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Dulaglutide vs Semaglutide for Weight Loss

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Dr. Hardik Soni

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Achieve Significant Weight Loss with the Latest Medications from Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness

Obesity has reached epidemic levels globally, with more than 1.9 billion adults overweight and 650 million living with obesity. Excess weight comes with an increased risk of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. 

While diet and exercise remain the foundation of any weight loss plan, medications can serve as useful adjuncts to help eligible patients achieve and sustain meaningful weight reduction.

Learn more how semaglutide and dulaglutide can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

What is Semaglutide for Weight Loss?

dulaglutide vs semaglutide for weight loss

Semaglutide is an injectable prescription medication approved specifically for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or who are overweight. Sold under the brand name Wegovy, it belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.

Semaglutide helps with weight loss through the following mechanisms:

  • Mimics Effects of GLP-1: The drug imitates the effects of GLP-1, a hormone released after meals that stimulates the release of insulin to control blood sugar. It helps create feelings of fullness.
  • Slows Stomach Emptying: By slowing down the emptying of the stomach contents into the intestines, semaglutide prolongs feelings of fullness and satiety after eating.
  • Acts on Areas of Brain That Regulate Appetite: Research indicates semaglutide may reduce appetite by acting on areas of the brain involved in food intake and cravings.

FDA Approval and Clinical Trial Results

In 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved semaglutide for chronic weight management based on positive results from four clinical trials.

In the main 68-week trial, people who took semaglutide lost an average of 15% of their body weight compared to just 2.4% for those taking a placebo. Up to a third of patients achieved weight loss of 20% or more. Improvements were also seen in waist circumference, blood pressure, and lipid levels.

Common Side Effects

Like other GLP-1 drugs, semaglutide can cause some gastrointestinal side effects. However, most tend to be mild to moderate in severity.

The most frequently reported side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain

By starting at a low dose and gradually increasing over time, side effects can often be minimized. But be sure to discuss any persistent or concerning reactions with your doctor.

Discover how Semaglutide can transform your weight loss journey by scheduling a personalized assessment with Dr. Soni

What is Dulaglutide for Weight Loss?

Dulaglutide is also a GLP-1 receptor agonist primarily used for managing type 2 diabetes. It is sold under the brand names Trulicity, Rixulti, and Victoza.

While not specifically FDA-approved for weight loss, dulaglutide has been shown in studies to have weight reducing effects in overweight and obese patients with diabetes.

Mechanisms for Dulaglutide Weight Loss

Dulaglutide can promote weight loss through several mechanisms including:

  • Mimicking GLP-1 Effects: Like semaglutide, dulaglutide mimics GLP-1, inducing feelings of fullness and satiety. This reduces calorie intake.
  • Slowing Gastric Emptying: Dulaglutide delays the emptying of food from the stomach into the small intestine. This prolongs the feeling of fullness after a meal.
  • Regulating Blood Sugar: By regulating blood glucose levels, dulaglutide may help minimize hunger and cravings associated with sharp rises and drops in blood sugar.

Clinical Trial Weight Loss Results

In studies of patients with obesity and diabetes, dulaglutide has been shown to result in modest weight reduction compared to placebo:

  • Average weight loss ranged from 0.4 to 2 pounds over the duration of various clinical trials.
  • Those with higher baseline weights who took dulaglutide for longer periods generally experienced greater weight loss.

So while not a weight loss wonder drug, dulaglutide may offer some appetite suppressing and metabolic benefits that can promote weight loss, especially for diabetic patients who are overweight.

Potential Side Effects

Dulaglutide can cause similar gastrointestinal side effects as semaglutide, but they also tend to be transient and mild. These include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain.

Comparing Semaglutide vs. Dulaglutide

With semaglutide and dulaglutide both belonging to the GLP-1 receptor agonist class, they have similarities but some key differences as well.

