Wegovy side effects and how to avoid them
Wegovy can cause adverse reactions. The more common side effects tend to be nausea and diarrhea to more serious side effects such as a risk of hypoglycemia. Learn more about Wegovy side effects here and how to avoid them.
What is Wegovy?
Wegovy is an FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved prescription drug manufactured by Novo Nordisk, Inc. Wegovy is a higher-dose, 2.4 mg version of the diabetes drug Ozempic (semaglutide).
It is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist indicated in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adult patients with a body mass index (BMI):
- 30 kg/m2 or greater (obesity)
- 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) who also have at least one weight-related medical condition such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol
GLP-1 is a physiological regulator of appetite and caloric intake, by blocking this hormone semaglutide affects appetite leading to lower body weight through decreased calorie intake.
Wegovy should not be used in combination with other semaglutide containing products or any other GLP-1 receptor agonist. The safety and efficacy of use with other products for weight loss have not been established. Also, Wegovy has not been studied in patients with a history of pancreatitis.
Semaglutide causes thyroid C-cell tumors in rodents at clinically relevant levels. It is not known if Wegovy causes thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), in humans as the human relevance of semaglutide-induced rodent thyroid C-cell tumors has not been determined.
Wegovy is not recommended in patients with a personal or family history of MTC or in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2. It is important to know the potential risk of MTC and symptoms of thyroid tumors.
What doses of Wegovy are available?
Wegovy is available in prefilled injection form, in the following doses: 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 1.7 mg, or 2.4 mg.
The semaglutide injection is injected under the skin (subcutaneous) usually once every 7 days. The injection sites are the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. The dose you receive is based on your medical condition and your response to treatment. If you miss your weekly dose of Wegovy and there are less than 3 days until your next dose, do not take the missed dose. The Wegovy injection can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Start at 0.25 mg once weekly for 4 weeks. Increasing the dose 4 weekly until a dose of 2.4 mg is reached. The maintenance dose of Wegovy is 2.4 mg once weekly.
See the full prescribing information for the complete boxed warning. You are recommended to read the medication guide and advised to always speak with your healthcare provider about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.
Wegovy active ingredients
Wegovy contains semaglutide as the active ingredient.
Wegovy common side effects
The most common side effects of Wegovy in clinical trials compared to placebo include:
- Abdominal pain
- Flatulence, gastroenteritis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn)
How to avoid the common side effects of Wegovy
- Eat bland, low-fat foods like crackers, toast, and rice
- Eat foods that contain water, like soups and gelatin
- Avoid lying down after you eat
- Eat slowly
- Go outdoors for fresh air
If after trying these tips, the side effects are still bothersome speak to your healthcare provider for medical advice.
Wegovy serious side effects
In rare instances, Wegovy can cause more serious side effects. These can include:
- Risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in patients with type 2 diabetes, thyroid C-cell tumors/ thyroid cancer
- Acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Acute gallbladder disease
- Acute kidney injury or renal impairment – monitor renal function when initiating or escalating doses if severe adverse gastrointestinal reactions occur
- Allergic reactions
- Diabetic retinopathy complications in patients with Type 2 Diabetes
- Increase in heart rate
- Suicidal thoughts
Your doctor will assess the benefits of using Wegovy against your risk of side effects. Patients are encouraged to report negative side effects or adverse reactions of Wegovy to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
You should always inform your pharmacist or healthcare professional about other medications you take including over-the-counter meds and supplements to prevent any drug interactions. If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding inform your doctor immediately.
A medical professional has reviewed this article.
Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.