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New hormonal medication proven to be a highly effective, new medical therapy to lose excess body weight.

Wegovy is a hormonal medication, developed to take once week.   To better understand the human gut hormone–Glucagon-like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) here are some basics:

When food goes into our stomach then gets absorbed, our gut puts many hormones to work.  One of those hormones is GLP-1, it stimulates the release of insulin to control blood sugar.   GLP-1 also slows down the stomach’s emptying of food. It goes into the brain and tells us that we are getting full. It also increases our metabolism and keeps us full for longer.  The GLP-1 peptide (chain of amino acids-protein) is only available in the bloodstream for 2 to 3 minutes then it is broken apart.

17 years ago, Exenitide was first introduced, this peptide stimulates the same nerve and other receptors as GLP-1 but stays active for 3-4 hours. It was the first of an exciting new treatment for people with type two diabetes.  It lowers blood sugar and mildly decreased weight.

After extensive research, other GLP-1 formulations were introduced lasting for 1 full day (one is Liraglutide). The newest forms are lasting up to 7 days (one is Semaglutide). Both forms were proven to be very effective in treating type 2 diabetes. More research proved Liraglutide once a day in higher doses gave greater weight loss and could be used both in type 2 diabetes and non-diabetics with good results.

In 2021, Novo Nordisk did a large study which showed that a once weekly formulation of GLP-1 (Semaglutide) is our strongest medical intervention to help people control the disease of obesity with good weight management. The STEP trial showed us that almost 1/3 of the people on the active medication reached a 30% loss from their starting weight.

The once-a-day GLP-1 is Saxenda and the once weekly GLP-1 is Wegovy.


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Want to know more? Here are other blog posts by obesity pharmacist, Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA: