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GLP-1 Medications: What Are the Side Effects?

Image courtesy of Benefitfocus

GLP-1 works wonders for weight loss, and helps people reach goals that seem impossible, but every good thing can come with some downsides. When you take GLP-1, you open yourself up to benefits as well as downsides, and if it is something you are considering, it would be helpful to know some of these ahead of time. When you know what you might experience ahead of time, you will be ready for anything and know how to handle yourself. 

Some side effects of GLP-1 medications are worse than others, and some can be quite easy to deal with. Some come and go, and some might be permanent features depending on the user. So what’s the case with GLP-1? If you take GLP-1, what might you expect to experience? Will the side effects be manageable? Will they go away eventually? Keep reading to get all those answers and more.

What Is GLP-1?

This medication can have a significant impact. 

hand holding GLP Tool
This exchange could change your life. Image courtesy of SmithRx

GLP-1, glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists, are medications used to manage diabetes and promote weight loss. These medications mimic the naturally occurring GLP-1 in the body, a hormone that is released when you eat to regulate your blood sugar levels. This hormone regulates blood sugar levels by prompting the pancreas to release insulin. It in turn delays digestion and leads to feelings of fullness. 

GLP-1 medications are taken through once-weekly injections. There are several GLP-1 medications on the market under several different names, and they are either used for type 2 diabetes, weight loss, or both. These medications are most often injectable, and meant to be injected into the fatty tissue under the skin. The first GLP-1 antagonist medication was FDA approved in 2005, and they have been growing in popularity since then. These medications include Ozempic, Wegovy, Trulicity, Mounjaro, and more. 

How Do GLP-1 Medications Work?

They can change the way your body works. 

You could be surprised by the number on the scale in just a few weeks. Image courtesy of West Side Spirit

GLP-1 medications work by triggering the production of insulin. This insulin is released by the pancreas, and it lowers the amount of glucose in your blood, preventing the development of high blood sugar. GLP-1 medications also keep the body from releasing glucagon. Glucagon is a hormone that prompts the liver to release glucose, raising the body’s blood sugar levels. For some people, GLP-1 medications start working within hours, and for some people, it can take a few days, or even a few weeks. 

GLP-1 medications also slow down gastric emptying. It makes the stomach release food into the small intestine a whole lot slower, keeping you feeling full for longer. It also leads to a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream, keeping blood sugar levels from spiking too high. The feelings of fullness it induces leads to eventual weight loss. Users aren’t tempted to eat as much as they normally would be, and eventually sheds the pounds. All these reasons are why GLP-1 medications are so beneficial for people with obesity and diabetes. 

What Are GLP-1’s Side Effects?

Side effects can come and go and you might be able to help that. 

These side effects can impact your stomach functions. Image courtesy of ASAP Pain Doctors

GLP-1 drugs have been shown bringing several people results with seemingly minor side effects, but each person using these drugs will experience something different. These drugs commonly cause gastrolienal symptoms, some that are mild and some that are more severe. The symptoms can also be more severe during the beginning stages and become less pronounced over time as your body adjusts to the drugs. Almost half of the people who take GLP-1 will experience some of these symptoms, and for most, they will go away over time, and mainly become an issue whenever you up your dose. 


This is the most common side effect users experience when taking GLP-1 medications. This side effect can especially be prominent at the beginning of treatment, but will often lessen over time. You might also experience nausea on a GLP-1 medication when you have eaten too much. GLP-1 medications severely reduce the appetite, and sometimes, can make you feel nauseous if you eat more than your body can handle on the drug. To reduce this kind of nausea, you can try eating slower, and having more smaller meals throughout the day instead of fewer large meals. 


This side effect occurs as a result of the nausea. The more often you are nauseous, the more likely you are to end up vomiting. This is something that is going to stop when the nausea does, and you can try to avoid it in the meantime by watching your food intake to make sure that you aren’t eating foods that make you more likely to vomit. You might also need to make sure that you do not eat any more than you can handle, since GLP-1 medication can make you feel nauseous when you are too full, potentially leading to vomiting. 


Diarrhea is another symptom you might experience on a GLP-1 agonist medication. As the medication causes your digestive system to work differently, your body will need to adjust, and that might mean a period of having an upset stomach. You might need to adjust your diet to avoid this symptom or wait for your body to adjust. This symptom will likely go away after the first few weeks of treatment. 

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar is a potential, though unlikely side effect of GLP-1. Since GLP-1 lowers blood sugar, there is a chance that yours may get too low when using it. Though this is more likely to happen if you take GLP-1 in combination with other diabetes medications. In that case, both medications could strengthen each other's effects and lower blood sugar too much. Though in most cases, unless you aren’t getting enough food, your blood sugar levels will be fine since GLP-1 mostly keeps blood sugar from spiking and doesn’t lower it too much on its own. 


Headaches are a side effect that can be possible, but aren’t very common with GLP-1 medications. They are far less likely to occur than gastrolienal symptoms, so they won’t be much of an issue for you on this medication. 

Injection Site Irritation

Injection site irritation is a possibility with GLP-1 medications because they need to be injected into the skin once a week. Injection site irritation can include symptoms like redness and swelling, and is more likely to occur if you inject the same site too many times. That is why it is recommended that you change up the injection site each week. If you switch it up regularly, you are less likely to face any irritation. 

Help Managing GLP-1’s Side Effects

GLP-1 is likely to cause stomach issues, so it could be a good idea to try to counteract them as best as you can. This can be accomplished through the use of foods and natural supplements, some of which can be found at Diet Direct. 

When you need a GLP-1 agonist medication for treatment, and you want to ward off some of the gastrolienal symptoms, you can use Diet Direct’s meal replacement shake when you’re not in the mood for a meal. When you need a good dose of nutrients, but don’t have enough room for a full meal, Diet Direct’s Wonderslim Meal Replacement Shake can help with that. It will allow you to feel satiated without the risk of upsetting your stomach. 

Replace a meal with something tasty and nutritious. Image courtesy of DietDirect

The Wonderslim Chocolate Cream Shake will hit your taste buds with a creamy and decadent flavor that will make you want more. It is packed with 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 grams of protein, and is only 100 calories. It comes in packaging that is easy to use for dieters on the go, and can be used as a meal replacement for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any meal in between. 

GLP-1, like any medication, comes with benefits and drawbacks, some of which can be managed. You might experience side effects from a GLP-1 medication, or maybe you won’t experience anything, but either way, it is good to be informed so you can manage your expectations in advance. Now that you know what you might experience on GLP-1, you have the power to decide if it is worth the potential risks.