Molecular StructureWhile their mechanisms are alike, their molecular structures differ – semaglutide is smaller in size than dulaglutide. The difference in chemical composition allows semaglutide to have a more robust effect.
Efficacy for HbA1c and WeightMultiple clinical studies have demonstrated that semaglutide is more effective than dulaglutide at lowering blood sugar (measured by HbA1c reduction) and reducing body weight.
Half-Life DurationSemaglutide has a half-life of 7 days compared to 5 days with dulaglutide. This means semaglutide remains active in the body for longer between doses.
Approved Dosing RangeBoth drugs are injected subcutaneously once weekly, but semaglutide has a higher available dosing range of 0.5-2.0 mg compared to 0.75-1.5 mg with dulaglutide.

The option for higher doses with semaglutide allows for more flexibility in dosing and may account for its greater efficacy.

Switching from Dulaglutide to Semaglutide for Enhanced Weight Loss

dulaglutide vs semaglutide for weight loss

For patients currently taking dulaglutide who want to enhance their weight loss results, switching to semaglutide is a reasonable option backed by clinical evidence.

Studies on Patients Changing GLP-1 Medications

Multiple studies have evaluated the effects of transitioning patients from other GLP-1 receptor agonists like dulaglutide to semaglutide.

  • In one 26-week study of type 2 diabetes patients switched from liraglutide to semaglutide, both HbA1c and body weight decreased significantly more with semaglutide.
  • Exposure-response modeling also indicates changing to semaglutide from another GLP-1 RA results in additional lowering of both blood glucose and body weight.

Reasons Semaglutide Offers Better Weight Loss

Researchers have proposed several reasons why semaglutide appears to provide superior weight loss results:

By transitioning from dulaglutide to semaglutide, patients can take advantage of these mechanistic differences to potentially achieve greater weight loss, especially if they’ve hit a plateau on dulaglutide.

The switch should be supervised by a doctor to ensure safety and efficacy.

Ready to take your weight loss journey to the next level? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Soni to explore the benefits of switching to Semaglutide


I’ve tried everything to lose weight. Will semaglutide finally help?

Semaglutide has helped many patients finally achieve substantial weight loss after other methods have failed. In studies, over 30% of people lost 20% or more of their body weight.

How quickly can I expect to see results with semaglutide?

You should notice a reduction in appetite and cravings within a few weeks. However, maximum weight loss results are seen after taking semaglutide for 6-12 months.

Are there any major risks or side effects with semaglutide?

A: The most common side effects are mild GI issues like nausea and diarrhea. There is a small risk of thyroid tumors, so your thyroid will need monitoring. Risks appear low when used appropriately.

Will I experience hunger or cravings while taking semaglutide?

Most patients report feeling satisfied with smaller portions and notice a significant decrease in food cravings, especially for sweet and fatty foods.

Can I take semaglutide with other medications I’m on?

Semaglutide may interact with some common drugs like insulin, blood thinners, and certain antidepressants. Be sure to discuss all medications with Dr. Soni before starting.

Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals with Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness

Dr. Hardik Soni and staff from Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness

At Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness, Dr. Soni stays up-to-date on the latest anti-obesity medications. He develops fully customized weight loss plans integrating the most advanced medical therapies to help patients successfully and safely lose weight.

In our relaxing, spa-like environment, we offer a comprehensive array of the most effective non-invasive aesthetic treatments for real, lasting enhancements to your appearance. With cutting-edge technologies and our integrated approach, we can help you look and feel your best.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Soni today to learn more about utilizing semaglutide, dulaglutide or our other proven medical weight loss options as part of your transformation. 

Dr. Hardik Soni

MD, Founder/Lead Physician

About Dr. Hardik Soni

Dr. Hardik Soni is the founder and Medical Director of Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness. His primary focus is on minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures including botulinum injection (Botox and Dysport), dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse), laser hair removal, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation. Dr. Soni believes in a more conservative approach and his first goal is education. Clients are able to determine the ideal treatments after discussion with Dr. Soni regarding the expected outcomes, cost, as well as risks.

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