Weight Loss Treatments Explained: Which One Is Right For You
Written by Scott McDougall
There are two main types of injectable weight loss treatments people use to support their weight loss efforts - fat-dissolving injections and prescription weight loss injections. Fat-dissolving injections work by breaking down pockets of fat cells in specific areas of the body, like the double chin or stomach. And how do weight loss injections work? Weight loss injections work differently - they affect your whole body, not just certain spots, to help reduce hunger or speed up metabolism so you lose body weight overall.
Both shots can help people lose weight without surgery. But they work in unique ways and have different effects on your body, so it's important to understand what makes each one suitable for certain health goals or medical conditions.
In this guide, we'll help you make the right choice between fat-dissolving shots and injectable weight loss medication so it supports your weight loss journey in the way you need.
Weight Loss Injections
Target and reduce fat in specific areas
Promote overall weight loss
How They Work
Break down fat cells in targeted areas
Affect appetite or metabolism body-wide
Active Ingredient Example
Deoxycholic acid (e.g., Kybella)
Liraglutide (e.g., Saxenda)
Close to recommended weight with stubborn fat areas
Higher BMI, struggling to lose weight
Varies; typically 2-4 sessions
Long-term, you should see your doctor after 4 months of treatment
Significant reduction in targeted fat areas
5-10% of starting body weight loss
Common Side Effects
Swelling, bruising, pain, numbness at injection site
Upset stomach, constipation, nausea, headaches
Allergic reactions, nerve injury, uneven fat reduction
Inflammation of pancreas/gallbladder, thyroid tumour risk
2-4 sessions, private clinics, not covered by NHS for aesthetics
Varies by provider, medication, and dosage; some coverage by NHS if criteria met
Maintain healthy lifestyle to prevent fat reaccumulation
Lifestyle changes crucial to sustain weight loss
Fat-dissolving injections, such as Kybella, use a substance called deoxycholic acid to break down and eliminate fat cells. When injected into areas like your double chin, it breaks down the pockets of fat, then your body naturally eliminates the dissolved fat over several weeks.
These injections work directly on fat cells in specific spots they are injected into, like under the chin or along the stomach. They work best on fat deposits that are resistant to efforts like diet and exercise plans. The injections dissolve fat right where they are placed, like in the double chin.
Weight loss injections like Saxenda (liraglutide) or Wegovy (semaglutide) contain active ingredients that work throughout your body, not just where they are injected. The main ingredients influence how full your stomach feels or how fast calories burn rather than targeting fat cells directly.
Some fat-burning shots change your appetite by affecting areas of the brain that make you crave more or less food. Others speed up your metabolism, helping you burn more calories. So, these shots promote weight loss through reduced hunger or faster fat burning rather than targeting specific spots.
Research shows fat-dissolving injections are effective at reducing fat in targeted treatment areas like the chin and stomach. In studies, most people saw visible reductions in chin fat after 2-4 treatments done 1 month apart. Results last about 1 year on average before some fat may return if you regain weight.
The effectiveness of fat-melting injections varies from person to person. Factors like age, diet, metabolism, and total excess fat all impact results. But on average, studies found about 80% of people have a significant fat reduction in targeted body areas like under the chin and along the stomach after weight loss treatments.
Maintaining your progress long-term is a journey that involves continuing your healthy routines even after the injections, and it's okay to seek continuous support and guidance on this path. Working exercising into your regular schedule and focusing on nutritious food choices helps ensure fat does not reaccumulate. Fat loss injections are not meant to replace adopting healthier long-term habits.
Studies found that average weight loss ranges from 5-10% of starting body weight when also making diet and exercise changes. When it comes to weight loss medications like Saxenda, you should schedule a visit with your healthcare provider for a checkup 4 months after starting your treatment.
Like fat-dissolving shots, success rates for weight loss injections depend on the person. Factors like how strict you are with lifestyle changes play a major role. But most people taking these medications lose at least 5% of excess body weight.
If you're close to your recommended body weight but struggling with stubborn areas of fat that don't seem to budge with diet and exercise, you're not alone, and fat-dissolving injections might be a supportive option for you. Having focused fat pockets in areas like under the chin or along the stomach despite dedicated weight loss efforts makes you more likely to benefit.
Ideally, those considering fat reduction shots have a BMI under 30 since significant obesity is linked to factors like diabetes and heart health issues. Your physician can help you decide if trying fat-dissolving injections aligns with your current lifestyle efforts to reach a healthy weight.
If you've been working hard to lower your BMI through a reduced-calorie diet, exercise, and other efforts without the results you're hoping for, you should know you're not alone. In this case, weight loss injections may offer the additional support you need. Those with longstanding obesity and related health risks like high blood pressure or blood sugar problems can discuss these injections with their doctor.
To start weight loss shots, guidelines recommend having either a BMI over 27 with an obesity-related disease or a BMI over 30. A specialist weight management service screens candidates to maximise safety and make sure your treatment plan, including medical weight loss injections, fits your unique health needs.
