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How weight loss injections help you lose weight

Here's the average weight loss you can expect with this medication.

Weight Loss Injections: How They Work and Who Can Use Them | Juniper

Embarking on a weight loss journey can feel intimidating — especially if you've tried a myriad of diets and exercise programmes in the past. While you might experience initial weight loss with these methods, weight regain is also incredibly common.

If diet and exercise changes aren't making enough of an impact on your body weight (because diets generally don't work for sustainable weight loss!), you're probably on the lookout for an alternative — this is where medication can help.

Weight loss injections have been available in the UK for a number of years now but have become increasingly popular recently. And, while the thought of self-administering an injection can feel daunting, weight loss medication can help you lose weight and improve your health.

This is why we include injections for weight loss in Juniper's Weight Reset Programme, alongside lifestyle coaching from dietitians and health coaches, 1:1 health tracking with UK clinicians and access to a private community of people who are on the same journey as you.

To gain a better understanding of how weight loss injections work and the average weight loss you can expect, we've compiled a handy guide for you. Here's what you need to know.

Do injections work for weight loss?

Yes! In fact, weight loss injections like Wegovy and Mounjaro can be incredibly effective.

While weight gain is most commonly managed with a reduced calorie diet and exercise programmes, stubborn weight gain might not be able to be fixed with lifestyle changes alone.

How do weight loss medications work?

Losing weight through diet and exercise alone can be incredibly difficult and at times, it might feel like your body is working against you. This is where weight loss medications can be incredibly helpful as they help to reset the body's metabolic patterns.

The medication is made up of a molecule that works like the glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor. GLP-1 is an appetite hormone that your body naturally produces to help regulate hunger.

The medication used in Juniper's Weight Reset Programme works like GLP-1 by suppressing your appetite and increasing the feeling of being full. This makes it easier for your body to maintain a lower weight, meaning you won't have to fight so hard to keep the weight off. When combined with lifestyle changes (such as eating a healthy diet and establishing a new workout routine), you can expect to see immediate and lasting changes in your body weight.

There are 2 medication options on our Weight Reset Programme — the first is Wegovy, which contains the active ingredient semaglutide, and the second is Mounjaro, which contains tirzepatide.

Both medications are incredibly effective — semaglutide can lead to a 15% average weight loss in 12 months, while tirzepatide can lead to a 19.5% average body weight loss in 52 weeks thanks to the dual action of GLP-1 and GIP hormones [5][6].

Who can use a weight loss injection?

There are a few parameters for using weight loss injections and healthcare professionals will generally use your body mass index (BMI) to figure out whether this type of medication is suited for your personal situation.

To be eligible for a weight reduction medication, like an injection, a healthcare professional will need to establish where you're at with your weight and where you fall on the BMI scale.

How to access weight loss treatment

After chatting with a healthcare professional or a Juniper clinician, you may be advised to try injections for weight loss. These injections will be prescribed alongside behavioural and lifestyle changes — such as making long-term shifts with your diet and adding more physical activity into your day).

When used as part of a holistic weight management programme, these injections can be a great way to kick-start your initial body weight loss.

Plus, by making a range of lifestyle changes you can combat other health issues you might also be navigating (such as high blood pressure or cholesterol levels).

How are weight loss injections administered?

Before you begin taking your medication, your clinician will run you through how to administer it. While it can feel intimidating to self-administer the injection, the needle in the injection pen is tiny and only feels like a small prick.

Each pen is pre-filled with your medication that needs to be administered once a week for the duration of your treatment. And, when you're done, you simply dispose of the pen in a sharps container.

The medication should be injected into the subcutaneous (fatty) layer under the skin, such as your upper thigh, upper arm or abdomen, and rotated regularly. The medication is administered via injection because it is protein-based. If taken orally, it would be quickly broken down by your digestive system, making it ineffective.

If you have any issues with self-administering the injection, be sure to check in with your Juniper clinician and they will be able to provide you with tips on this.

Why does Juniper prescribe semaglutide?

Juniper’s Weight Reset Programme combines proven medication, health coaching and ongoing support to help you lose weight and keep it off. We prescribe either semaglutide, which is the active ingredient in one of our medication offerings, Wegovy, or tirzepatide, which is the active ingredient in Mounjaro, as part of this programme because these are both incredibly effective.

