What is Wegovy?
WEGOVY(Semaglutide) is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist indicated as an adjunct to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adult patients who are obese.
What are the uses of this medicine?
Wegovy is approved for chronic weight management in adult patients(in addition to diet and exercise) with an initial body mass index (BMI) of
- 30 kg/m2 or greater (obesity) or
- 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition (e.g., hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or dyslipidemia).
How does this medicine work?
- Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy, is a human GLP-1 receptor agonist (or GLP-1 analog).
- Wegovy works by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake.
What are the dosage forms and brand names of this medicine?
Injection: pre-filled, single-dose pen that delivers doses of 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 1.7 mg or 2.4 mg
How should this medicine be used?
- Administer WEGOVY once weekly, on the same day each week, at any time of day, with or without meals.
- Inject subcutaneously in the abdomen, thigh or upper arm
- Initiate at 0.25 mg once weekly for 4 weeks. In 4 week intervals, increase the dose until a dose of 2.4 mg is reached.
- The maintenance dose of WEGOVY is 2.4 mg once weekly.
- In patients with type 2 diabetes, monitor blood glucose prior to starting and during WEGOVY treatment.
Is this medicine FDA approved?
Yes, on June 4th, 2021.
Who Should Not Use this medicine ?
- Personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2.
- Known hypersensitivity to semaglutide or any of the excipients in WEGOVY.
- WEGOVY should not be used in combination with other semaglutide-containing products or any other GLP-1 receptor agonist.
- The safety and efficacy of coadministration with other products for weight loss have not been established
- WEGOVY has not been studied in patients with a history of pancreatitis.
What special precautions should I follow?
Thyroid C-cell Tumors: Boxed Warning:
- In rodents, semaglutide causes thyroid C-cell tumors at clinically relevant exposures.
- It is unknown whether 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 contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of MTC or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
- Counsel patients regarding the potential risk of MTC and symptoms of thyroid tumors
Other warnings and precuations:
- Acute pancreatitis: Has occurred in clinical trials. Discontinue promptly if pancreatitis is suspected. Do not restart if pancreatitis is confirmed.
- Acute gallbladder disease: Has occurred in clinical trials. If cholelithiasis is suspected, gallbladder studies and clinical follow-up are indicated.
- Hypoglycemia: Concomitant use with an insulin secretagogue or insulin may increase the risk of hypoglycemia, including severe hypoglycemia. Reducing the dose of insulin secretagogue or insulin may be necessary. Inform all patients of the risk of hypoglycemia and educate them on the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia.
- Acute kidney injury: Has occurred. Monitor renal function when initiating or escalating doses of WEGOVY in patients reporting severe adverse gastrointestinal reactions or in those with renal impairment reporting severe adverse gastrointestinal reactions.
- Hypersensitivity: Anaphylactic reactions and angioedema have been reported postmarketing. Discontinue WEGOVY if suspected and promptly seek medical advice.
- Diabetic retinopathy Complications in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: Has been reported in trials with semaglutide. Patients with a history of diabetic retinopathy should be monitored.
- Heart rate increase: Monitor heart rate at regular intervals.
- Suicidal behavior and Ideation: Monitor for depression or suicidal thoughts. Discontinue WEGOVY if symptoms develop.
Can this medicine be used in children?
It is not studied in children
What side effects can this medication cause?
The most common adverse reactions, reported in greater than or equal to 5% of patients treated with WEGOVY are:
- abdominal pain
- abdominal distension
- hypoglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes
- gastroenteritis, and
- gastroesophageal reflux disease.
What drug interactions can this medicine cause?
- WEGOVY delays gastric emptying.
- May impact absorption of concomitantly administered oral medications.
- Use with caution.
What to do in case of emergency/overdose?
- Overdoses have been reported with other GLP-1 receptor agonists.
- Effects have included severe nausea, severe vomiting, and severe hypoglycemia.
- In the event of overdose, appropriate supportive treatment should be initiated according to the patient’s clinical signs and symptoms.
- A prolonged period of observation and treatment for these symptoms may be necessary, taking into account the long half-life of WEGOVY of approximately 1 week.
Can this medicine be used in pregnancy?
- It may cause fetal harm.
- When pregnancy is recognized, discontinue WEGOVY
What are the active and inactive ingredients in this medicine?
Who manufactures and distributes this medicine?
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
- Store the WEGOVY single-dose pen in the refrigerator from 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F).
- If needed, prior to cap removal, the pen can be kept from 8°C to 30°C (46°F to 86°F) up to 28 days.
- Do not freeze.
- Protect WEGOVY from light.
- WEGOVY must be kept in the original carton until time of administration.
