GLP-1 receptor agonists can be a game changer for weight loss. Most people who go on these injectable drugs will lose weight. But some people don’t respond to the drugs as they or their doctors would like.
Read on to learn how much weight you can expect to lose on GLP-1, why some people don’t respond and what you can do about it.
How much weight loss can you expect on GLP-1s?
The amount of weight loss experienced on a GLP-1 medication differs greatly among people.
In a study looking at the drug tirzepatide, people lost an average of 15%-20% of their body weight. To put that in context, someone weighing 200 pounds could lose between 30 and 40 pounds.
Another report found an average weight loss of 6%-17% across a few different studies.
Who is considered a nonresponder?
Weight loss drugs are considered effective if they help you lose at least 5% of your body weight within 3 months. Many of the studies on the various GLP-1s and weight loss look at weight loss over a longer time frame, typically at least a year. But people who lose less than 5% of their body weight on these drugs after 3 months or more are considered nonresponders.
Why don’t some people respond?
Though GLP-1s can be really good at improving blood sugar control, people with diabetes are less likely to see significant weight loss. It’s not clear why this is. But researchers have suggested several possible reasons, including genetics and taking other medications that promote weight gain.
Other health conditions may also make some people less likely to see significant weight loss on GLP-1s. And some people may simply not respond well to GLP-1s without any obvious cause.
What to do if you’re not responding to GLP-1s
Throughout your journey on GLP-1s, it’s important to be in touch with your doctor. Your doctor can look at what other factors may interfere with your body’s ability to lose weight on GLP-1s. They will also adjust your dosage of the medication to get the maximum benefit.
But if you are still not losing weight after having reached the appropriate dosage, you may be a nonresponder. But don’t worry! There are many other types of anti-obesity medications. Talk with your provider about other options and treatments.