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 GLPs: Semaglutide and Tirzepetide — Which Weight Management Method Is Better for You?

 GLPs: Semaglutide and Tirzepetide — Which Weight Management Method Is Better for You?

If you’ve struggled to meet your weight loss goals, it’s easy to feel like you just want to give up. But there is some good news: In recent years, two medications traditionally used for diabetes treatment have proven to be effective in helping people lose weight, too.

In fact, if you’ve been trying to lose weight, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard about semaglutide and tirzepatide, the injectable medications that help people shed stubborn weight and even overcome obesity. But you might be left wondering if they’re right for you — and which one is the better choice.

As a leading provider of body sculpting treatments like SculpSure® and Morpheus 8®, Michele Meinhart, FNP, offers both semaglutide and tirzepatide injections for patients at Starkey Medical Esthetics, helping them lose weight and reduce their risks of weight-related health problems, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Here’s how to decide if these cutting-edge therapies are a good fit for you.

How semaglutide and tirzepatide work

Both semaglutide and tirzepatide belong to a group of medications called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists. GLP-1 agonists increase the secretion of insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar (glucose). 

The effect on insulin is why these medicines are routinely used to treat diabetes, but insulin also plays a role in helping your metabolism burn calories and lose weight more effectively. At the same time, GLP-1 agonists slow down the rate at which your liver produces glucose, avoiding a buildup in your bloodstream that can interfere with weight loss.

Finally, both medications slow the digestive process, delaying how quickly your stomach empties and prolonging the sensation of fullness, so you’re less hungry. They also help modify the production of hormones responsible for hunger “pangs.”

One more note about tirzepatide

In addition to being a GLP-1 agonist, tirzepatide is also a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). GIPs provide an additional effect by further modifying insulin release and promoting feelings of fullness after meals.

Choosing a treatment

Both medications can help people lose weight — so how can you decide which one is right for you? In part, by knowing how they differ.

Weight loss

Data show GLP-1 agonists are effective in promoting weight loss, although tirzepatide tends to be slightly more effective, thanks to its additional effect as a GIP medication. 

Studies show, though, that the difference is relatively small: Semaglutide results in about a 12% loss of body weight compared to tirzepatide that’s associated with a loss of about 20% of body weight. 

It’s also important to note that total weight loss amounts are only one factor in choosing a treatment, and the additional benefit apparent with tirzepatide doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better choice for you.

How they’re administered

Even though semaglutide is associated with slightly less weight loss compared to tirzepatide, there’s one big advantage for many people: Semaglutide can be given as an injection or a pill, while tirzepatide is only available via weekly injections. 

If you don’t like injections, semaglutide is the clear winner in terms of administration. It’s also worth noting that most treatment plans involve self-administration, so if you don’t want to inject yourself, semaglutide’s pill form might make better sense.

Side effects

Both medications act to your digestive system, so it’s not surprising that side effects tend to be digestion related. Some patients experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. 

Side effects typically lessen as your body adjusts to treatment. However, because it’s also a GIP medication, tirzepatide side effects may vary slightly or be more intense for some people.

Medical history

Before recommending either medication, you’ll undergo a physical exam and lab tests to make sure GLP-1 agonists are right for you. If you have problems with your pancreas or liver, these medications might not be a good fit.

Reach your weight loss goals

Though the idea of a weight loss medication is certainly appealing to anyone struggling with their weight, these medicines aren’t always the right answer. Ultimately, the decision of whether to use these drugs should be made only after careful consideration and a consultation visit at our practice.


To learn more about semaglutide and tirzepatide and how they can help you, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Starkey Medical Esthetics in Salem, Virginia, today.

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