Obesity is a growing problem in the United States, affecting more than two in five adults (42.4%) and nearly one in five children and adolescents (19.3%) aged 2 to 19. This widespread issue significantly increases the risk of severe health problems, including heart disease and stroke, which are major threats to Americans, leading to over 112,000 deaths each year.

For those struggling with obesity, traditional methods like diet and exercise sometimes fall short. The increasing popularity of weight loss medications, particularly weight loss pens, offers a promising solution. These pens are designed to help individuals lose weight more effectively and safely.

In this article, you will learn about the best weight loss injection pens available in 2024, how they work, their benefits, and what makes them stand out in the fight against obesity.

Key Takeaways

  • Weight loss pens like Saxenda, Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Ozempic help manage weight by reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness, aiding in significant weight loss.
  • Clinical studies show that Wegovy users can lose about 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks, while Mounjaro users can lose up to 22.5% over 72 weeks.
  • Saxenda is used daily, while Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Ozempic are taken weekly, making them convenient options for long-term weight management.
  • Weight loss pens are most effective when combined with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, emphasizing the importance of lifestyle changes.
  • Common side effects of weight loss pens include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, with each pen having unique pros and cons that should be considered.
  • Weight loss pens are generally prescribed for adults with a BMI of 30 or higher, or 27 or higher with weight-related health conditions like type 2 diabetes or hypertension.

How Do Weight Loss Pens Work?

Person injecting weight loss pen into stomach

Weight loss pens are medical devices that deliver medication via subcutaneous injections to aid in weight management. These pens are pre-filled with specific medications that help individuals lose weight by influencing hunger and metabolic processes.

The mechanism of weight loss pens typically involves the use of medications that act on the body’s natural hormones to regulate appetite and food intake. For example, many weight loss pens contain GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) agonists, which mimic the action of the GLP-1 hormone. This hormone is released in the gut and sends signals to the brain to reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness, helping individuals eat less and lose weight.

The benefits of using weight loss pens include:

  • Easy to use with pre-measured doses.
  • Proven to help reduce body weight significantly.
  • Generally well-tolerated with manageable side effects.

Common active ingredients in weight loss pens include GLP-1 agonists such as liraglutide and semaglutide. These ingredients work by:

  • Reducing hunger and food intake.
  • Increasing feelings of fullness after meals.
  • Helping to stabilize blood glucose, which can reduce food cravings.

Top Weight Loss Pens for 2024

Weight Loss Pens

MedicationApproved for Weight Loss?Typical Weight LossHow Often You Take It
Saxenda (Liraglutide)Yes5-10% of body weight over a yearDaily
Wegovy (Semaglutide)Yes15% of body weight over 68 weeksWeekly
Mounjaro (Tirzepatide)YesUp to 22.5% of body weight over 72 weeksWeekly
Ozempic (Semaglutide)No (primarily for type 2 diabetes but used off-label for weight loss)14 pounds lost in 40 weeksWeekly
Zepbound (Tirzepatide)YesUp to 20.9% of body weight in 72 weeksWeekly
Trulicity (Dulaglutide)No (primarily for type 2 diabetes but used off-label for weight loss)8.4 pounds lost 36 weeksWeekly

Detailed Comparison of Weight Loss Pens

Saxenda (Liraglutide)

Saxenda is a prescription medication in the form of a pre-filled pen that delivers the active ingredient liraglutide, which is used for weight loss in adults and certain adolescents. Liraglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that mimics the hormone GLP-1, which regulates appetite and food intake. 

How Does Saxenda Work for Weight Loss?

Saxenda works by slowing gastric emptying and increasing feelings of fullness after eating, which helps reduce overall calorie intake. It also affects areas of the brain that control hunger, leading to decreased appetite. Combined with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, Saxenda can help individuals achieve and maintain significant weight loss.

Clinical studies have shown that Saxenda is effective for weight loss. According to a study, participants who used a Saxenda weight loss injection pen experienced significant weight reduction compared to those who took a placebo. The study found that individuals using Saxenda lost an average of 5 and 10% of their body weight over a 56-week period. The medication also improved other health markers, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

What are the side effects of Saxenda?

Common side effects of Saxenda:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • Injection site reactions

Severe side effects of Saxenda:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Renal impairment
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Increased heart rate
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Thyroid tumors (including cancer)

Wegovy (Semaglutide)

Wegovy is another prescription weight loss injection pen delivered through a pre-filled pen containing the active ingredient semaglutide. It is used for weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition. Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, which means it mimics the action of the GLP-1 hormone that regulates appetite and food intake.

How Does Wegovy Work for Weight Loss?

Wegovy works by slowing the emptying of the stomach and promoting a feeling of fullness, which helps reduce food consumption and overall calorie intake. Additionally, it influences areas of the brain that control hunger, leading to decreased appetite. Wegovy has demonstrated significant effectiveness in clinical studies. On average, participants using Wegovy lost about 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks.

Is It Safe to Use Wegovy for Weight Loss?

Wegovy is a prescription medication typically recommended for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher (obese) or a BMI of 27 or higher (overweight) with at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. Its safety profile has been evaluated in clinical trials, and it is generally considered safe.

Are There Any Common Side Effects Associated with Wegovy?

Like any medication, Wegovy can cause side effects, most of which are related to the gastrointestinal system. Common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain

These symptoms often diminish as the body adjusts to the medication over a few weeks.

Mounjaro (Tirzepatide)

Mounjaro is a weight loss pen that contains tirzepatide, a dual GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist. It is administered once weekly via subcutaneous injection and is used to help individuals with obesity or overweight achieve weight loss.

Tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Mounjaro, targets both GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 receptors. By stimulating these receptors, Mounjaro enhances insulin secretion, suppresses appetite, and promotes feelings of fullness. This dual action leads to reduced calorie intake and significant weight loss.

How does Mounjaro aid in weight loss?

Mounjaro aids in weight loss by mimicking the actions of the hormones GIP and GLP-1, which play key roles in regulating insulin secretion and appetite. By activating these receptors, Mounjaro helps slow gastric emptying, leading to a prolonged feeling of fullness after meals. This results in reduced food intake and lower calorie consumption. Additionally, Mounjaro influences brain areas that control hunger, further decreasing appetite. When combined with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, Mounjaro has been shown to promote significant weight loss.

What are the potential side effects of using Mounjaro?

The potential side effects of using Mounjaro include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation

Less common but more serious side effects may include:

  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), especially when used with other diabetes medications
  • Kidney problems
  • Allergic reactions

What do clinical trials say about the effectiveness of Mounjaro?

Clinical studies have shown that Mounjaro is highly effective for weight loss. The SURPASS clinical trial program, which included thousands of participants, demonstrated significant weight reduction results. On average, participants using Mounjaro lost up to 22.5% of their body weight over a period of 72 weeks. These trials also indicated improvements in various health markers, including blood sugar control, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Ozempic (Semaglutide)

Ozempic is a prescription medication that comes in a pre-filled pen designed for subcutaneous injection. It contains the active ingredient semaglutide, which is primarily used to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that mimics the incretin hormone GLP-1, which helps lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin release and decreasing glucagon secretion in a glucose-dependent manner.

While Ozempic is approved for managing type 2 diabetes, it is also used off-label for weight loss. Off-label use means that it is prescribed for a purpose other than what it is officially approved for by regulatory agencies.

How Does Ozempic Help with Weight Loss?

Ozempic helps with weight loss by mimicking the GLP-1 hormone, which regulates appetite and food intake. It works by slowing gastric emptying, which prolongs the feeling of fullness after eating and reduces overall calorie intake. Additionally, Ozempic acts on brain areas that control hunger, leading to a decreased appetite. These combined effects help individuals consume fewer calories, contributing to weight loss when combined with diet and exercise. According to a study, participants who took Ozempic lost up to 14 pounds in 40 weeks.  Higher doses of Ozempic also result in greater weight loss. Clinical studies have demonstrated a dose-dependent relationship between Ozempic and weight loss. Patients on higher doses (e.g., 1 mg or 2 mg per week) tend to lose more weight compared to those on lower doses (e.g., 0.5 mg per week). However, higher doses may also increase the risk of side effects, so patients need to work closely with their doctor to determine the most appropriate and effective dose for their individual needs.

Although Ozempic is not specifically approved as a weight-loss drug, its impact on appetite and food intake makes it a beneficial option for weight management in people with type 2 diabetes. The same trials also showed improvements in blood sugar control and other metabolic health markers.

What are the possible side effects of Ozempic?

Common side effects of Ozempic:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Injection site reactions

Severe side effects of Ozempic:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Diabetic retinopathy complications
  • Kidney problems
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Hypoglycemia (especially when used with other diabetes medications)
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Thyroid tumors (including cancer)

Zepbound (Tirzepatide)

Zepbound is a prescription medication available in a pre-filled pen for subcutaneous injection. It contains tirzepatide, a dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Zepbound is primarily used for managing blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes, but it has also been shown to be effective for weight management.

How Does Zepbound Help with Weight Management?