- Discard the WEGOVY pen after use.
- Get savings cards for Wegovy (for providers - If you are a provider looking for a savings card on Wegovy, all you have to do is click on the link and select a box that says the patient has commercial insurance, then you can click on get savings card, when you can print or email a savings card.
- Register and save on wegovy (for patients once they have a savings card)
- Novo Medlink is a website by the manufacturer to get additional information by medical professionals.
Frequently asked questions
- Does Wegovy burn fat? Wegovy (semaglutide) is a medication that helps with weight loss by reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness. It works by mimicking the activity of a naturally occurring hormone in the body called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). While it doesn't directly "burn" fat, it can lead to weight loss, which may include loss of body fat.
- Can Wegovy make you tired? Fatigue is a known side effect of Wegovy, which may occur in some individuals who take the medication. It is important to discuss any side effects you experience with your healthcare provider, who can help determine if the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks.
- Who should not take Wegovy? Wegovy is not recommended for people with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). It is also not recommended for people with a history of severe gastrointestinal disease, such as gastroparesis or inflammatory bowel disease. People who are allergic to semaglutide or any of the ingredients in Wegovy should not take this medication.
- How long can you take Wegovy? Wegovy is typically used as a long-term treatment for weight management. The duration of treatment may vary depending on individual needs and goals. It is important to discuss with your healthcare provider about how long you should take Wegovy and any potential risks or benefits associated with continued use.
- Can you drink wine on Wegovy? While there are no specific interactions between alcohol and Wegovy, it is generally recommended to limit alcohol consumption when trying to lose weight. Alcohol contains empty calories and can hinder weight loss efforts. It is important to discuss alcohol use with your healthcare provider, who can provide individualized recommendations based on your health status and goals.
- How does Wegovy make you feel? Wegovy may cause some side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. However, it may also lead to feelings of fullness and increased energy levels due to weight loss.
- Are Wegovy and Ozempic the same? Wegovy (semaglutide) and Ozempic (also semaglutide) are both medications that work by mimicking the activity of GLP-1 in the body, but they are approved for different uses. Wegovy is approved for long-term weight management, while Ozempic is approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
- Do you keep Wegovy in the fridge? Wegovy should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) until the expiration date on the label. Once the medication is opened, it can be stored at room temperature (up to 86°F or 30°C) for up to 56 days.
- What happens when you stop Wegovy? When Wegovy is stopped, appetite may increase and weight loss may plateau or reverse. It is important to work with your healthcare provider to develop a plan for gradually stopping Wegovy, as sudden discontinuation may lead to rebound weight gain.
- What time of day should I take Wegovy? Wegovy is typically injected once a week at any time of day, with or without food. It is important to follow the dosing instructions provided by your healthcare provider.
- Do you gain weight back after Ozempic? Ozempic is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, and weight loss is a potential side effect of the medication. However, weight regain may occur after discontinuing the medication or if blood sugar levels are not well-controlled.
- What time of day should I take Wegovy? Wegovy should be injected once a week at any time of the day, with or without food. It is important to take it on the same day and time every week to maintain consistency and achieve the best results.
- Do you gain weight back after Ozempic? If an individual stops taking Ozempic or any other weight loss medication, it is possible to regain weight if they return to their previous eating habits and lifestyle. However, maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise routine can help prevent weight gain.
- Does it matter where you inject Wegovy? Wegovy can be injected in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. The injection site should be rotated each week to reduce the risk of skin reactions or changes at the injection site.
- How quickly do you lose weight on Wegovy? Clinical trials have shown that individuals taking Wegovy can lose an average of 15% of their body weight within the first year of treatment. However, weight loss can vary from person to person, and it may take several weeks to see significant results.
- Can Wegovy be stored at room temperature? Wegovy should be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature between 2-8°C (36-46°F). However, it can be kept at room temperature (up to 30°C or 86°F) for a maximum of 4 weeks. After 4 weeks, it should be discarded and a new pen should be used.
- Can you take Wegovy and metformin together? Wegovy can be taken with metformin, a medication commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before combining medications to ensure they are safe and effective together.
- How much weight can you lose in a week on Wegovy? The amount of weight loss on Wegovy can vary from person to person and depends on several factors, such as diet, exercise, and overall health. In clinical trials, individuals taking Wegovy lost an average of 2-3 pounds per week.
- What is the difference between Wegovy and Saxenda? Wegovy and Saxenda are both medications used to treat obesity and promote weight loss. However, they contain different active ingredients and have different dosing regimens. Wegovy contains tirzepatide and is taken once a week, while Saxenda contains liraglutide and is taken once a day.
Frequently asked questions
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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD