Diabetic Injections For Weight Loss


Diabetic injections have been used for weight loss by thousands of people around the world. However, like other therapies for diabetes, there are no guarantees as to the effects that diabetic injections for weight loss will have on your individual body. There are significant side effects that must be weighed against their potential benefits. In collaboration with a medical professional, diabetic injections can be an excellent way to lose weight while treating type 2 diabetes.

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Is There a Once-a-Week Injection that Controls My Diabetes and Helps with Weight Loss?

According to a 2017 report from the CDC, more than 100 million Americans live with diabetes or prediabetes. As we shared on the blog several months ago, nearly 15% of the adult population in Tennessee has diabetes, while 35.8% have prediabetes.

As diabetes becomes a growing concern, many patients are asking their doctor about new and alternative solutions, such as the once-a-week diabetes injection. In addition to helping control diabetes, these injections can also contribute to weight loss, making them a win-win for many patients.

Ozempic, Trulicity & More: GLP-1 Receptor Agonist Medications

Adults with diabetes may have new management options thanks to a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. These drugs aid the body in releasing insulin as a response to elevated blood sugar. These drugs are not insulin medications. Rather, they limit the amount of sugar that can enter the bloodstream from the liver. GLP-1 receptor agonists also control the rate at which food leaves the stomach. GLP-1 receptor agonists may be used alone or may be prescribed in addition to insulin.

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Overview of Popular Once-a-Week Diabetes Injection Drugs

Diabetes In Control has provided a helpful chart that covers basic information about a few of the most popular GLP-1 receptor agonist medications on the market. We’ve summarized some of this information below.

Dulaglutide (Trulicity)

  • Half Life: ~5 days
  • Average HbA1c Reduction: ~1.5%
  • Dosing Considerations: Start with 0.75 mg once per week, increasing to 1.5 mg per week if inadequate glycemic response.
  • Short-term weight loss*: ~5.5 lbs

Exenatide (Byetta)

  • Half Life: 24 hours
  • Average HbA1c Reduction: ~1%
  • Dosing Considerations: Start with 5 mcg twice per day. After one month, this may be increased to 10 mcg for better glycemic control.
  • Short-term weight loss*: ~4.4 lbs

Exenatide Extended-Release (Bydureon, Bydureon BCise)

  • Half Life: > 1 week
  • Average HbA1c Reduction: ~1.5% (Bydureon), ~1.4% (Bydureon BCise)
  • Dosing Considerations: 2mg once weekly at any time of day, regardless of food.
  • Short-term weight loss*: ~5.5 lbs with Bydureon, ~3.1 lbs with Bydureon BCise

Liraglutide (Victoza, Saxenda)

  • Half Life: 12-14 hours
  • Average HbA1c Reduction: ~1.5%
  • Dosing Considerations: Start with 0.6 mg a day for one week; increase to 1.2 mg per day. If glycemic control is not achieved, increase to 1.8 mg daily.
  • Short-term weight loss*: ~5.5 lbs

Lixisenatide (Adlyxin)

  • Half Life: ~3 hours
  • Average HbA1c Reduction: ~1%
  • Dosing Considerations: Start with 10 mcg per day for 14 days, then increase to 20 mcg per day. Administer within one hour prior to the first meal of the day.
  • Short-term weight loss*: ~4.4 lbs

Insulin degludec/liraglutide (Xultophy 100/3.6)

  • Half Life: ~25 hours
  • Average HbA1c Reduction: ~1% more than insulin degludec alone.
  • Dosing Considerations: Start with 16 units per day and titrate up or down every 3-4 days in two units range.
  • Short-term weight loss*: ~5.5 lbs

Insulin Glargine/Lixisenatide (Soliqua 100/33)

  • Half Life: ~3 hours
  • A1C: 0.5% more than insulin glargine alone
  • Dosing Considerations: See sheet for details.
  • Short-term weight loss*: ~3 lbs (when compared to insulin glargine)

Semaglutide (Ozempic)

  • Half Life: ~1 week
  • Average HbA1c Reduction: ~1.5%
  • Dosing Considerations: Start with 0.25 mg per week at any time of day regardless of food. Increase to 0.5 mg per week after four weeks. Max dose of 1.0 mg per week.
  • Short-term weight loss*: ~8.4 lbs with Ozempic 0.5, ~10.4 lbs with Ozempic 1.0

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What injectable medicines treat diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, your doctor may recommend you take other medicines, in addition to insulin, to help control your blood glucose. Some of these medicines work to slow how fast food and beverages move through your stomach. These medicines also slow down how quickly and how high your blood glucose levels rise after eating. Other medicines work to block certain hormones in your digestive system that raise blood glucose levels after meals or help the kidneys to remove more glucose from your blood.

Type 2 diabetes

Besides insulin, other types of injected medicines External link (PDF, 2.8 MB)  are available that will keep your blood glucose level from rising too high after you eat or drink. These medicines, known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, may make you feel less hungry and help you lose some weight. GLP-1 medicines are not substitutes for insulin.

What should I know about the side effects of diabetes medicines?

Side effects are problems that result from taking medicine. Some diabetes medicines can cause hypoglycemia, also called low blood glucose, if you don’t balance your medicines with food and activity.