Zepbound helps with weight management by mimicking the actions of the hormones GIP and GLP-1, which play essential roles in regulating insulin secretion, appetite, and food intake. By activating these receptors, Zepbound slows gastric emptying, leading to prolonged feelings of fullness after meals, which helps reduce overall calorie intake. It also influences brain areas that control hunger, resulting in decreased appetite.

What Are the Common Side Effects of Zepbound?

The common side effects of Zepbound include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation

Less common but more serious side effects can include:

  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), especially when used with other diabetes medications
  • Kidney problems
  • Allergic reactions

How Effective is Zepbound in Clinical Trials for Weight Loss?

When used alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, Zepbound has shown significant effectiveness in promoting weight loss and maintaining weight loss over time.

In a 72-week clinical trial involving adults without diabetes, Zepbound demonstrated the following average weight loss results:

  • 5 mg dose: 15.0% weight loss (approximately 34 lbs)
  • 10 mg dose: 19.5% weight loss (approximately 44 lbs)
  • 15 mg dose: 20.9% weight loss (approximately 48 lbs)
  • Placebo group: 3.1% weight loss (approximately 7 lbs)

For adults with diabetes, the average weight loss results were:

  • 10 mg dose: 12.8% weight loss (approximately 28 lbs)
  • 15 mg dose: 14.7% weight loss (approximately 33 lbs)
  • Placebo group: 3.2% weight loss (approximately 7 lbs)

Trulicity (Dulaglutide)

Trulicity is a prescription medication that comes in a pre-filled pen designed for subcutaneous injection. It contains the active ingredient dulaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Trulicity is primarily used to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it has been observed to support weight loss in some individuals.

How Does Trulicity (Dulaglutide) Support Weight Loss?

Trulicity supports weight loss by mimicking the GLP-1 hormone, which plays a crucial role in regulating appetite and food intake. Dulaglutide, the active ingredient in Trulicity, slows down gastric emptying, leading to a longer feeling of fullness after eating. It also acts on the brain areas that control hunger, reducing appetite and overall food consumption. These combined effects help individuals consume fewer calories, which can contribute to weight loss.

Potential Side Effects of Trulicity

Trulicity may cause several side effects, including:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Hypoglycemia, especially when used with insulin or insulin secretagogues

Serious side effects can include pancreatitis, kidney problems, severe gastrointestinal issues, and the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors.

How effective is Trulicity for weight loss based on clinical studies?

Clinical studies have shown that Trulicity can lead to modest weight loss in patients with type 2 diabetes. For instance, in the AWARD-11 study, patients using Trulicity 1.5 mg experienced an average weight loss of 6.6 pounds over 36 weeks, while those on 3.0 mg and 4.5 mg doses lost 8.4 pounds and 10.1 pounds, respectively. After 52 weeks, the average weight loss was 7.8 pounds for the 1.5 mg dose, 9.5 pounds for the 3.0 mg dose, and 11.1 pounds for the 4.5 mg dose. The weight loss was more significant with higher doses, though individual results varied, with some patients experiencing more weight loss and others less or none.

How Much Do Pens Cost for Weight Loss? 

StrengthQuantityUS PriceBCI PriceSavings 
Saxenda (Liraglutide)6 mg/mL5 pens$1,397.00$515.00$882.00
Wegovy (Semaglutide)6.8 mg/3mL1 pen$1425.00$609.99$815.01
Mounjaro (Tirzepatide)5 mg/mL4 pens$1,117.00*$158.99$958.01
Ozempic (Semaglutide)2 mg/3mL1 pen$1,014.00$429.96$584.04
Zepbound (Tirzepatide)2.5mg/0.5mL4 pens$1,118.00N/AN/A
Trulicity (Dulaglutide)0.75mg/0.5mL4 pens$1,087.00$282.00$805.00

Note: Mounjaro is available in Canada in vial form.

Who Should Use Weight Loss Pens?

Female doctor measuring waist of overweight patient using tape measure. Obesity affecting middle

Weight loss pen injections are generally prescribed for adults who meet specific criteria related to their weight and health status. The typical eligibility criteria include:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI): Adults with a BMI of 30 or higher (classified as obese) are eligible for weight loss pens. Those with a BMI of 27 or higher (classified as overweight) may also qualify if they have at least one weight-related health condition such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol.
  • Inadequate Response to Other Weight Loss Methods: Individuals who have not achieved sufficient weight loss through diet and exercise alone may be considered for weight loss pens as an additional tool to help manage their weight.

