have nausea. If you’re feeling severe nausea or vomiting, call us and we’ll call in a prescription to your preferred pharmacy for nausea medication.
  • Take Tums or other chewable antacid tablets if you experience heartburn.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals, and stop eating before you feel full.
  • Avoid fried or greasy food.
  • Don’t eat too quickly and only drink a small amount of liquid with meals.
  • Don’t lie down soon after eating or eat just before bedtime.
  • If you feel hungry between meals, drink a low-calorie protein shake.

Weight Loss Plateaus

As with any weight loss program, people on GLP-1s eventually hit plateaus where they stop losing weight. Increasing protein and fiber intake while moderately increasing exercise can help people break through a plateau. However, some people may need to switch to another medication if they’re still struggling to reach their desired weight. 

Tirzepatide affects both the GLP-1 and the GIP systems and in some studies has shown higher weight loss than semaglutide. For people no longer seeing results on the maximum dose of semaglutide, switching to tirzepatide may be worthwhile.

Other medications that target different areas of the brain and help with weight loss include topiramate (Topamax) and phentermine (Lomaira). Medications targeting different hormones and receptors to induce weight loss include metformin (Fortament), bupropion/naltrexone (Contrave), and zonisamide (Zonegran). 

 And there are more drugs — like metformin (Fortamet), bupropion/naltrexone (Contrave), and zonisamide (Zonegran) — that all target different hormones and receptors to induce weight loss.

Program Price

The Skinspirations GLP-1 weight loss program fee is based on the type and amount of GLP-1 used and whether you do your own injections or come in weekly for your treatments.
This month, the fees for a package of 4 self-injected semaglutide treatments start at $250 and $320 for tirzepatide. 

If you’re interested in starting our GLP-1 weight loss program, you can make an appointment for a complimentary consultation by calling us or filling out an online appointment request here.