Saxenda, Ozempic, Weygovy and Mounjaro

Weight loss can be challenging for so many people, even when following a well-balanced diet and exercise regimen. Because of this, some people may look for other methods to support weight loss, such as medications.

Injectable medications, known as GLP-1 agonists, were originally designed to manage blood glucose (sugar) levels in people with Type 2 Diabetes. These medications were found to reduce hunger and food intake, thus potentially supporting weight loss.

In Australia both Saxenda (a daily injection) and Weygovy (a weekly injection) are approved for weight loss. So how do they work?

These medications work by mimicking (copying) a naturally produced hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Affecting the hunger centres in the brain, these medications can reduce appetite, hunger and carvings plus they slow the rate of the stomach emptying, effectively prolonging fullness and satiety after meals. Both actions can result in weight loss.

However, these medications are not suitable or safe for everyone. Those with the following conditions should avoid using this class of weight loss medication:

  • Pancreatitis (or history Pancreatitis)
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Under 18 years of age
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Problems with the pancreas or kidneys
  • Family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), an endocrine system condition

Like all weight loss interventions (diets, exercise, surgery and other weight loss medications), GLP-1’s still require lifestyle modification to ensure long-term weight loss outcomes and maintenance. They should not be considered for rapid weight loss but for long, sustainable weight loss to improve health outcomes.