Obesity is an incredibly prevalent yet damaging chronic condition characterized by excess fat accumulation. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30, while being overweight is defined as a BMI of over 25. Being overweight or obese can lead to a slew of health problems, including diabetes, cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, and more.

Despite the dangers of carrying excess weight, an obesity epidemic exists and is on the rise. In 1995, there were 200 million obese adults globally. In just five years, these numbers escalated to 300 million globally in the year 2000.

Knowing the growing prevalence of obesity and the serious health complications that can arise, it is essential that individuals healthily manage their weight. This can be done through a combination of diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and medication. One such medication that can help with weight includes Farxiga. This article will discuss Farxiga, how it can help with weight, and when one might start seeing results.

What is Farxiga?

Farxiga contains dapagliflozin, a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor. Manufactured by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, the medication was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and heart failure.

What is Farxiga used for?

Farxiga is FDA-approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes to manage blood sugar levels. It can also be used to lower one’s risk of hospitalization due to heart failure in those with concomitant type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular risk factors.

Farxiga is also approved for the treatment of heart failure to lower one’s risk of hospitalization or cardiovascular death in those with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction.

Although these are the indications for which Farxiga is approved for, healthcare providers may prescribe it “off-label” for other uses. For example, providers might prescribe Farxiga for weight loss, which is not an approved indication.

How does Farxiga work?

Farxiga contains dapagliflozin, an SGLT-2 inhibitor. This class of drugs works by stopping your kidneys from reabsorbing sugar. It allows extra sugar to leave through your urine, thus lowering your overall blood sugar levels. This mechanism is why Farxiga works great in diabetes.

Can Farxiga help me lose weight?

As aforementioned, Farxiga is not approved by the FDA for weight loss. However, some healthcare providers may prescribe it for weight loss. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) indicates that Farxiga can cause moderate amounts of weight loss versus other anti-diabetic medications. It can reduce weight more than a drug like metformin, but it does not reduce weight as much as other medications like glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists (e.g., Ozempic).

So how much weight can you expect from a mediation like Farxiga? In clinical trials, SGLT-2 inhibitors demonstrated weight reductions of around four to six pounds. While this can certainly help in your weight loss journey, this weight loss certainly isn’t a lot. It is also important to note that this is an average number, meaning it is possible to lose more or less weight than what is in this range. The amount of someone’s weight loss is dependent on several other factors including diet, exercise, and additional concomitant medication.

How does Farxiga work for weight loss?

SGLT-2 inhibitors work by removing sugar from the blood. In turn, this can lower the amount of fat in your body. Additionally, it may positively alter your metabolism, making the body transform stored fat into energy.

You may be wondering, however, if Farxiga also decreases muscle mass. One study aimed to answer this question, evaluating how SGLT-2 inhibitors affected muscle mass versus muscle fat. Findings indicated that dapagliflozin significantly reduced body weight and total fat mass, however, it did not affect skeletal muscle mass. Thus, you don’t need to worry about losing muscle with Farxiga.

How long does it take for Farxiga to work?

Knowing that Farxiga can help you start to shed the pounds, you may be eager to know exactly how long this process takes. Keep in mind that an individual’s weight loss journey, including how much and how fast they lose weight, will vary from person to person. Weight loss is contingent on external factors outside of just the medication alone.

To give you an idea of how long it could take, let’s review some of the data:

  • A study from 2014 demonstrated that weight loss was significantly greater in dapagliflozin-treated patients versus placebo patients after 102 weeks.
  • A different study from 2014 showed sustained decreases in weight in the dapagliflozin group versus placebo at 48 weeks.
  • In another study, individuals getting add-on dapagliflozin therapy had significantly lower total body weight, waist circumferences, and fat masses at week 24.
  • One observational study collected information on dapagliflozin from the real world. It found that an average weight loss of 2.6 kg occurred within 14 to 90 days of starting dapagliflozin. An average of 4.6 kg of weight loss occurred after 180 days.

Keep in mind that these studies evaluated the efficacy of Farxiga in weight loss at specified time points. Just because weight loss was seen at week 102, for example, does not mean that it took 102 weeks to see this result.

As you can see, weight loss can occur within just a few weeks of starting therapy. However, it may take some time before you see the full effects of the medication and lose the maximum amount of weight possible.

How can I speed up the weight loss process?

There is a lot that goes into how much weight you can lose on dapagliflozin and how fast you lose that weight. In general, every weight loss journey should be supplemented with adequate diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes for maximal results. Let’s review how to do this.

Physical activity

Moving your body is essential to supporting weight loss. For weight loss in general, we want to be burning more calories and ingesting fewer calories, putting us in a caloric deficit. The best way to burn more calories is through exercise.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes weekly of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Aerobic activity can include things like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming. In addition, it is recommended to add moderate to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week. This can be done via resistance or weight training.

For weight loss, you can get even greater benefits by moving more than this. Additional advantages can be seen when getting a minimum of 300 minutes of physical activity in a week.

Diet

There are many fad diets out there causing a lot of confusion and commotion when it comes to weight loss. Yet, the best and most sustainable way to eat and lose weight will involve eating natural, unprocessed, and whole foods.

The Mediterranean-style diet is a great diet that emphasizes the importance of minimally processed foods. It involves lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains and contains moderate amounts of fish, poultry, cheese, and yogurt. It focuses on olive oil as the main cooking fat and limits added sugar and red meats. The Mediterranean diet is associated with lower chances of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and depression.

Another great diet for weight loss is the DASH diet, which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”. It is geared specifically at heart health, helping to support blood pressure and heart failure risk. It aims to lower cholesterol, saturated fats, sugar, and red meat. It incorporates tons of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and calcium through many of the same foods as the Mediterranean diet.

The one thing these two diets have in common is that they are full of natural and unprocessed foods, emphasizing plant-based meals. Following the general strategy of limiting packaged and processed foods and eating more fresh and whole ingredients will lead you to weight loss success.

Lifestyle changes

Though diet and exercise are the mainstays of weight loss, several other factors affect your ability to lose weight. These include:

  • Getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is associated with increased stress levels, which consequently has implications on weight. Adults should aim to get at least seven hours of sleep nightly.
  • Engage in mindful eating. Mindful eating involves not just what you eat but how you eat it. Portion control is important, ensuring that you are not overeating by keeping portion sizes in mind when filling up your plate. Additionally, being present when eating and listening to your hunger cues is essential to avoiding overeating.
  • Cutting back on alcohol. Limiting your alcohol intake is an easy way to cut back on calories.

Conclusion

In summary, although Farxiga is not FDA-approved for weight loss, it certainly can cause modest decreases in weight. These weight changes can be seen within a matter of weeks but could take several months to see the full effects. However, the amount of weight loss and speed at which you lose weight will be dependent on other factors, including your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits.