Titus Thorne

Last Updated May 29, 2023

Titus Thorne

 May 29, 2023

Looking for more information on liraglutide for weight loss?

If you're a researcher exploring options for chronic weight management, this guide has got you covered.

Liraglutide is increasingly studied and used to treat chronic weight issues, having been shown to effectively reduce body weight and improve metabolic health across a range of populations.

In our summary of the available research on liraglutide and weight loss, our expert team covers the peptide’s mechanism of action, benefits, and safety profile. We also provide insights into dosing and administering liraglutide.

Read on to discover what you need to know about liraglutide for weight loss.

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Disclaimer: Peptides.org contains information about products that are intended for laboratory and research use only, unless otherwise explicitly stated. This information, including any referenced scientific or clinical research, is made available for educational purposes only. Peptides.org makes every effort to ensure that any information it shares complies with national and international standards for clinical trial information and is committed to the timely disclosure of the design and results of all interventional clinical studies for innovative treatments publicly available or that may be made available. However, research is not considered conclusive. Peptides.org makes no claims that any products referenced can cure, treat or prevent any conditions, including any conditions referenced on its website or in print materials.

What is Liraglutide?

Liraglutide is a peptide clinically used to treat type 2 diabetes (T2D) and chronic weight management issues. It is a synthetic form of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is naturally produced in the body in response to food intake [1, 2].

GLP-1 is an incretin hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin release from the pancreas, suppressing glucagon release, and reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver [3].

Liraglutide works by mimicking the effects of GLP-1 in the body. It is 97% homologous to the hormone and binds to GLP-1 receptors all over the body [4].

It works to lower blood sugar levels and improve glycemic control by activating the receptors in the pancreas. It also slows down the emptying of the stomach after a meal, which helps to reduce postprandial glucose levels, suppress appetite, and promote feelings of fullness [5].

Liraglutide was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of T2D under the brand name Victoza. It is designated for use in combination with diet and exercise to help lower blood sugar levels in adults with the condition [6].

Later, the FDA approved liraglutide for lowering cardiovascular risk in T2D patients [7].

A higher dosage of liraglutide under the brand name Saxenda is also approved by the FDA for chronic weight management in several population groups. These include [8, 9, 10, 11]:

  • adults with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 kg/m2 (obesity)
  • adults with a BMI of 27 kg/m2 and at least one weight-related comorbidity
  • adolescents aged 12-17 who are obese or weigh more than 132 pounds (60kg)

Liraglutide For Weight Loss

Liraglutide For Weight Loss

As mentioned, liraglutide has gained FDA approval for chronic weight management. The indication is backed by multiple clinical trials demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of liraglutide in promoting weight loss in overweight and obese individuals.

Below, you will find in-depth details on all potential mechanisms via which liraglutide induces weight reduction and discover the best reviews on liraglutide weight loss effects.

How Does Liraglutide Work For Weight Loss?

Liraglutide works for weight loss by acting through complex mechanisms that involve activation of the GLP-1 receptors in the brain, gut, and adipose tissue.

For example, liraglutide works to reduce hunger by acting as an agonist of the GLP-1 receptors expressed in the brain, specifically in regions that play a crucial role in regulating appetite [12].

It binds to the GLP-1 receptors present in neurons of the arcuate nucleus in the hypothalamus—the part of the brain that regulates appetite and hunger. These neurons express the so-called proopiomelanocortin and cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (POMC/CART).

Liraglutide directly activates POMC/CART neurons and indirectly suppresses a couple of orexigenic peptides called neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP). This leads to increased feelings of satiety and decreased hunger [13].

In addition, studies show that liraglutide can reduce the weight-loss-related decrease in leptin. Leptin is also known as the satiety hormone and is produced by white adipose tissue. During weight loss, body fat levels decrease, which also reduces leptin levels and its satiety-promoting effect. Liraglutide is evidenced to partially prevent the decrease in leptin levels during weight loss, possibly by interacting with the GLP-1 receptors in adipose tissue [14].

Researchers have also noted that liraglutide therapy is associated with higher levels of another satiety-promoting hormone: peptide YY (PYY). This peptide hormone signals fullness to the brain and reduces appetite [14].

Liraglutide likely exerts these effects by activating the GLP-1 receptors in the gastrointestinal system since PYY is produced primarily in the gut. Researchers have suggested that by increasing the levels of PYY, liraglutide may contribute to long-term weight management [12].

