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GLP-1 for Weight Loss Treatment: Is it Safe?


Glucagon-like peptide-1, or GLP-1, is a hormone that is essential for managing glucose metabolism and energy balance. This makes it a key element in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes and obesity issues. The introduction of GLP-1 receptor agonists resulted in extraordinary breakthroughs in diabetes care, giving advantages that surpass standard treatments. 


What is GLP-1? 


It is a hormone produced in the gut in response to food. GLP-1 plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels. When you eat, and your blood sugar rises, GLP-1 kicks into action by signalling the pancreas to release insulin. This helps shuttle glucose into cells, fuelling them with energy. But that’s not all; GLP-1 also slows down gastric emptying, the time that food takes to empty out of the stomach, which helps moderate the rise in blood glucose after meals. Additionally, it curbs the secretion of glucagon, a hormone that would otherwise increase glucose production by the liver, ensuring overall blood sugar levels stay balanced. 


What is the role of GLP-1 Receptor Agonists? 


GLP-1 receptor agonists, found in Wegovy and Mounjaro injections take the natural benefits of the GLP-1 hormone and enhance them, offering a longer duration of action. These agonists boost insulin response when blood sugar is high and simultaneously reduce glucagon release, effectively controlling glucose levels. They also aid in managing appetite by slowing down the digestive process, which can help you feel full for longer. 

GLP-1 receptor agonists have shown significant efficacy in lowering HbA1c levels, a marker of long-term glucose management. Originally, GLP-1 agonists were primarily prescribed for type 2 diabetes treatment. However, over time, researchers observed that these drugs appeared to have the side effect of reducing appetite and aiding weight loss. This prompted further investigation into their potential as weight loss medications. 

Ozempic, widely used by patients in the UK to manage their blood sugar levels, has been reported to cause weight loss. However, it is not licenced for weight loss in the UK. Instead, another drug with a GLP-1 receptor agonist, has received approval for weight loss in the UK under the brand name ‘Wegovy’. Additionally, a new weight loss drug called Mounjaro (tirzepatide) has been recently approved in the UK. SemaPen offers both a Wegovy weight-loss programme and a Mounjaro weight-loss programme. 


Safety and Side Effects


Although GLP-1 receptor agonists are generally well-tolerated, they can occasionally cause gastrointestinal issues such as nausea and vomiting, as reported in clinical trials. 

 For more detailed information on medication side effects, please visit our side effects page. It’s important to recognise the promising benefits that GLP-1 agonists offer individuals managing Type 2 diabetes and obesity. However, they are most effective when integrated with other lifestyle adjustments, such as dietary changes and consistent physical activity.

Consulting with a doctor or approved weight loss provider with clinical backup is crucial in determining whether a GLP-1 agonist may be suitable for you, based on your individual health concerns and goals.  

SemaPen, part of the Phoenix Health Group (an NHS-trusted bariatric provider), is committed to guiding you towards the option that best suits your weight loss needs. To begin, we advise to check your suitability for our weight loss programme.  Alternatively, if you are already receiving treatment from another weight reduction service, you can effortlessly transition to our weight loss programme. We offer online services, so you can place your order conveniently. We also offer automatic subscription benefits to our patients. 

For more information and to discover how these treatments can help manage weight loss effectively, check out our blog posts on Mounjaro and Wegovy.

Are you prepared for the SemaPen weight loss programme? Take the first step towards achieving your health goals today. 



References: (2024). Study of GLP-1 Receptor Agonist in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity. Retrieved from 

Holst, J. J. (2019). The physiology of glucagon-like peptide 1. Physiological Reviews, 89(4), 1409-1439. DOI: 10.1152/physrev.00034.2018 

Mullard, A. (2021). New safety data for diabetes drug. Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 39(2), 201-202. DOI: 10.1016/S2213-8587(21)00001-3 

NHS. (2023). GLP-1 receptor agonists for diabetes.