What is Wegovy Uses, warnings & interactions
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Wegovy is a medication given to adults along with diet and exercise for chronic weight management. The active ingredient in Wegovy is semaglutide, which is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist.
If your doctor has prescribed Wegovy to you, you may want to know more about what it is and how it works. Here we’ll explain what Wegovy is used for, how it works, its side effects, and more.
- Chronic weight management
What is Wegovy used for?
Wegovy (semaglutide) injection is a prescription drug that is manufactured by Novo Nordisk. There is no generic version of Wegovy available. It is U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved as:
- An adjunct to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management and weight loss in adults over the age of 18. It is indicated in patients with an initial body mass index (BMI) of:
- 30 kg/m^2 or greater (obesity)
- 27 kg/m^2 or greater (overweight) with at least one weight-related comorbid condition (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol)
How does Wegovy work?
Wegovy is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that mimics a hormone that we naturally produce called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake. Wegovy also works in the pancreas to regulate blood sugar.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Wegovy?
- 0.25mg/0.5ml prefilled syringe
- 0.5mg/0.5ml prefilled syringe
- 1mg/0.5ml prefilled syringe
- 1.7mg/0.75ml prefilled syringe
- 2.4mg/0.75ml prefilled syringe
How to take Wegovy
- Read the Instructions for Use, Prescribing Information, and Medication Guide that comes with Wegovy.
- Take Wegovy as prescribed by your healthcare provider. They should instruct you on how to use Wegovy before you use it for the first time.
- Wegovy should be administered once weekly on the same day each week. It can be given at any time of day with or without food. You should rotate your injection site with each injection.
- Inject Wegovy under the skin (subcutaneous) in the stomach, thigh, or upper arm.
- In patients with type 2 diabetes, monitor blood glucose before starting and during treatment.
- Inspect Wegovy visually before each injection. It should be clear, colorless, and contain no particles.
- If you miss one dose of Wegovy and the next scheduled dose is more than 2 days away, take the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is less than 2 days away, do not administer the missed dose. Resume dosing on the regularly scheduled day of the week.
- If more than 2 consecutive doses are missed, resume dosing as scheduled or, start back at the initial dose of 0.25mg and follow the dose escalation schedule.
- Store the Wegovy pen in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) away from light. It can be stored from 46°F to 86°F (8°C to 30°C) in the original carton for up to 28 days if needed. Do not freeze Wegovy.
- If you become pregnant while taking Wegovy, discontinue this medication and contact your healthcare provider. If you are planning on becoming pregnant, you should discontinue treatment at least 2 months before due to its long half-life. It is not known if it passes into your breast milk. Discuss with your healthcare provider if breastfeeding is right for your baby.
- It is not known if Wegovy can be safely taken with other prescription or over-the-counter weight loss medications.
- Personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2
- Known hypersensitivity to Wegovy or any of its inactive ingredients
- Increased risk of thyroid tumors.
- Acute pancreatitis has occurred in clinical trials.
- Hypoglycemia when used along with an insulin secretagogue or insulin. Your dose of insulin secretagogue or insulin may need to be reduced.
- Your renal (kidney) function should be monitored for acute kidney injury when starting or increasing doses of Wegovy.
- Anaphylactic reactions have been reported. Wegovy should be discontinued if a reaction is suspected and promptly seek medical advice.
- Diabetic retinopathy complications in patients with type 2 diabetes.
- Heart rate may be increased.
- Increased risk of suicidal behavior or ideation. You should notify your healthcare provider if you develop worsening depression or suicidal thoughts.
- The risk of hypoglycemia is increased when Wegovy is used along with insulin secretagogues (sulfonylureas) or insulin.
- Wegovy delays gastric emptying so it may have an impact on the absorption of oral medications taken along with it.
Wegovy side effects
The most common side effects of Wegovy in clinical trials compared to placebo include:
- Stomach pain
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in patients with type 2 diabetes
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn)
In rare instances, Wegovy can cause more serious side effects. These can include:
- Increased risk of thyroid cancer
- Acute pancreatitis
- Gallbladder problems including gallstones
- Acute kidney injury
- Allergic reactions
- Diabetic retinopathy complications in patients with Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart rate increase
- Suicidal behavior and ideation
Learn more about Wegovy versus other weight loss drugs, which vary by different factors such as side effects and costs. The following FDA-approved alternatives to Wegovy are available:
Is Wegovy better than Saxenda (liraglutide)?
Both medications are given as injections under the skin for weight loss. Saxenda is injected once daily while Wegovy is only injected once a week. They both cost over $1500 on average without insurance. Wegovy is much more effective when it comes to weight loss. Patients taking Saxenda lost about 5% of their body weight on average while those on Wegovy lost an average of 15% of their body weight.
RELATED: Wegovy vs Saxenda
How much weight can you lose with Wegovy?
Studies show that people who took the maintenance dose of 2.4mg along with diet and exercise lost around 15% more of the starting body weight than those taking a placebo.
How long does Wegovy stay in the system?
With an elimination half-life of about 1 week, Wegovy will remain in your bloodstream for about 5 to 7 weeks after the last dose of 2.4 mg.
How do I store Wegovy?
Store the Wegovy pen in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) away from light. It can be stored from 46°F to 86°F (8°C to 30°C) in the original carton for up to 28 days if needed. Do not freeze Wegovy.
How long does it take for Wegovy to start working?
Wegovy starts working immediately after you inject a dose, but it can take months before you notice weight loss or a decrease in appetite.
Is there a generic for Wegovy?
Currently, there is not a generic for Wegovy available on the market.
The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.