What Is Wegovy?
Wegovy is an injection used for medical weight loss. It’s the brand name for Compounded Semaglutide and is marketed under other names as a treatment for type 2 diabetes.
Wegovy is generally prescribed for adults struggling with chronic weight loss management. Specifically, it is often prescribed for those who have:
- Obesity – A body mass index or BMI equal to or over 30
- Excessive weight or overweight – A BMI equal to or over 27 and a weight-related health condition
Weight-related health conditions that are considered for a Wegovy prescription include type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension. Doctors may also prescribe the drug to individuals who require additional help with weight management.
However, Wegovy is not a miracle solution for weight loss. It is to be used with regular exercise and a low-calorie diet to ensure the person using it can reach and maintain their desired weight even after a long period.
How Does Wegovy Work?
Wegovy is an injection that works by helping the body regulate appetite. It mimics the activity of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a hormone our body produces naturally in our digestive system, pancreas, and nervous system.
GLP-1 targets areas of our brain that influence both appetite and food intake. The hormone is particularly active after eating. It helps slow down the rate at which the stomach digests. By doing so, people can feel full for a longer time.
This mechanism helps individuals struggling with weight loss feel more satisfied and reduces calories consumed.
How Is Wegovy Used?
Wegovy is available as a single-dose injection pen that is prefilled with the drug. It is administered as a subcutaneous or under-the-skin injection, similar to EpiPens.
The pens come in varying dosages or drug strengths, starting at 0.25 mg per 0.5 mL and going up to 2.4 mg per 0.75 mL. The most common or recommended Wegovy starting dose is 0.25 mg taken once weekly.
Regardless of what starting dosage the doctor prescribes, the dose is increased gradually throughout the treatment schedule up to the maximum strength. Wegovy treatments often last between 16 to 20 weeks.
Is Wegovy a Safe Weight Loss Method?
In general, Wegovy is considered a safe weight loss method and is not a controlled substance. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug injection for chronic weight management among adults in June 2021.
Like other medications and prescription drugs, Wegovy has its fair share of side effects. Patients may encounter several mild side effects, including:
- Bloating or stomach pain
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Fatigue or low energy
Wegovy may also cause serious side effects in some cases, although these happen rarely. Patients are advised to call emergency services or their physician immediately if they experience any of the following:
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood sugar
- Allergic reaction
- Pancreatitis or swelling of the pancreas
- Gallbladder issues, like gallstones or inflammation
Successful Weight Loss with Wegovy
Successful weight loss using Wegovy treatments depends on the person’s original weight, prescribed dosage, overall treatment plan, and commitment to their weight loss journey. There have been cases where taking Wegovy has helped people lose at least 10% to 15% of their body weight.
Make sure to consult your doctor first if you are interested in using Wegovy as a weight loss or weight management solution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How effective is Wegovy for weight loss?
Ans: Patients taking Wegovy in clinical studies lost an average of 35 lbs or 15% of their body weight. After 68 weeks, 83% of people on Wegovy lost 5% or more of their body weight, compared to 31% of people taking a placebo.
Q: Are Wegovy and Ozempic the same?
Ans: Yes, both Wegovy and Ozempic are brand names for the weight loss drug Compounded Semaglutide.
Q: Who qualifies for Wegovy?
Ans: Adults with obesity (BMI of 30 or over) and overweight (BMI of 27 or over) who are experiencing weight-related health issues. The drug is used in combination with a reduced-calorie meal plan and increased physical activity.
Q: Who should not take Wegovy?
Ans: Those who have had or have had a family member experience a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) should not take Wegovy. Additionally, children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid Wegovy. If you are unsure if Wegovy is right for you, please consult a medical professional.
Q: How long can you stay on Wegovy for weight loss?
Ans: Patients can continue to take Wegovy as long as it remains beneficial for weight loss and is not causing intolerable side effects.
Q: Is Wegovy better than Phentermine?
Ans: Phentermine is useful for managing appetite and reducing cravings. However, for those with more serious weight loss issues, Wegovy may be the better option.
Weight loss is not a new problem. It is a constant issue for many individuals. Between the push to maintain a healthier body mass index and the pressure to look a certain way based on beauty standards in our society, losing weight is often at the forefront of people’s minds — especially women’s.
Losing weight has never been an easy task. It becomes an even more significant challenge for people diagnosed with chronic weight conditions or women with children.
Lifestyle interventions, like regular exercise and diet changes, are the keys to successful weight loss. At the same time, they only work up to a certain point. That is why medical weight loss drugs and plans exist to help more people better manage their weight.