What is GLP-1?
GLP-1, short for glucagon-like peptide-1, is a type of incretin hormone produced in the gut in response to food intake. It is a naturally occurring hormone in the body and plays a crucial role in the regulation of glucose metabolism. GLP-1 is involved in maintaining glucose homeostasis and has garnered significant attention in the field of diabetes management.
How Do GLP-1 Receptor Agonists Work?
GLP-1 receptor agonists mimick the actions of the natural GLP-1 hormone in the body. These medications activate GLP-1 receptors, which are present on various cells, including those in the pancreas, brain, and gastrointestinal tract.
When GLP-1 agonists activate GLP-1 receptors, they have several significant effects. They stimulate insulin secretion from the pancreas, promoting the uptake of glucose by cells and reducing blood sugar levels. Additionally, GLP-1 agonists inhibit the release of glucagon, which prevents the liver from producing excessive glucose. This combination of increased insulin secretion and decreased glucagon release helps to maintain more stable blood sugar levels, contributing to improved glycemic control.
GLP-1 agonists also slow down gastric emptying, which moderates the rise in blood glucose following meals. This effect can be particularly beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes who experience post-meal hyperglycemia. Furthermore, GLP-1 agonists promote a feeling of fullness, reducing appetite and overall calorie intake. By helping individuals with type 2 diabetes achieve weight loss, GLP-1 agonists offer additional metabolic benefits.
What are the different GLP-1 medications offered by Sunrise?
At this time, the Sunrise program offers access to Wegovy, Saxenda, Mounjaro, and Ozempic. While these medications are all GLP-1 medications, these drugs possess distinct characteristics, including varying dosage forms (injection or oral), frequency of dosing (daily or weekly), potential side effects, effectiveness, and cost. An overview of these medications is below:
While all of these medications have been evaluated in clinical studies for weight loss, only Wegovy and Saxenda are currently FDA-approved for weight loss. Both Mounjaro and Ozempic may be prescribed off-label as weight loss medication, but when prescribed off-label, insurance coverage for these medications is less common. As a result, Sunrise often defaults to prescribing Wegovy to our patients in order to provide them with a medication that is a higher likelihood of getting insurance coverage.
In order to get Mounjaro or Ozempic through Sunrise, patients must have a hemoglobin A1c </= 8 on labs and not be taking other medications for diabetes (excluding metformin).