Blog/Are GLP-1 Medications Safe?
12/18/2023 | 3 min read

Are GLP-1 Medications Safe?

How GLP-1 agonists can help with diabetes and weight loss

African man is sitting at the sofa and taking blood from his finger due to diabetes. The daily life of a man of African-American ethnicity person with a chronic illness who is using glucose tester.

GLP-1 medications are all the rage right now, and for good reason. They’ve gained substantial attention for their multi-use benefits, including blood sugar control, weight management and even reducing the risk of heart disease. While you’ve probably heard of several GLP-1 medications like Ozempic, Metformin, Trulicity, Byetta and Saxenda, odds are you may not know much about their specific uses, safety profiles and how they work in your body. 

That’s where we come in. We’ll dive into the intricacies surrounding GLP-1 medications, offering you a comprehensive guide to their uses, safety considerations and important precautions associated with these drugs.


Breaking Down the Basics of GLP-1

Glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) is a hormone that your body naturally produces, much like melatonin, which helps regulate our sleep cycles, or cortisol, produced in response to long-term stress. While it might not be as famous as these hormones, GLP-1 plays a vital role in your body’s overall health:

  • Blood sugar regulation: Assumes a central role in regulating blood sugar levels by orchestrating the release of insulin to counteract high glucose and preventing glucagon production to prevent sugar spikes. 

  • Appetite control: Influence satiety (hunger) and digestion, ensuring a slower pace for gastric emptying, resulting in prolonged fullness and sensible food consumption. 

  • Weight management: Offers a helping hand in curbing appetite and supporting weight loss endeavors. 

  • Cardiovascular health: Steps up with potential cardiovascular benefits, reducing the risk of heart-related events such as heart attacks and strokes. 

The role of GLP-1 medications in your health

Unlike more common hormone deficiencies like insulin or thyroid hormones, GLP-1 deficiencies are relatively rare. However, GLP-1 medications are typically used to provide a “boost” to the actions of GLP-1 rather than to address a natural deficiency. 

GLP-1 medications are synthetic versions of the hormone itself, designed to mimic its actions. Much like other medications, GLP-1 drugs have a wide range of applications.

Common uses of GLP-1 medications

  1. Type 2 diabetes management: GLP-1 medications are effective at controlling blood sugar levels. They help by boosting insulin when sugar levels spike and telling glucagon to cool it. When other diabetes meds fall short, these can be a diabetic's go-to. 

  2. Weight management: For those with type 2 diabetes, obesity may be a struggle as well. GLP-1 medications can promote weight loss by reducing appetite and slowing down the emptying of the stomach. 

  3. Cardiovascular benefits: Certain GLP-1 medications also provide heart health perks. They lower the risk of major heart issues like heart attacks and strokes, making them a go-to for those with diabetes-related heart issues.

Let’s talk about safety

A common question that comes with newer medication like GLP-1 drugs is simple: Is it safe? It’s a two-part answer. Yes, they are safe. And most medications are. But no medication is without potential risks. It’s crucial to be aware of the following factors

  1. Side effects: Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and decreased appetite. These effects tend to go away over time as your body adjusts to the new medication. Other side effects include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, constipation or diarrhea, heartburn or GERD, bloating, mood changes, drug interactions

  2. Hypoglycemia: Unlike other diabetes medications, GLP-1 drugs are less likely to cause low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, when used alone. When used in combination with other drugs that lower blood sugar, the risk of hypoglycemia remains. 

  3. Acute pancreatitis: In rare cases, GLP-1 medications have been associated with pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas. If you are experiencing severe abdominal pain on this drug, inform your healthcare provider immediately. 

GLP-1 medications are not a one-size-fits-all solution. They are typically prescribed for individuals with specific conditions. The suitability of GLP-1 medications depends on an individual’s medical history, current health and the recommendation of a healthcare professional. 

It's important to understand that these medications are not a universal remedy and must be tailored to individual needs. So, whether you’re grappling with type 2 diabetes, weight management or heart health concerns, discussing the possibilities of GLP-1 medications and how they fit into your health journey is a vital step towards a healthier you. 

Agile can help with your most common health concerns

At Agile, we believe everyone should have access to excellent healthcare, regardless of where you are or when you need it. Agile’s monthly weight loss subscription includes the cost of visits, labs and semaglutide medication shipped directly to you for just $349 per month! No hidden fees and no insurance needed. If you’re ready to take the first step towards achieving your weight loss goals, schedule your appointment today!