If you are one of the over 66% of all adults in the United States who are overweight or obese, you may be looking for ways to shed pounds fast and safe! While there are many ways a person can lose weight, one of the common problems for most people trying to lose weight is their hunger and trying to curb their appetite.
Saxenda approved for weight loss
The good news is the US FDA just approved a powerful new weight loss medication called Saxenda(liraglutide) that works in a different mechanism compared to the traditional amphetamine based weight loss medications such as Phentermine. Containing the same active ingredient as the popular diabetes medication called Victoza (liraglutide), albeit at a higher dose of 3 mg instead of the 1.2 mg and 1.8 mg dosages approved for diabetes.
4 new weight loss medications since June of 2012
After long gap of about 13 years, the FDA finally realized the negative impact of the obesity epidemic on the nation’s health and well being and started approving new weight loss medications. This is partly also to with the fact that the FDA finally took a practicing weight loss physician on it’s panel instead of the usual Phd’s that are more concerned about theoretic risk than the field realities.
In this context, it is important to be reminded that the FDA approved Arena Pharmaceuticals Belviq(Lorcasering) and Orexigen’s Qsymia(Phentermine and Topiramate) in 2012. Although both these medications failed to meet the projected sales projections partly due to paltry insurance coverage and concern about potential side effects.
Contrave approved for weight loss
After a gap of two years after approving Belviq and Qsymia, FDA approved another new weight loss medication called Contrave in September, 2014 by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Contrave, being a non-controlled substance, and containing relative safe Bupropion and Naltrexone was an instant success. The initial demand was much higher than anticipated even by the manufacturer that the centralized pharmacy that was hired to handle all prescriptions could not handle the volume of incoming prescriptions. As a result of the huge demand, the manufacturer, Takeda pharmaceuticals changed their marketing plans and offered the medication available via the brick and mortar local pharmacies. In December 2014, the FDA approved Saxenda for weight loss, the 2nd such drug to be approved for weight loss in 2014, and 4th in the last 2-3 years.
What is the deal with Saxenda for weight loss?
Liraglutide, a once-daily human glucagon-like peptide-1 analog, is a new class of medications known as incretins. Liraglutide reduces meal-related hyperglycemia (for 24 hours after administration) by increasing insulin secretion, delaying gastric emptying, and suppressing prandial glucagon secretion, and helps not only with glycemic control but also with weight loss in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients.
Liraglutide, prescribed in addition to diet and exercise, maintained weight loss achieved by caloric restriction and induced further weight loss over 56 weeks. Improvements in some cardiovascular disease-risk factors were also observed. Liraglutide, prescribed as 3.0 mg per day, holds promise for improving the maintenance of lost weight.
Saxenda is approved in addition to diet and exercise for weight loss in those who are obese with a body mass index of 27 or more with a comborbid condition or those with a BMI of over 30.
Benefits of Saxenda over other medications
Saxenda (liraglutide) may have advantages over current therapies:
- It acts in a glucose-dependent manner, meaning it will stimulate insulin secretion only when blood glucose levels are higher than normal thus
- Reducing the risk of hypoglycemia to almost negligible levels.
- It has the potential for inhibiting apoptosis and stimulating regeneration of beta cells (seen in animal studies).
- It decreases appetite and maintains body weight, as shown in a head-to-head study versus glimepiride.
- It lowers blood triglyceride levels.
- It basically works on reducing insulin resistance, a key underlying process that causes weight gain!
- It is relatively safe to take even patients with other comorbidities as it is not an amphetamine type weight loss medication!
Liraglutide is an acylated human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist, similar to human GLP-1(7-37). Liraglutide leads to insulin release in pancreatic beta cells in the presence of elevated blood glucose but not otherwise. This insulin secretion subsides as glucose concentrations decrease and approach euglycemia. It also decreases glucagon secretion in a glucose-dependent manner and delays gastric emptying. Unlike native GLP-1, liraglutide is stable against metabolic degradation by peptidases with a plasma half-life of 13 hours partly due to the albumin binding in the blood stream.
GLP-1, in its natural form, is short-lived in the body (the half-life after intramuscular injection is approximately half an hour), so it is not very useful as a therapeutic agent due to the short half life. However, liraglutide has a half-life after subcutaneous injection of 11–15 hours, making it suitable for once-daily dosing – this compares well with less the twice daily Byetta, althought not so well compared to the weekly dosing of another similar diabetes medication called Bydureon, which received approval from the FDA in January 2012. However, Saxenda is the only medication from this class that is FDA approved for weight loss, the others being approved only for diabetes control.
Clinical trials supporting use of Saxenda for weight loss!
Results of studies that enrolled patients without diabetes showed that patients had an average weight loss of 4.5 percent from baseline compared to treatment with a placebo (inactive pill) at one year and showed about 62 percent of patients treated with Saxenda lost at least 5 percent of their body weight compared with 34 percent of patients treated with placebo.
Saxenda a bit less effective in patients with diabetes!
Results from another study that enrolled patients with type 2 diabetes showed that patients had an average weight loss of 3.7 percent from baseline compared to treatment with placebo at one year. In this study, 49 percent of patients treated with Saxenda lost at least 5 percent of their body weight compared with 16 percent of patients treated with placebo.
Liraglutide is marketed under the brandname Victoza in the U.S., India, Canada, Europe and Japan. It has been launched in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Japan, Canada, the United States, France, Malaysia and Singapore.
Other similar weight loss medications
AstraZeneca’s evenatide (Byetta, Bydureon), has also been found to aid weight loss although not yet approved directly for weight loss.
Recently, the FDA approved albiglutide (Tanzeum), GlaxoSmithKline’s GLP-1 contender, that is dose once a weeek injected subcutaneously.
And the FDA is currently reviewing Eli Lilly‘s GLP-1 analog, dulaglutide, that also has once-a-week dosage.
Locations for Saxenda physicians
W8MD Medical Weight Loss Centers of America is one of the first medical weight loss centers to start offering Saxenda to eligible overweight or obese patients!
King Of Prussia Weight Loss & Sleep Center: 987 Old Eagle School Rd, Ste 712, Wayne, PA, 19087 Ph: 215-676-2334
Our farthest patient comes from Delaware! Testimonials
NYC Insurance Weight Loss & Sleep Center: 2003, Bath Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11214 Ph: 1-718-946-5500.
Our farthest patient comes from Dallas, Texas! Testimonials
W8MD medical weight loss program at Vida Sleep Center of Dr. Felix Roque’s office at 543, 45th Street, Union City, New Jersey. 543 45th St, Union City, NJ 07087. Phone: (201) 766-6469. This center bills out of network for insurance.
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- Locations for losing weight in NYC
- 8 Amazing weeks of weight loss New York City
Due to popular demand, acceptance is limited in most W8MD’s insurance physician weight loss centers! Call individual centers to see if you might be accepted!