While weight loss pens can be effective, there are several precautions and contraindications to consider:

  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Weight loss pens are not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Weight loss during these periods is generally not advised due to potential risks to the mother and baby.
  • History of Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome Type 2: Individuals with a personal or family history of these conditions should not use GLP-1 receptor agonists like those found in weight loss pens due to an increased risk of thyroid tumors.
  • Severe Gastrointestinal Disease: People with severe gastrointestinal conditions, such as gastroparesis, may experience worsening symptoms with GLP-1 receptor agonists and should avoid these medications.
  • Pancreatitis: Individuals with a history of pancreatitis should use weight loss pens with caution, as these medications can potentially increase the risk of developing pancreatitis.
  • Allergic Reactions: Anyone with a known allergy to the active ingredients or any components of the medication should not use these weight loss pens.
  • Other Medical Conditions: It is essential to consider other medical conditions and medications that might interact with weight loss pens. Each individual’s health profile should be evaluated to ensure the safe use of these medications.

Wrap-Up

Weight loss pens like Saxenda, Wegovy, Mounjaro, Ozempic, and Zepbound offer a promising solution for obese people. These medications work by reducing appetite, increasing feelings of fullness, and promoting significant weight loss when combined with a reduced-calorie diet and regular physical activity. While effective, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Choosing the right weight loss pen depends on individual needs and goals, but they all provide a convenient and impactful tool for achieving better weight management and overall health.

FAQs About Weight Loss Pens

What is the best injection for weight loss at home?

The best injection for weight loss at home varies by individual needs and medical conditions. Wegovy and Mounjaro are highly effective options, with Wegovy showing around 15% weight loss over 68 weeks and Mounjaro showing up to 22.5% weight loss over 72 weeks.

Do weight loss pens work?

Yes, weight loss pens like Saxenda, Wegovy, Mounjaro, Ozempic, and Zepbound have been proven to help people lose significant weight when combined with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

What is the strongest weight loss prescription injection?

Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is currently one of the strongest weight loss prescription injections, with users losing up to 22.5% of their body weight over 72 weeks in clinical trials.

How does the Saxenda pen work?

Saxenda (liraglutide) works by slowing down the emptying of the stomach and increasing feelings of fullness after meals. This helps reduce overall calorie intake. Saxenda also affects brain areas that control hunger, leading to a decreased appetite.

How long does a Saxenda pen last?

A Saxenda pen typically lasts about 6 days when used at the full 3 mg daily dose. The exact duration depends on the prescribed dose and the individual’s treatment plan.

How soon can I see results from using weight loss pens?

Some individuals may start seeing weight loss results within the first few weeks, but significant weight loss typically occurs over several months of consistent use.

Can weight loss pens be used by people with type 2 diabetes?

Yes, some weight loss pens like Ozempic and Wegovy are also used to manage blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes while promoting weight loss.

Are weight loss pens safe for long-term use?

Clinical studies have shown that weight loss pens can be safe for long-term use when used as directed and monitored for side effects.

Can weight loss pens be used alongside other weight loss medications?

It is generally recommended to use weight loss pens as a standalone treatment to avoid potential interactions with other medications.

Can I drink alcohol while using weight loss pens?

While occasional alcohol consumption may be permissible, it is best to limit intake as alcohol can interfere with weight loss efforts and potentially cause adverse effects.

What should I do if I miss a dose of my weight loss pen?

Follow the instructions provided with your medication. For most pens, you can take the missed dose as soon as you remember, but do not double up doses.

Are there any dietary restrictions when using weight loss pens?

There are no specific dietary restrictions, but it is recommended to follow a reduced-calorie, balanced diet to maximize weight loss results.

Can weight loss pens cause low blood sugar?

Weight loss pens, especially those used by individuals with type 2 diabetes, can cause low blood sugar. It is important to monitor blood sugar levels regularly.

Is there an age limit for using weight loss pens?

Weight loss pens are typically approved for use in adults. The safety and effectiveness for children and adolescents have not been established for most of these medications.

Will I gain weight back if I stop using the weight loss pen?

Weight regain can occur if lifestyle changes are not maintained after discontinuing the weight loss pen. Continuing healthy eating and exercise habits is crucial.

Sources

National Institutes of Health. (2017). Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists for obesity and diabetes. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5358074/

Healthline. (2023). People taking Wegovy continue to maintain weight loss 4 years later. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/people-taking-wegovy-continue-to-maintain-weight-loss-4-years-later#Weight-loss-lasted-for-at-least-4-years

Lilly. (2023). Lilly’s tirzepatide delivered up to 22.5% weight loss for adults with obesity or overweight. Retrieved from https://investor.lilly.com/news-releases/news-release-details/lillys-tirzepatide-delivered-225-weight-loss-adults-obesity-or

Ozempic. (2023). What is Ozempic? Retrieved from https://www.ozempic.com/why-ozempic/what-is-ozempic.html