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If you’re looking to manage your diabetes and lose weight, you may be wondering which diabetes medications cause weight loss. Here’s what you need to know.
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There are many different types of diabetes medications (oral and injectable), each with its own mechanism of action and side effect profile. While some diabetes medications may cause weight gain as a side effect, others may actually lead to weight loss.
For people with diabetes, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of managing the condition. If you are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight can help to reduce your risk of developing complications such as heart disease and stroke.
While there are many diabetes medications that can cause weight gain, there are also several that may lead to weight loss. These include:
– Metformin: Metformin is a medication that is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It works by lowering blood sugar levels and is also thought to have a positive effect on metabolism. One large study found that metformin was associated with a small amount of weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes (1).
– SGLT2 inhibitors: SGLT2 inhibitors are a class of medication that work by preventing the reabsorption of sugar in the kidney, leading to increased sugar excretion in the urine. This can cause modest weight loss (2). Examples of SGLT2 inhibitors include dapagliflozin, empagliflozin, and canagliflozin.
– GLP-1 receptor agonists: GLP-1 receptor agonists are injectable medications used to treat type 2 diabetes. They work by stimulating insulin release and suppressing glucagon secretion (a hormone that raises blood sugar levels). They also slow gastric emptying and promote fullness (3). As a result, GLP-1 receptor agonists may lead to significant weight loss. Examples of GLP-1 receptor agonists include liraglutide, exenatide, and lixisenatide.
If you are interested in trying one of these medications for weight loss, talk to your doctor about whether it would be appropriate for you and what side effects you might experience.
Metformin is generally well tolerated. The most common side effects are diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. Some people may also experience headache, flushing, and decreased appetite.
Weight loss is a common side effect of metformin. It is believed to work by decreasing the amount of sugar that your body absorbs and by increasing your body’s sensitivity to insulin.
If you are interested in trying metformin for weight loss, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.
SGLT2 inhibitors help the body to get rid of (excrete) extra glucose in the urine. They also lower A1C by about 1%.
These drugs cause a small amount of weight loss, usually less than 5%. They also might cause low blood sugar levels. The most common side effect is genital yeast infection.
Drugs in this class include:
GLP-1 Receptor Agonists
There are a few diabetes medications that can cause weight loss as a side effect. These drugs all work in different ways, but they share the common goal of helping to regulate blood sugar levels.
One type of drug that can cause weight loss is a GLP-1 receptor agonist. These drugs work by stimulating the release of insulin and increasing feelings of fullness. As a result, people taking these medications may eat less and lose weight.
Some examples of GLP-1 receptor agonists include exenatide (Byetta) and liraglutide (Saxenda). These drugs are typically only prescribed to people who have not been able to lose weight with other diabetes medications or lifestyle changes.
Another type of drug that can cause weight loss is a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor. These drugs work by preventing the body from reabsorbing sugar from the urine. This causes the body to get rid of excess sugar through the urine, which can lead to weight loss.
Some examples of SGLT2 inhibitors include dapagliflozin (Farxiga) and empagliflozin (Jardiance). These drugs may also be prescribed to people who have not been able to lose weight with other diabetes medications or lifestyle changes.
If you are interested in trying one of these diabetes medications for weight loss, speak to your doctor about whether it is right for you.
There are a few diabetes medications that can cause weight loss as a side effect. These include metformin, liraglutide, and exenatide. If you are overweight or obese and have diabetes, talk to your doctor about whether one of these medications could be right for you.