A study by van Can et al. (2014) showed that 3.0mg liraglutide can slow down gastric emptying by 23% during the first hour after a meal when compared to placebo. The researchers did not report any increase in energy expenditure during liraglutide therapy, suggesting that the weight loss is primarily due to its appetite-suppressing effects, potentially exerted by the slower postprandial gastric emptying [15].

However, the researchers noted that the effect of liraglutide on gastric emptying was no longer significant after the third hour following meal consumption. Thus, it is unknown if the slower gastric emptying during the first 1-3 hours after a meal contributes meaningfully to the weight loss effects of the peptide.

Liraglutide For Weight Loss | Reviews

Systematic literature reviews reveal that the appetite-suppressing effects of liraglutide can lead to significant weight loss.

A 2017 critical review published in Obesity Science & Practice reported that 20 weeks of 3mg liraglutide daily led to an average of 3.7-8.0 kg (~8-18 lbs) of weight loss in individuals with a >30 BMI. Further, the researchers reported that 73% of the participants lost at least 5% of their body weight, with 37% losing at least 10% of their body weight [16].

Researchers should also note a 2022 systematic review by Konwar et al., which covered 14 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and also reported that liraglutide could result in significant weight loss. The meta-analysis revealed that 3mg of liraglutide taken for 20-56 weeks led to about 4.91kg (~11 lbs) greater weight loss on average compared to placebo [17].

Another 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis suggested that liraglutide's weight loss effects are not limited to subcutaneous fat, but can also significantly impact visceral and organ fat [18].

Excessive levels of visceral fat usually manifest with abdominal obesity, and it is a major risk factor for chronic diseases such as T2D, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

Liraglutide Dosing For Weight Loss

Liraglutide has a half-life of approximately 13 hours, thus intended for once-daily administration [19].

Saxenda serves as a useful reference regarding weight loss research, with the evidence suggesting a maximum daily dose of 3.0mg for this purpose [20].

However, it is crucial to start with a low dose at the beginning of each study and gradually increase the liraglutide dosage over five weeks to minimize the incidence of adverse effects.

Here is a simple dosing protocol of liraglutide for weight loss based on Saxenda research [21, 22]:

  • Dose: 0.6mg/daily in week one, 1.2mg/daily in week two, 1.8mg/daily in week three, 2.4mg/daily in week four, and 3.0mg/daily in weeks five and beyond.
  • Frequency: Daily subcutaneous injections.
  • Study Duration (at the full dose of 3mg): up to 68 weeks.
  • Notes: This protocol calls for a gradual increase of daily dose to lower the risk of side effects. Do not exceed the maximum daily liraglutide dose of 3.0mg.

Other Liraglutide Benefits

Apart from its effectiveness for weight loss, liraglutide has a range of other proven and potential benefits, which you can discover below.

Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk in T2D

In addition to its weight management indications, liraglutide has also been approved for the management of glycemic control in individuals with T2D.

To assess its real-world clinical effectiveness in treating T2D, researchers conducted a systematic review that included 43 randomized trials. The results of the review showed that liraglutide treatment significantly reduced glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels by up to 2.2% within 6 months of initiation.

Additionally, the researchers highlight that liraglutide therapy was well-tolerated and associated with a low risk of hypoglycemia, and that the positive effects of treatment were sustained for at least 12 months [23].

In addition to its glycemic control benefits, studies have demonstrated that liraglutide can also reduce the incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with T2D, regardless of any history of such events [24].

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver and Diabetic Nephropathy

T2D can lead to a number of serious complications, including kidney disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Studies have suggested that liraglutide may offer effective prevention.

In a meta-analysis of 18 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), including over 1500 individuals with T2D, researchers suggested that liraglutide can improve indicators of renal function such as urine albumin-creatinine ratio, serum creatinine, and cystatin C levels [25].

Another meta-analysis examined data from 535 participants and found that liraglutide significantly decreases liver fat, lipoproteins, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in individuals with T2D and NAFLD [26].

Potential Neuroprotective Effects

By activating the GLP-1 receptors in the brain, liraglutide may exert neuroprotective effects and help reduce neuroinflammation in chronic degenerative diseases such as dementia.

One trial published by Edison et al. in Journal of the Alzheimer's Association revealed that 12 months of liraglutide therapy can significantly improve cognitive function and the volume of the brain cortex in individuals with Alzheimer's disease [27].

More research is needed to evaluate the potential of liraglutide as an add-on therapy for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Liraglutide For Weight Loss

Liraglutide Side Effects and Safety

The most common side effects of liraglutide are symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. These adverse reactions are usually mild to moderate in severity and tend to resolve over time as the body adjusts to the treatment [28].

Another potential safety concern with liraglutide is its effect on heart rate. Studies have shown that liraglutide can cause a small increase in heart rate, which may be a concern for individuals with pre-existing heart conditions [29].

However, it is important to note that the overall cardiovascular safety of liraglutide has been extensively studied, and the peptide has been found to be safe for use and even reduce cardiovascular risk in T2D [30].

More serious side effects of liraglutide are rare but can include pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, and allergic reactions. Pancreatitis and gallbladder disease can both cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting [31].

Animal studies have also suggested an increased risk of thyroid cancer and other malignancies, but clinical studies have yet to prove or refute these potential adverse effects in humans [32].

How to Buy Liraglutide Online | 2023 Edition

To ensure quality and safety in research, scientists are advised to obtain liraglutide only from reputable vendors specializing in research peptides.

If you're a researcher looking to buy liraglutide for weight loss research, Peptide Sciences is a reliable online vendor that you can trust. In fact, they are one of the leading vendors of research peptides worldwide.

Here are some reasons why we recommend purchasing from Peptide Sciences:

  • High-quality Peptides: Peptide Sciences is known for its high-quality offerings, and its liraglutide is no exception. It is pure, potent, and lab-tested, ensuring that you get the best results in your research.
  • Competitive Pricing: Peptide Sciences offers competitive pricing for their liraglutide, and sells it in 10 vial packs to facilitate long-term study.
  • Fast Shipping: The vendor ships its products quickly and efficiently, ensuring that you receive your liraglutide in a timely manner. Shipping fees are waived on U.S. orders of $200 or more.
  • Customer Service: Peptide Sciences has excellent customer service, with a team of knowledgeable professionals who are available to answer any questions you may have about their products.

With their high-quality products, competitive pricing, fast shipping, and excellent customer service, Peptide Sciences is easily our top choice among all online vendors.

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How to Reconstitute Liraglutide

For research purposes, liraglutide is typically sold as a lyophilized powder that requires reconstitution with a sterile solvent before use.

Bacteriostatic water is a recommended solvent as it contains 0.9% benzyl alcohol, which suppresses the growth of microorganisms and extends the shelf life of the peptide by up to four weeks when refrigerated.

Sterile water, on the other hand, does not suppress microbial growth, and any peptide reconstituted with sterile water becomes unsuitable for use after 24 hours.

To reconstitute liraglutide, researchers require among the following materials:

  • a vial of bacteriostatic water
  • a vial of lyophilized liraglutide powder
  • a sterile syringe of at least 3cc
  • a sterile 1″ 20-gauge needle
  • alcohol swabs
  • a disposable sharps container.

Here are six steps for the reconstitution process which researchers can follow to ensure the success of the process:

  • Step 1: Allow the vials to reach room temperature before mixing liraglutide.
  • Step 2: Disinfect the stoppers of both vials using alcohol wipes to prevent bacterial contamination and infection risk.
  • Step 3: Inject 1ml of air into the vial with the diluent to make the fluid easier to withdraw. Then withdraw the correct amount of bacteriostatic water.
  • Step 4: Insert the needle into the vial with lyophilized liraglutide and slowly inject the bacteriostatic water while directing the tip of the needle at the wall of the vial to prevent foaming. Then discard the needle and the syringe into the sharps container.
  • Step 5: Let liraglutide dissolve naturally or use sonication. Shaking or tapping the vial can damage the peptide structure of liraglutide and render it ineffective. Also, avoid tapping the syringe when removing the air before injection.
  • Step 6: Check if the liquid is clear, turbid or if there are any particles. Discard the solution if it’s not clear. Otherwise, make sure to store the reconstituted peptide according to the recommendation on the specific product label.

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Here's a few of the most frequently asked questions about Liraglutide:

Liraglutide vs. Semaglutide

Semaglutide is a medication similar to liraglutide and also belongs to the class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.

