Wegovy is an injectable treatment designed to assist with weight loss. Manufactured by Novo Nordisk, the same company behind Saxenda and Ozempic, Wegovy is administered once a week using pre-filled injection pens.
Wegovy is approved for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35kg/m² and at least one weight-related condition. In exceptional cases, it may be prescribed to those with a BMI between 30kg/m² and 34.9kg/m².
Obesity affects 1 in 4 adults in England, leading to various health issues such as cardiovascular illness, diabetes, and certain cancers. The National Health Service (NHS) spends a significant amount each year on treating obesity-related conditions.
Availability of Wegovy in the UK
The launch of Wegovy in the UK has been delayed due to supply challenges faced by Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer. However, there are positive indications that Wegovy will be available in the UK market in 2023, pending the resolution of the supply issue. We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates as soon as the medication becomes accessible. Your health and well-being remain our top priority, and we appreciate your patience during this time.
Understanding How Wegovy Works
Wegovy’s active ingredient is semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) analogue. Semaglutide functions by increasing insulin production, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, it slows down stomach emptying, leading to a prolonged feeling of fullness and reduced appetite.
Semaglutide has also shown potential in preventing cardiovascular events in individuals with type-2 diabetes, such as heart disease and stroke.
To achieve optimal results, Wegovy should be used alongside a healthy, low-calorie diet and regular exercise.
Expected Weight Loss and Duration of Treatment
According to NICE, adults using Wegovy typically experience an average weight loss of 12% of their body weight.
The duration for Wegovy to take effect can vary from person to person due to individual differences in response to medication.
How to Administer Wegovy
Wegovy is a self-administered sub-cutaneous injection. Each pen contains a concealed needle that administers the medicine just below the skin.
Each Wegovy pen consists of a single dose of semaglutide and a built-in needle, eliminating the need for additional needle attachments or dosage adjustments. To administer the injection, simply remove the cap and press the pen against your skin.
Once you have used the pen to deliver your weekly dose, dispose of the entire pen. The needle will be automatically covered to prevent accidental pricks.
Before using Wegovy, check the solution inside the pen to ensure it is clear and colorless. A small window on the pen allows for inspection of the solution. If the solution appears cloudy, discolored, or contains particulates, do not use the pen. Safely dispose of it in a sharps bin and use a new pen.
Wegovy can be taken at any time of the day, but it is recommended to take it on the same day each week. It can be administered with or without food.
You have the option to inject Wegovy into your abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. It is important to rotate the injection site each week.
Proper storage of Wegovy is essential. Keep it refrigerated between 2°C and 8°C, ensuring that the pens are not placed in the freezer compartment. Wegovy pens can be stored between 7°C and 30°C for up to 28 days.
It is crucial to store Wegovy pens out of reach of children and pets, and always dispose of used pens in a designated sharps bin. Never dispose of Wegovy pens in regular household waste.
Dosage Schedule and Pen Colors
The Wegovy dose is increased every 4 weeks over a period of 16 weeks. Initially, patients take a 0.25mg once weekly dose for the first 4 weeks. Then, the dose is gradually increased until reaching the maintenance dose of 2.4mg once weekly starting from week 17. This gradual increase is important to minimize the risk of side effects, which are more likely to occur during the dose-escalation phase but tend to improve over time.
Wegovy (semaglutide) should be injected once a week on the same day each week. It can be taken at any time of day, with or without meals. The injection should be administered subcutaneously into the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm.
The dosage schedule for Wegovy is as follows:
- Weeks 1-4: 0.25mg (Green pen)
- Weeks 5-8: 0.5mg (Pink pen)
- Weeks 9-12: 1mg (Brown pen)
- Weeks 13-16: 1.7mg (Blue pen)
- Week 17 onwards: 2.4mg (Black pen)
To reach the maintenance dose, you will need to use a total of 16 Wegovy pens, increasing the dosage with each new pen color. It takes approximately four months to reach the maintenance dose.
Is Wegovy effective for Weight Loss?
Clinical trials have provided strong evidence of the effectiveness of Wegovy in weight management. In a trial lasting 68 weeks, individuals treated with Wegovy experienced a significant reduction in body weight compared to those receiving a placebo. The Wegovy group showed a mean change in body weight of 14.9%, while the placebo group only had a 2.4% change.
Furthermore, the trial results revealed that an impressive 83.5% of Wegovy-treated patients achieved a weight loss of 5% or more of their body weight after 68 weeks. In contrast, only 31.1% of individuals in the placebo group achieved a similar level of weight loss. Another clinical trial also demonstrated a significant reduction in body weight when comparing Wegovy to a placebo.
These remarkable trial outcomes have led the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to recommend Wegovy for weight management in individuals with obesity. The highly positive trial results support the efficacy of Wegovy in helping individuals achieve their weight loss goals.
Missed Doses and Accidental Use
If you forget to take Wegovy and your next dose is due in more than two days, use Wegovy as soon as possible. However, if less than two days remain until your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosage schedule.
Accidentally using two Wegovy pens in one week can lead to severe side effects such as intense nausea, vomiting, and dangerously low blood sugar levels. If this occurs, go to the nearest accident and emergency department immediately, taking the packaging and any remaining medicine with you.
Wegovy Contraindications & Drug Interactions
- Allergy: Do not use Wegovy if you have had an allergic reaction to semaglutide or any of the other ingredients in the injection.
- Digestive System Side Effects: Wegovy can cause digestive system side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea. It is important to stay hydrated to reduce the risk of dehydration, especially for individuals with kidney problems.
- Pancreatitis: Although uncommon, pancreatitis may be experienced as a side effect. If you notice severe stomach pain or other symptoms of pancreatitis, stop using Wegovy and seek medical attention immediately. For more information on pancreatitis symptoms, refer to the NHS website.
- Diabetes: Wegovy should not be used as a substitute for insulin in people with diabetes. It can also increase the risk of low blood sugar levels when taken with other diabetic medicines. Please refer to section 2 of the patient information leaflet for a complete list of warnings.
- Diabetic Retinopathy: This medication is not suitable for individuals experiencing diabetic retinopathy. Consult your doctor before using Wegovy if this applies to you.
Wegovy and Pregnancy
- Pregnancy: Wegovy should not be used during pregnancy as it may harm the fetus. It is advised to stop using Wegovy at least 2 months before planning a pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding: Do not use Wegovy if you are breastfeeding.
Wegovy Side Effects
Common Side Effects of Wegovy:
- Abdominal pain
Frequency of Side Effects:
- Not everyone will experience side effects.
- Most side effects are mild.
- In one clinical trial, only 5.3% of patients discontinued Wegovy due to side effects.
What are the possible side effects of Wegovy®?
Wegovy® may cause serious side effects, including:
- inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis). Stop using Wegovy® and call your healthcare provider right away if you have severe pain in your stomach area (abdomen) that will not go away, with or without vomiting. You may feel the pain from your abdomen to your back
- gallbladder problems. Wegovy® may cause gallbladder problems, including gallstones. Some gallstones may need surgery. Call your healthcare provider if you have symptoms, such as pain in your upper stomach (abdomen), fever, yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), or clay-colored stools
- increased risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in patients with type 2 diabetes, especially those who also take medicines for type 2 diabetes such as sulfonylureas or insulin. This can be both a serious and common side effect. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to recognize and treat low blood sugar and check your blood sugar before you start and while you take Wegovy®. Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar may include dizziness or light-headedness, blurred vision, anxiety, irritability or mood changes, sweating, slurred speech, hunger, confusion or drowsiness, shakiness, weakness, headache, fast heartbeat, or feeling jittery
- kidney problems (kidney failure). In people who have kidney problems, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting may cause a loss of fluids (dehydration), which may cause kidney problems to get worse. It is important for you to drink fluids to help reduce your chance of dehydration
- serious allergic reactions. Stop using Wegovy® and get medical help right away, if you have any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat; problems breathing or swallowing; severe rash or itching; fainting or feeling dizzy; or very rapid heartbeat
- change in vision in people with type 2 diabetes. Tell your healthcare provider if you have changes in vision during treatment with Wegovy®
- increased heart rate. Wegovy® can increase your heart rate while you are at rest. Tell your healthcare provider if you feel your heart racing or pounding in your chest and it lasts for several minutes
- depression or thoughts of suicide. You should pay attention to any mental changes, especially sudden changes in your mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any mental changes that are new, worse, or worry you