This medication is clinically proven to reduce your appetite and make you feel fuller for longer, while also reducing cravings by targeting the rewards centre in the brain. For long-term success, changing your eating and movement habits is also crucial, which is why we offer a comprehensive programme that includes 3 core pillars of lifestyle change with the assistance of our UK clinicians.

We can help you break habits that might be impacting your weight and help you hit your weight loss goals sooner.

How much weight can you lose with weight loss injections?

It's difficult to make an accurate prediction of the average weight loss you'll experience because you're starting with a unique set of factors, such as your age, current weight, metabolism rate and potentially navigating a range of other health conditions, too.

What we do know is that the medication used in these injections has helped our patients at Juniper to drop several kilos of body weight within the first few weeks.

There are 2 recent studies that give us more specific insights into the rate of weight loss you might expect on semaglutide medications like Wegovy. In a 2017 study, one-quarter of patients lost more than 10% of their body weight after 5 months of this weight loss treatment [1]. At 20 weeks, more than half (76.1%) of this control group had lost more than 5% of body weight and 28.3% had lost more than 10%.

In a most recent 2020 study from the International Journal of Obesity, patients had lost 12.1% after a year of using this treatment [2]. The key to their success was introducing a range of behavioural changes (nearly twice as much versus behavioural changes alone).

Mounjaro, on the other hand, has been shown to outperform other GLP-1 medications. One study found an average of 19.5% body weight loss in patients on Mounjaro after 52 weeks, compared to average patients on semaglutide who lost an average of 13.8% body weight over the same number of weeks [7][8].

How long does it take for the medication to work?

As we mentioned, these medications works by suppressing appetite. It's a much less invasive approach to other weight-loss strategies, such as surgical weight loss or bariatric surgery.

But you might be wondering: when will you start seeing results?

Most of our patients here at Juniper start to see weight loss within the first few weeks of treatment. However, if you're navigating any weight-related medical problems or chronic disease, you may need to stay on the treatment for longer to see results.

A quick chat with your UK clinician will be able to give you more confidence in terms of what results you can expect, based on your body and health needs.

How long should you use weight loss injections?

Your clinician will monitor your progress closely over the first 12 weeks of your treatment. If you've experienced at least a 5% loss of your initial weight, you'll be able to continue treatment.

Typically, your treatment will last anywhere from 9-12 months [3].

What diet should you follow while on this medication?

Your clinician will help you create a diet plan to support your weight loss when using this treatment. Given your appetite is lowered, you might notice you're only craving smaller portions as you're feeling fuller, sooner.

In general terms, you can expect to be prescribed a healthy balanced diet that is low in unhealthy fats and sugars and rich in nourishing grains, fruits and vegetables.

What are the side effects of weight loss injections?

While this treatment is completely safe, there are some common side effects you might encounter. The most common are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation.

Plus, the less common side effects to watch out for include:

  • Hypoglycaemia (if you're also taking diabetes medications)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Thyroid problems
  • Kidney impairment
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Make sure to speak with your clinician and explain your medical history thoroughly to ensure this treatment is right for you.

When it comes to losing weight, seeking medical health through the form of a weight-loss injection is a safe and effective approach. This treatment can help you reset your metabolism, reach a healthy weight and maintain it over the long term. Juniper's clinicians, dietitians and UK health coaches are here for you when you're ready.

Who shouldn’t use medications for weight loss?

Most people can take semaglutide and tirzepatide for weight loss safely, but there are some medicines and medical conditions that might make it unsuitable for you due to increased safety risks [4]. Some of the reasons you shouldn't use these medications for weight loss (or we may need to give you special advice) are:

  • An allergy to any of the ingredients;
  • Diabetes and taking insulin or certain other medicines;
  • Kidney problems;
  • Certain digestive system problems;
  • History of an eating disorder;
  • Pregnancy, breastfeeding or trying to have a baby

This isn't a complete list, so when you have a consultation with a Juniper prescriber we'll make sure that the medication is suitable for your individual circumstances before prescribing it.