As with fat-dissolving injections, using weight loss drugs works best alongside improvements in nutrition, activity levels, and healthy lifestyle behaviours for well-rounded health. Your healthcare team can help assess if trying prescription injections aids your journey.
Fat-dissolving injections are generally safe when properly administered by a trained medical professional. Common side effects include swelling, bruising, pain, and numbness at the injection site as the dissolved fat is eliminated.
Rare risks to discuss with your doctor include allergic reactions, nerve injury, ulcer formations, and uneven fat reduction. Make sure to follow aftercare directions to minimise potential side effects and support healthy clearance of dissolved fat cells. Let your provider know if any worrisome reactions develop.
Weight loss injections may cause side effects like upset stomach, constipation, nausea, diarrhoea, dizziness, and headaches in some people. Reactions at the injection location, like redness, itching, or swelling, can also occur.
Rare but serious risks include inflammation of the pancreas and gallbladder. Due to possible thyroid tumour risk, these drugs are not recommended if you or your relatives have a history of certain thyroid cancers.
To stay safe while trying these injections, have your prescribing doctor monitor you via blood tests and exams. Seek emergency care if symptoms like racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, rash, or swelling develop. Ongoing medical oversight keeps risks low.
The cost of fat-dissolving injections depends on the extent of your treatment, the clinic you visit, the experience of your practitioner and more. Most people need 2-4 sessions spaced a month apart for optimal results.
You can typically access fat loss injections like Kybella from private practices specialising in cosmetic treatments. The UK NHS does not cover removing fat pockets for purely aesthetic purposes. Patients pay privately for convenient appointments, and flexible financing options may be available through some clinics as well.
A full course of prescription appetite suppressant or metabolism-enhancing weight loss injections varies depending on your provider and the packages they offer. Cost depends on the specific medication chosen, required dosage levels, the clinic you visit, and other personalised treatment factors.
Saxenda, Wegovy, and similar drugs require prescriptions from licensed providers like obesity medicine specialists working alongside dietitians. The NHS may cover the cost of these injections if you meet specific medical requirements related to obesity. Otherwise, private clinics offer weight loss programs.
Choosing the right weight loss injection requires considering your health goals, medical background, commitment level, and budget. These key questions matter:
What are my problem areas?
If you have focused, pinchable fat pockets under your chin or along the stomach that are hard to reduce through a balanced diet and regular exercise, fat-dissolving injections can target those spots. If you aim to lose weight all over the body, general weight loss injections fit better.
What health risks concern me?
People with issues like diabetes or high blood pressure related to obesity may benefit from weight loss injections through their doctor. The shots help encourage overall weight loss. If your only concern is aesthetics, though, spot fat reduction could suit your needs.
Am I willing to make lifestyle changes?
All injectable weight loss aids work better when combined with changes in nutrition, activity levels, and eating habits. Consider your readiness to complement injections with better health behaviours.
Can I afford treatments long-term?
Get pricing estimates for your total treatment plan, including expected session numbers and medication course length. Weigh costs against your budget and savings to plan ahead.
Discussing your full health and weight goals openly with your family physician helps determine if speciality injections support your journey. Together, you can choose if shots enhance your path towards safe, sustainable weight loss and reduced obesity-related risks. Consider all your unique factors in this big decision.
With this information in hand, it’s time to take steps towards reaching your health and weight goals. The knowledgeable health professionals at The Independent Pharmacy are ready to guide your journey.
Start by visiting our website to take a simple online assessment. Just answer a few confidential questions about your current lifestyle, medical conditions, weight concerns, problem areas, and goals. This gives our team key details to understand your background and needs.
Next, you receive tailored treatment advice and options fully personalised for your situation. Our experts know the facts and safety information on fat loss injections, weight management medications, and complementary wellness programs. Feel supported in your decision-making process every step of the way.
Whether you hope to address specific areas like a double chin or aim for overall sustainable weight loss, solutions are available once you take that first proactive move.
Contact us today. Together, you can create a plan just for your path to better health.
The injections may sting briefly but are not extremely painful. Numbing creams can be applied beforehand if sensitive. Any discomfort fades quickly.
Most people begin to notice reduced appetite and increased weight loss around 2-4 weeks after starting weight loss injections alongside nutritious diet and exercise changes. But the full effects take longer to kick in - it may take 3 months or more to reach peak results. Being consistent with treatment is key.
Clinical studies found most people lose between 5-10% of their starting body weight over 3-6 months with these medications and lifestyle adjustments. For a 200-pound person, that means losing about 10 to 20 pounds typically. Losing just 5% of excess weight can have big health benefits.
It's natural for weight to fluctuate, and some people might experience weight regain after stopping Saxenda or other weight loss injections. Remember, it's about the journey, not just the destination, and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise habits can be a positive part of your lifestyle. Discuss a maintenance plan with your healthcare provider.
Scott is one of the two founders of The Independent Pharmacy. He is a registered pharmacist and the registered manager of our service with the CQC.
Dan is an experienced pharmacist having spent time working in both primary and secondary care. He currently supports our clinical team by providing robust clinical governance review of our internal processes and information.