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Wegovy for Weight Loss

written by Skye Kalil Written by Skye Kalil
Skye Kalil

Skye Kalil

Skye likes writing about mental health, nutrition, and wellness. She is passionate about sharing information that will educate, and positively affect people's lives.

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reviewBy Reviewed by: Linda Anegawa MD, FACP
Reviewer

Linda Anegawa MD, FACP

Dr. Anegawa graduated from the Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed residency at Stanford. She has over 20 years of practice experience and specializes in Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine.

August 19, 2021 Read Time - 7 minutes

What Is Wegovy?

Wegovy is a medication for chronic weight management used in conjunction with diet and exercise. It is manufactured by the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. 

Wegovy is an under-the-skin injection, self-administered medication for chronic weight management, used in addition to a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise. It is for patients with either: 

  • A body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater
  • A BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater with at least one weight-related ailment such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, or others.
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Wegovy for Weight Loss

Obesity is a chronic health issue that requires long-term management and is associated with severe health complications, including heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, hormonal concerns for women such as PCOS, arthritis, and certain types of cancer. Losing five to ten percent of body weight can bring impactful health benefits, such as: 

  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease 
  • Improved energy 
  • Improved blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels 

On June 4, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Wegovy for adults who suffer from obesity or overweight.  This is the first drug for chronic weight management that has been approved since 2014. 

How Does Wegovy Help Patients Lose Weight?

Wegovy uses semaglutide, a drug that mimics a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1.) GLP-1 is a naturally occurring hormone, and targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake. It helps induce weight loss by:

  • Reducing hunger 
  • Increasing feeling of fullness

These effects lead to people eating less, and reducing their caloric intake. By lowering appetite, Wegovy causes a reduction in eating, and helps aid weight loss. 


Read More: Nutrition for Weight Management


Is Wegovy for Weight Loss Effective?

Yes, Wegovy is effective for weight loss; people taking it lost an average of 15% of their body weight. 

In clinical studies, there were four separate 68-week trials in clinical studies that were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled. In the trials, over 2,600 patients received Wegovy while 1,500 received a placebo. 

Over the 68 weeks, an average of 15% of body weight was lost, which equates on average to around 34 pounds for these particular study patients. Typically, the weight loss was steady for 16 months before hitting a plateau. Wegovy is highly effective, especially when compared to the placebo group, which on average lost 2.5% of body weight, or about six pounds. 

Wegovy Side Effects

Like all drugs, Wegovy has some side effects. The most common side effects of patients who took Wegovy were: 

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Although Wegovy for weight loss has been proven to be safe, effective, and was approved by the FDA, there are still things that are unknown, such as drug interactions. There have not been clinical trials testing Wegovy in combination with: 

  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-counter drugs
  • Other products intended for weight loss
  • Herbal preparations

Because drug and insulin interactions with Wegovy have not yet been studied, it is vital to talk to your weight loss doctor. You must disclose all other medications you take, along with anything else you take, even daily vitamins or herbal supplements, as they could have an effect on the efficacy or even safety of Wegovy.

Wegovy for Weight Loss Dosage

Wegovy is available in the form of a single-dose, pre-filled pen that you inject into your skin. Once a week, on the same day, you inject yourself with the Wegovy pen. You can do it at any time of day, as long as it is the same day each week. You can inject Wegovy with or without meals. 

Wegovy for weight loss is designed to gradually increase dosage over time to minimize side effects. It is recommended to stay at each Wegovy dose for a minimum of four weeks. Your doctor will walk you through this process, and be there for you each step of the way. It is important to keep in contact with your doctor if you increase your dosage to make sure you have no adverse side effects. 

There are multiple pens that contain different amounts; 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 1.7 mg, or 2.4 mg of semaglutide. The standard dosing schedule is:

  • Month 1: 0.25 mg once a week
  • Month 2: 0.5 mg once a week
  • Month 3: 1 mg once a week
  • Month 4: 1.7 mg once a week
  • Month 5 and beyond: 2.4 mg once a week

After you increase to 2.4 mg, you have completed the escalation process, and will continue to just use the 2.4 mg semaglutide for as long as you take the drug. 

It is also important to know that for some patients, a dose increase may not be necessary as some individuals can have a good weight loss response to even low doses of medication.

Wegovy Cost

Wegovy is quite expensive, ranging in price at different pharmacies from $1300-1500.  Unfortunately, there is no generic lower-cost version.

Wegovy Cost With Insurance

Insurance coverage for Wegovy is variable. Some private insurance plans, as well as some Medicaid programs, cover obesity drugs; however, Medicare does not. Some public insurance providers view weight loss treatments as lifestyle medications, which they are less likely to cover. 

Wegovy vs. Ozempic

The main difference between Wegovy and Ozempic is its intended consumer, and there are slight differences in  dosing. Wegovy was created for and can be used by anyone who is overweight and has health concerns, while Ozempic is FDA-approvedfor people with type 2 diabetes. 

That being said, they have a lot in common, Novo Nordisk manufactures them both, and they have the same active ingredient semaglutide. However, the amount of semaglutide differs between the two, with Wegovy’s final amount of semaglutide being 2.4mg, and Ozempic having four dosing options, 0.25 mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, and 2 mg. 

WegovyOzempic
Intended consumerPeople with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater or BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater with at least one weight-related ailmentPeople with type 2 diabetes 
Average weight loss 15%5-10%
Amount of semaglutide 0.25mg, 0.5 mg,  1.7 mg, or  2.4mg0.25, 0.5, 1mg, or 2 mg 
How to Administer single-dose, pre-filled,  under-the-skin auto-injection pensingle-dose, pre-filled,  under-the-skin injection pen
Prescription medicationYes Yes
Can you get it online with PlushCare (if you qualify)? Yes Yes
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get a Wegovy Prescription Online

To get Wegovy for weight loss online, you need a prescription from a licensed doctor. At PlushCare, you can talk to a board-certified physician who can help you evaluate if Wegovy may be right for you. They will speak with you about your medical and weight history and current medications to determine if Wegovy would be a good fit. It is important to know your height and current weight so that your BMI can be calculated at the time of your visit.

At PlushCare, you can make an appointment to talk to a doctor quickly, often within 15 minutes. You then meet with your doctor virtually, and discuss options. If your doctor determines that Wegovy could be beneficial for you, they can write the prescription and send the medication to your local pharmacy, all virtually. 

Once a prescription is done- it’s important to know that you may not get the medication immediately! Often, your insurance will require a Prior Authorization to be done by your doctor first. 

Wegovy Availability

Due to unprecedented demand and problems with Wegovy’s auto-injector device, pharmacy supplies of Wegovy may be limited in your area in the coming months.  You can read the update from Wegovy’s manufacturer here.

Fortunately, other medications are available that may also be able to help, two of which also contain Wegovy’s ingredient semaglutide (Ozempic and Rybelsus). Although technically FDA-approved for Type 2 diabetes, these drugs can sometimes be prescribed “off label” to treat excess weight, too. There are additional weight loss medications that can be prescribed which are similar to semaglutide, such as liraglutide (branded as Saxenda for weight loss). Our doctors can discuss all these options with you and others which you may qualify for, too.

To make a virtual appointment with an online doctor, click here.


Read More About Wegovy for Weight Loss


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014. Food and Drug Administration. Access June 30, 2021. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-drug-treatment-chronic-weight-management-first-2014 

A New Obesity Drug Could Help Millions Of Americans. Its Future Hinges On Insurance. NPR. Accessed June 30, 2021. https://www.npr.org/2021/06/20/1008482552/a-new-obesity-drug-could-help-millions-of-americans-its-future-hinges-on-insuran

Overweight & Obesity Statistics. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Access June 30, 2021. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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