Ask your doctor whether your diabetes medicine can cause hypoglycemia or other side effects, such as upset stomach and weight gain. Aim to take your diabetes medicines as your doctor instructs you, to help prevent side effects and diabetes problems.

Do I have other treatment options for my diabetes?

If medicines and lifestyle changes are not enough to manage your diabetes, there are other treatments that might help you. These treatments include weight-loss (bariatric) surgery for certain people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes or pancreatic islet transplantation for some people with type 1 diabetes.

Weight-loss surgery

Weight-loss surgery is operations that help you lose weight by making changes to your digestive system. It is also called bariatric or metabolic surgery.

This type of surgery may help some people who have obesity and type 2 diabetes lose a large amount of weight and bring their blood glucose levels back to a healthy range. How long the improved response lasts can vary by patient, type of weight-loss surgery, and the amount of weight the person lost. Other factors include how long a person had diabetes and whether the person used insulin. Some people with type 2 diabetes may no longer need to use diabetes medicines after weight-loss surgery.

Researchers are studying whether weight-loss surgery can help control blood glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes who have obesity.

Pancreatic islet transplantation

Pancreatic islet transplantation is an experimental treatment for people with type 1 diabetes who have trouble controlling their blood glucose levels. Pancreatic islets are clusters of cells in the pancreas that make the hormone insulin. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks these cells. A pancreatic islet transplantation replaces destroyed islets with new islets from organ donors. The new islets make and release insulin. Because researchers are still studying pancreatic islet transplantation External link, the procedure is only available to people enrolled in research studies.

Clinical Trials for Insulin, Medicines, & Other Diabetes Treatments

The NIDDK conducts and supports clinical trials in many diseases and conditions, including diabetes. The trials look to find new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease and improve quality of life.

Insulin and Weight Loss

So what does insulin have to do with losing weight? The key to weight loss success is to control your insulin, specifically, keeping insulin as low as possible. Here are the key points:

  1. Keep carbohydrates to a minimum. Your body will make and release less insulin, reducing the building of fat. When looking at a food label, anything over 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving is considered too high.
  2. Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation causes increased blood sugar and results in more insulin secretion.
  3. Regular cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, biking, etc.) causes your body to use sugars immediately, this bypasses and suppresses insulin and reduces fat storage. Sitting a lot and lack of activity results in the opposite.
  4. Eating just prior to bedtime, especially carbs, causes you to store fat while sleeping. In general, we burn most of our fat while sleeping, unless we overwhelm our body with sugars. You’ll lose an important opportunity to burn fat.


There is a weight loss drug on the market that stimulates insulin secretion by the pancreas. This drug is called Wegovy™ (Semaglutide). Semaglutide is approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and it offers some of the best weight loss results of any diabetes medication. If you’re struggling to control your insulin levels, consult with your healthcare provider about using this medication.

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What are clinical trials for insulin, medicines, and other diabetes treatments?

Clinical trials—and other types of clinical studies NIH external link—are part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help healthcare professionals and researchers learn more about the disease and improve health care for people in the future.

Study finds new injection helps higher weight and diabetic patients drop weight

Researchers concede it’s a small test group, but suggest the study indicates promising results.

A new injection has helped higher weight and diabetic patients lose weight in just four weeks, a small study has found.

Researchers at Imperial College London found that patients lost on average 4.4kg after receiving hormone treatment.

The findings from the study also showed improvements in patients’ blood glucose, with some falling to near-normal levels.

It is estimated that one in four British adults is higher in weight, with some undergoing a procedure called a gastric bypass to keep their weight down and improve blood sugar levels in diabetics.

But the surgery can lead to complications such as abdominal pain, chronic nausea, vomiting and debilitating low blood sugar levels.

A total of 15 randomly higher-weight person pre-diabetic and diabetic patients received the GOP treatment for four weeks.
A total of 15 randomly higher-weight person pre-diabetic and diabetic patients received the GOP treatment for four weeks. Credit: File image: AAP

Imperial College London’s previous research suggested that one of the reasons a gastric bypass worked well was because three hormones from the bowels are released at higher levels.

Hormone combination

This hormone combination, dubbed GOP, reduces people’s appetite, causes weight loss and improves the body’s sugar absorption.

A total of 15 randomly higher-weight people pre-diabetic and diabetic patients received the GOP treatment for four weeks, via a pump that slowly injected the mixture under the skin for 12 hours a day.

Patients were also given advice on healthy eating and weight loss from a dietitian.

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No side effects

Imperial College London said patients on the GOP treatment lost an average of 4.4kg, compared with 2.5kg for 11 participants receiving a saltwater placebo.

The GOP treatment was reported to have had no side effects.

Researchers also recruited 21 patients who had undergone bariatric surgery and 22 patients who followed a very low-calorie diet to compare the results of the GOP trial.

Patients were also given advice on healthy eating and weight loss from a dietitian.
Patients were also given advice on healthy eating and weight loss from a dietitian. Credit: File image: Getty

Those who received bariatric surgery lost 10.3kg while those following the very low-calorie diet lost 8.3kg, the experts said.

Tricia Tan, Professor of Practice (Metabolic Medicine & Endocrinology) at Imperial College London and lead author of the study, said: “Obesity and type 2 diabetes can lead to very serious and potentially life-threatening conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease.

“There is a real need to find new medicines so we can improve and save the lives of many patients.

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