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Treatment Information

Table of contents

Wegovy: A Clinically Proven Weight Loss Injection

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:

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

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.

Improvement over Time:

  • Side effects usually improve as the body becomes accustomed to the medication.
  • Gradually increasing the dose every 4 weeks can help reduce the risk of experiencing these side effects.

Severe Side Effects:

  • If your side effects are severe or do not improve, consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice or call NHS 111.

Complete List of Side Effects:

  • For a comprehensive list of possible side effects, please refer to section 4 of the patient information leaflet.

Wegovy FAQ

Can Wegovy be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

Wegovy should not be used if you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Stop using Wegovy two months before planning to become pregnant.

Can I consume alcohol while using Wegovy?

It is advisable to limit alcohol consumption while using Wegovy for weight loss. Alcoholic beverages can be high in calories and counterproductive to weight loss efforts.

Will Wegovy affect my ability to drive or operate machinery?

Wegovy is not expected to impair your ability to drive or operate machinery. However, if you experience side effects like dizziness or visual disturbances, refrain from engaging in such activities until you feel safe to do so.

Is Wegovy the same as Ozempic?

Wegovy and Ozempic contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide. However, they differ in dosage and pen type.

How long can I use Wegovy?

NICE recommends using Wegovy for a maximum duration of two years.

What should I eat while on Wegovy?

It is recommended to follow a balanced and healthy diet while taking Wegovy. Limit the consumption of foods high in salt, sugar, and fat, and moderate your alcohol intake to reduce overall calorie intake.

How many Wegovy pens are needed to reach the maintenance dose?

To reach the maintenance dose of 2.4mg per week, you will need to use 16 Wegovy pens in a gradually increasing dosage schedule.

Is Wegovy superior to Saxenda?

In a randomized clinical trial, Wegovy demonstrated greater weight loss results compared to Saxenda. However, other factors such as individual tolerance and sensitivity to each medication should be taken into consideration. Sources: Novo Nordisk, 2021. Wegovy Website

Mohamed Imran Lakhi
This content has been checked for quality and accuracy by Mohamed Imran Lakhi Content Administrator

Treatment information

  • Product Name: Wegovy
  • Manufacturer: Novo Nordisk
  • Active Ingredient(s): Semaglutide
  • Administration: Subcutaneous injection
  • Presentation: Injectable solution
  • Available Strength: 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 1.7, 2.0 mg
  • Exemption: Prescription Only
  • Dosage: Once a week
  • Description: Wegovy is a weekly injection that aids weight loss
  • Drug Class: GLP-1 analogue
  • Alcohol Consumption: Avoid or limit alcohol consumption
  • When Pregnant: Do not take Wegovy if you are pregnant
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Click here to view the Wegovy - Patient Information Leaflet
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