Like liraglutide, semaglutide is used to treat T2D, and it is FDA-approved for this indication under the brand name Ozempic. Semaglutide is also available in a higher dose for weight management under the brand name Wegovy.

Semaglutide has a longer half-life than liraglutide, making it potentially more effective in reducing blood sugar levels and body weight.

Both peptides have similar safety profiles. One disadvantage of semaglutide compared to liraglutide is that it may be more likely to cause nausea and other gastrointestinal issues.

Liraglutide vs. Tirzepatide

Tirzepatide is a dual agonist that targets both the GLP-1 receptor and the glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) receptor, which may lead to more robust glycemic control and weight loss.

Further, tirzepatide has a longer half-life than liraglutide and can be administered less frequently—once weekly vs. once daily.

Like liraglutide, it has been FDA-approved for glycemic control and reducing cardiovascular risk in T2D. But unlike liraglutide, it has yet to gain approval for chronic weight management, although such clearance is expected later in 2023.

Tirzepatide may be more likely than liraglutide to cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, especially during the titration phase.

Additionally, as a newer peptide, tirzepatide has not yet been studied as extensively as liraglutide in terms of long-term safety and efficacy.

Liraglutide vs. Dulaglutide

Dulaglutide is another medication belonging to the GLP-1 receptor agonist class. It is FDA-approved for T2D management under the brand name Trulicity. Similarly to liraglutide, it has been shown to improve glycemic control, reduce cardiovascular risk, and promote weight loss.

However, dulaglutide is not approved for weight loss or weight management. The peptide has a longer half-life than liraglutide, which is why it is usually administered once a week, while liraglutide is taken once a day.

Overall, both peptides have similar efficacy in terms of glycemic control and lowering the risk of cardiovascular events in individuals with T2D.

Additionally, while both medications have a similar safety profile, dulaglutide has been associated with a slightly higher incidence of gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea and diarrhea, compared to liraglutide.

Weight Loss and Liraglutide | Verdict

Liraglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that has been approved as a weight loss agent in overweight and obese individuals. It has shown impressive and sustainable results in reducing body weight.

Studies have also found that liraglutide can effectively regulate blood sugar levels in T2D, prevent many related complications, and exert additional neuroprotective effects.

Liraglutide for weight loss can be legally purchased by qualified professionals looking to incorporate it into their research. The peptide is administered once daily while following a specific weight loss dosing regime, and exhibits a favorable safety profile when handled by qualified personnel.


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  2. Müller, T. D., Finan, B., Bloom, S. R., D'Alessio, D., Drucker, D. J., Flatt, P. R., Fritsche, A., Gribble, F., Grill, H. J., Habener, J. F., Holstw, J. J., Langhans, W., Meier, J. J., Nauck, M. A., Perez-Tilve, D., Pocai, A., Reimann, F., Sandoval, D. A., Schwartz, T. W., Seeley, R. J., … Tschöp, M. H. (2019). Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Molecular metabolism, 30, 72–130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molmet.2019.09.010
  3. Jin, T., & Weng, J. (2016). Hepatic functions of GLP-1 and its based drugs: current disputes and perspectives. American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism, 311(3), E620–E627. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00069.2016
  4. Bode B. (2011). Liraglutide: a review of the first once-daily GLP-1 receptor agonist. The American journal of managed care, 17(2 Suppl), S59–S70.
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  12. Ard, J., Fitch, A., Fruh, S., & Herman, L. (2021). Weight Loss and Maintenance Related to the Mechanism of Action of Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists. Advances in therapy, 38(6), 2821–2839. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12325-021-01710-0
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  17. Konwar, M., Bose, D., Jaiswal, S. K., Maurya, M. K., & Ravi, R. (2022). Efficacy and Safety of Liraglutide 3.0 mg in Patients with Overweight and Obese with or without Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of clinical practice, 2022, 1201977. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/1201977
  18. He, F., Chen, W., Xu, W., Liu, D., Xiao, Z., Tang, Y., Lin, Z., Liao, Y., Bin, J., Chen, G., & Chen, Y. (2023). Safety and efficacy of liraglutide on reducing visceral and ectopic fat in adults with or without type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes, obesity & metabolism, 25(3), 664–674. https://doi.org/10.1111/dom.14908
  19. Alruwaili, H., Dehestani, B., & le Roux, C. W. (2021). Clinical Impact of Liraglutide as a Treatment of Obesity. Clinical pharmacology : advances and applications, 13, 53–60. https://doi.org/10.2147/CPAA.S276085
  20. Tilinca, M. C., Tiuca, R. A., Burlacu, A., & Varga, A. (2021). A 2021 Update on the Use of Liraglutide in the Modern Treatment of ‘Diabesity': A Narrative Review. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 57(7), 669. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57070669
  21. Mehta, A., Marso, S. P., & Neeland, I. J. (2017). Liraglutide for weight management: a critical review of the evidence. Obesity science & practice, 3(1), 3–14. https://doi.org/10.1002/osp4.84
  22. Trenson, L., Trenson, S., van Nes, F., Moyson, C., Lannoo, M., Deleus, E., Meulemans, A., Matthys, C., Mertens, A., Van der Schueren, B., & Vangoitsenhoven, R. (2022). Liraglutide for Weight Management in the Real World: Significant Weight Loss Even if the Maximal Daily Dose Is Not Achieved. Obesity facts, 15(1), 83–89. https://doi.org/10.1159/000520217
  23. Ostawal, A., Mocevic, E., Kragh, N., & Xu, W. (2016). Clinical Effectiveness of Liraglutide in Type 2 Diabetes Treatment in the Real-World Setting: A Systematic Literature Review. Diabetes therapy : research, treatment and education of diabetes and related disorders, 7(3), 411–438. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13300-016-0180-0
  24. Verma, S., Poulter, N. R., Bhatt, D. L., Bain, S. C., Buse, J. B., Leiter, L. A., Nauck, M. A., Pratley, R. E., Zinman, B., Ørsted, D. D., Monk Fries, T., Rasmussen, S., & Marso, S. P. (2018). Effects of Liraglutide on Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus With or Without History of Myocardial Infarction or Stroke. Circulation, 138(25), 2884–2894. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.034516
  25. Mali, N., Su, F., Ge, J., Fan, W. X., Zhang, J., & Ma, J. (2022). Efficacy of liraglutide in patients with diabetic nephropathy: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. BMC endocrine disorders, 22(1), 93. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12902-022-01006-6
  26. Song, T., Jia, Y., Li, Z., Wang, F., Ren, L., & Chen, S. (2021). Effects of Liraglutide on Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Diabetes therapy : research, treatment and education of diabetes and related disorders, 12(6), 1735–1749. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13300-021-01072-4
  27. Edison, P., Femminella, G. D., Ritchie, C. W., Holmes, C., Walker, Z., Ridha, B. H., … & Ballard, C. (2021). Evaluation of liraglutide in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 17, e057848.
  28. Seo Y. G. (2021). Side Effects Associated with Liraglutide Treatment for Obesity as Well as Diabetes. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, 30(1), 12–19. https://doi.org/10.7570/jomes20059
  29. Zhou, W. W., Huang, B., & Liu, M. L. (2017). An Increase of Heart Rate and Electrocardiographic Changes after Subcutaneous Liraglutide. Chinese medical journal, 130(23), 2893–2894. https://doi.org/10.4103/0366-6999.219142
  30. Marso, S. P., Lindsey, J. B., Stolker, J. M., House, J. A., Martinez Ravn, G., Kennedy, K. F., Jensen, T. M., & Buse, J. B. (2011). Cardiovascular safety of liraglutide assessed in a patient-level pooled analysis of phase 2: 3 liraglutide clinical development studies. Diabetes & vascular disease research, 8(3), 237–240. https://doi.org/10.1177/1479164111408937
  31. Jensen, T. M., Saha, K., & Steinberg, W. M. (2015). Is there a link between liraglutide and pancreatitis? A post hoc review of pooled and patient-level data from completed liraglutide type 2 diabetes clinical trials. Diabetes care, 38(6), 1058–1066. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc13-1210
  32. Funch, D., Mortimer, K., Ziyadeh, N. J., D Seeger, J., Zhou, L., Ng, E., Ross, D., Major-Pedersen, A., Bosch-Traberg, H., Gydesen, H., & Dore, D. D. (2021). Risk of Thyroid Cancer Associated with Use of Liraglutide and Other Antidiabetic Drugs in a US Commercially Insured Population. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity : targets and therapy, 14, 2619–2629. https://doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S305496

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