The Independent Pharmacy

Discover the Best Weight Loss Injection Options in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide

Daniel Hurley
Daniel HurleyMPharm IPPharmacist Independent Prescriber

Reviewed on 2 Apr 2024

We understand that losing weight can feel overwhelming and sometimes lonely. With so many weight loss treatments available, it’s normal to feel confused about where to begin. You’re not alone on this journey.

The best weight loss injections you can get in the UK have been proven to help you lose weight, especially when you also make healthy lifestyle changes.

Mounjaro and Wegovy are leading choices for helping you feel less hungry and more satisfied after meals and for supporting major weight loss, according to research. For example, in key clinical trials, people using semaglutide lost 15% of their body weight on average over 68 weeks.

Meeting with a doctor is a step taken in care and understanding, ensuring that any choices made about these medications are perfectly suited to your unique health history and needs. The doctor can also provide dietary and exercise guidance tailored to your situation.

While semaglutide shots seem really promising, this guide will provide information on all the leading weight loss shots to discuss with your GP. Losing weight safely requires a balanced approach, so we’ll also share lifestyle tips to complement these treatments. Together, we’ll help you feel empowered to improve your health.

Now, let’s explore the key options in more detail.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mounjaro, Wegovy, and Saxenda are currently the most effective prescription weight loss injections available. They work by suppressing appetite and aiding weight loss.
  • Choosing the right injection depends on factors like your BMI, health conditions, side effect tolerance, needle phobia, and insurance coverage.
  • While effective alone, injections work best alongside lifestyle changes like healthy eating, regular exercise, and emotional support systems.

The Best Weight Loss Injections at a Glance

Medication Approved for Weight Loss? How It Works Typical Weight Loss How Often You Take It Common Side Effects

Mounjaro

Yes Helps control blood sugar and makes you feel less hungry Up to 22.5% in about 1.5 years Once a week Nausea, diarrhoea, throwing up, constipation

Wegovy

Yes Makes you feel full and eat less 15% in about 1.5 years Once a week, with the dose increasing over time Nausea, diarrhoea, throwing up, constipation

Saxenda

Yes Slows down how quickly your stomach empties 5-10% in 3 to 6 months Every day, with the dose increasing over time Nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, low blood sugar, feeling dizzy

Ozempic

No Similar to Wegovy, makes you feel full and eat less Up to 15% in about 1.5 years Once a week, with the dose increasing over time Similar to Wegovy, mostly stomach issues

Detailed Comparison of Weight Loss Injections

Mounjaro (Tirzepatide)

Mounjaro is the newest weight loss injection that is making waves. In studies, people taking Mounjaro lost as much as 22.5% of their body weight in 72 weeks. So, when you compare Mounjaro to a treatment like Ozempic, it clearly helps people achieve more significant weight loss.

But how does Mounjaro work? It works by turning on certain body signals that control blood sugar, how much you eat, and your weight.

Before you start taking Mounjaro, your doctor will explain how to use the Kwikpen.

Starting with a gentle approach, the usual dose for Mounjaro is a 2.5mg injection under the skin once a week. Your doctor will thoughtfully adjust this dosage, finding the right balance for you to maximise benefits and minimise any discomfort. It’s crucial to follow your prescriber’s exact recommendations.

Many patients report increased energy, reduced cravings, and feeling satisfied with smaller portions. Mounjaro also lowers blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Side effects are usually mild but may include nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, and constipation.

Mounjaro
Mounjaro
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Wegovy (Semaglutide)

Wegovy is a newer, higher-dose weekly injection of the diabetes drug Ozempic. In clinical trials, Wegovy helped patients lose an average of 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks.

The recommended starting dosage of Wegovy is 0.25mg injected under the skin once weekly. Then, depending on how you’re doing and how you feel, your doctor will slowly raise the dose over 16 weeks. The maintenance dose is 2.4mg per week.

And how does Wegovy work for weight loss? Wegovy curbs appetite by mimicking a hormone called GLP-1. This gives you a feeling of fullness and satisfaction, allowing you to eat less without feeling deprived. Possible Wegovy side effects include nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, and stomach pain. Most side effects subside with time.

Saxenda (Liraglutide)

Saxenda is a daily injection that helps you feel less hungry by slowing down how fast your stomach empties. Clinical trials showed average weight loss of 5-10% over 3-6 months.

The starting Saxenda dosage is 0.6mg, and you inject the treatment under the skin once daily. Your doctor will gradually increase your Saxenda dose to a maximum of 3mg per day.

How does Saxenda work? Saxenda helps you feel fuller faster, control portions, and reduce food cravings.

Common side effects are nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, low blood sugar, dizziness, and headaches. Saxenda may also increase heart rate.

Read our guides to find out more on how to use Saxenda weight loss injection or how long the Saxenda pen lasts.

Ozempic (Semaglutide)

Ozempic contains the same active ingredient as Wegovy, called semaglutide. However, Ozempic is specifically approved to treat type 2 diabetes, not as a weight loss drug.

That said, Ozempic often leads to significant appetite suppression and weight loss for many patients. In studies, people lost up to 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks on Ozempic.

Side effects mirror those of Wegovy, primarily stomach issues that normally improve over time.

Selecting the Right Weight Loss Injection

Key Considerations

Choosing the best weight loss injection depends on many factors:

  • Check your BMI (Body Mass Index) and think how much weight you aim to lose. Mounjaro and Wegovy may be preferable for higher amounts of excess weight.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Your tolerance for side effects like nausea or diarrhoea. Milder options may be more suitable if you’re sensitive.
  • Needle phobia or anxiety about injections. Saxenda requires daily shots, which could be daunting.
  • Cost. Discuss budgets and resources with your doctor.

The Consultation Process

Sharing your feelings, needs, and hopes with a doctor is a key step in this journey. Together, you’ll set achievable weight loss goals, approaching each milestone with kindness and patience towards yourself. Follow their prescribing instructions carefully. Book follow-up visits to monitor your progress and adjust dosing if necessary. With expert guidance, you can find the injection that fits your lifestyle and wellness vision.

Complementing Injections With Lifestyle Changes

Diet and Physical Activity

While these injections are a helpful tool in managing hunger and supporting your weight loss, combining them with a balanced diet and incorporating activity into your routine can nurture your body and soul, enhancing your overall well-being. Here are some tips:

  • Focus on nutritious whole foods like fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats. These nourish your body better than processed and sugary options.
  • Be mindful of portion sizes. Use a smaller plate, eat slowly, and stop before full. This supports the injections’ effects.
  • Reduce liquid calories from soda, juices, and coffee drinks. Hydrate with water instead.
  • Increase daily physical activity with brisk walking, swimming, cycling or strength training. Even light exercise makes a difference.
  • Enlist family and friends for motivation and accountability. Make healthy choices together.
  • Consult a nutritionist or personal trainer for customised reduced-calorie diet and fitness plans.

Emotional Support and Community

Weight loss goes beyond the physical. A strong support system encourages you through challenges:

  • Join an in-person or online support group. Share tips and struggles with others on the same journey.
  • Enlist a therapist to manage stress, anxiety, depression and self-esteem issues that may sabotage your efforts or emerge along the way.
  • Share your goals and progress with loved ones. Their cheering section can uplift you through plateaus.
  • Celebrate non-scale victories: more energy, better sleep, breaking habits, and mood boosts. Your whole health is improving!

Alternative Weight Loss Treatments

Injections aren’t for everyone. Weight loss pills can also be effective:

Discuss alternatives like these with your doctor to determine if an oral weight loss medication could be appropriate for your situation.

Take the Next Steps with The Independent Pharmacy

Taking the first step on your weight loss journey is a brave act of self-love. Remember, you deserve a journey filled with compassion and understanding at every turn. At The Independent Pharmacy, we offer heart-centred, personalised guidance by experts who truly care about your success and overall happiness.

Our convenient online process lets you share your health history and goals in a self-assessment. This confidential information helps our clinical team get to know you and your needs.

Based on your assessment, we will suggest effective weight loss treatments tailored to you - whether injections, medications, or other options. You’ll have a chance to discuss choices, get advice, and find the best path forward.

The Independent Pharmacy offers a discreet, judgment-free zone to explore your options. Connect with real medical professionals who see you as a whole person. Together, find solutions to help you gain control over your health.

Start consultation or contact our team today to take the first step. You have the strength within to create positive change.

FAQs

Is Saxenda or Ozempic more effective?

Both Saxenda and Ozempic can be effective for weight loss, but they work differently. Saxenda is taken daily, while Ozempic is administered weekly. Ozempic may lead to more weight loss (up to 13% of body weight lost in studies), but Saxenda gives more flexibility with daily dosing. Discuss your needs with a doctor to determine which may be better for you.

What is better than Saxenda for weight loss?

According to clinical trials, the newest medications, Mounjaro and Wegovy, may lead to more weight loss than Saxenda. In studies, people lost up to 22.5% of body weight on Mounjaro over 68 weeks. Wegovy showed about 15% weight loss over 16 months. Talk to your doctor about whether these newer options may be preferable to Saxenda in your situation.

Is it ok to switch from Saxenda to Ozempic?

Switching from Saxenda to Ozempic may be possible, but you should not do this without your doctor’s supervision. They will determine if Ozempic is appropriate for you, discuss any adverse reactions, and provide guidance on properly tapering Saxenda as you transition between medications. Never change medications on your own.

Why is Saxenda so expensive?

Saxenda is expensive because it is a brand-name prescription drug with no generic alternative at this time. The pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk holds the patent, giving them control over pricing. Saxenda’s costs may also reflect the complex manufacturing process and extensive clinical trials required to bring a new injection drug to market.

Sources:

John P H Wilding, Rachel L Batterham, Salvatore Calanna, Melanie Davies, Luc F Van Gaal, Ildiko Lingvay, Barbara M McGowan, Julio Rosenstock, Marie T D Tran, Thomas A Wadden, Sean Wharton, Koutaro Yokote, Niels Zeuthen, Robert F Kushner; STEP 1 Study Group (2021). Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/

NICE (2024). Semaglutide - https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drugs/semaglutide/

NHS (2023). Calculate your body mass index (BMI) for adults - https://www.nhs.uk/health-assessment-tools/calculate-your-body-mass-index/calculate-bmi-for-adults

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