Blog/How Does GLP-1 Dosing Work for Weight Loss?
Jennie Stanford, MD | 6/10/2024 | 3 min read

How Does GLP-1 Dosing Work for Weight Loss?

Understanding the dosages you need for weight loss.

medication injector pens

GLP-1 medications have been dominating the weight loss space as of late. However, their application and dosage requirements can be intimidating and confusing for some patients. While other forms of the medication like pills and drops are becoming more available, injections are still the most popular method. We’ll break down what the dosing ranges look like for each GLP-1 receptor agonist type so you know what to expect going into your weight loss program.

Semaglutide dosing

Semaglutide, which is known by the brand names of Ozempic® and Wegovy®, is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist approved to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. Semaglutide injections are available in dosages of 0.25 mg up to 2.4 mg per week.

Here is a GLP-1 dosing chart for semaglutide being used for weight loss:

  • Weeks 1-4: 0.25 mg weekly for 4 weeks

  • Weeks 5-8: 0.5 mg weekly for 4 weeks

  • Weeks 9-12: 1 mg weekly for 4 weeks

  • Weeks 12-15: 1.7 mg weekly for 4 weeks

  • Weeks 16 and beyond: 2.4 mg weekly as a maintenance dose

Tirzepatide dosing

Tirzepatide, which is known by the brand names of Mounjaro® and Zepbound®, is also approved for use in type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. While the mechanisms of tirzepatide and semaglutide are similar, tirzepatide works on two main pathways instead of one. Tirzepatide is a dual agonist; it is a GLP-1 receptor agonist (like semaglutide) and also a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor agonist.

Tirzepatide dosing for type 2 diabetes and obesity is the same. 

  • Treatment begins with 2.5 mg weekly for 4 weeks;

  • The dosage can be increased to 5 mg once weekly if well tolerated. 

  • If further dosage increases are needed to achieve the desired results, tirzepatide can be increased by 2.5 mg weekly every 4 weeks to a maximum dose of 15 mg per week.

Liraglutide dosing

Liraglutide, known by the brand names of Victoza® and Saxenda®, is a GLP-1 receptor agonist with a similar mechanism of action as semaglutide, and it is also used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. However, liraglutide is dosed daily instead of weekly. 

Liraglutide dosing for type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity are different. For weight loss, the following dosage is used:

  • Week 1: 0.6 mg daily for one week

  • Week 2: 1.2 mg daily for one week

  • Week 3: 1.8 mg daily for one week

  • Week 4: 2.4 mg daily for one week

  • Weeks 5 and beyond: 3 mg daily as a therapeutic maintenance dose

Factors affecting GLP-1 dosing

The dosing of GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide, liraglutide, and tirzepatide for weight loss is influenced by several factors.

Drug pharmacologic characteristics

The various GLP-1 receptor agonists have different pharmacologic characteristics that determine their concentration, half-life, absorption and excretion. As a result, different drug dosages and dosage frequencies are recommended for the different GLP-1 receptor agonists.

Individual patient characteristics

Individual characteristics like body weight, kidney function, additional medical conditions and the use of other medications help determine the dosages needed of different GLP-1 receptor agonists. Slower kidney function and the use of other hypoglycemic medications each may require lower GLP-1 receptor agonist dosages. A higher body mass index or any indication for more rapid weight loss may require higher medication dosages to achieve the desired weight loss.

Medication side effects

Medication side effects commonly impact GLP-1 medication dosing. Following recommended titration schedules is essential to minimize unwanted side effects. Gastrointestinal side effects, like nausea and vomiting, are very common. Their severity often exists in a dose-dependent relationship. As a result, patients who experience side effects from GLP-1 receptor agonist treatment may require lower doses.

Determining your dose

If you are interested in taking a GLP-1 receptor agonist for weight loss, talk to a trusted healthcare professional. After reviewing your individual health factors and using patient-centered decision making, together you can decide which medication may be right for you. 

By following the recommended dosage titration schedules, considering your individual health factors, trending treatment results, and monitoring for side effects, you can adjust to the best GLP-1 receptor agonist dosing for you.

Ready to make a lasting impact on your health?

If you’ve already tried making lifestyle changes like going to the gym and eating a balanced diet, but aren’t seeing any results, it could be time to consider medication. For many, it can be that extra support they need to get their health back on track.

At Agile, we make it a priority to meet with our patients first, at no-cost, before ever prescribing a medication. This ensures all health history and weight loss goals have been reviewed to create a personalized weight loss program.  

Ready to make a change? Speak to one of Agile’s licensed physicians to see if you qualify for our semaglutide program. We offer trusted weight loss solutions from real doctors. At just $349/mo, your medication, visits and labs are all included in the subscription. No added costs or hidden fees. Ever!

See If You Qualify