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How Does Wegovy (Semaglutide) Work?

Wegovy (semaglutide) is a medication commonly used for the treatment of obesity. It belongs to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. Understanding how Wegovy works involves delving into its metabolic pathways and the role of the GLP-1 receptor in the body.

Metabolism of Wegovy (Semaglutide)

Absorption and Distribution

After subcutaneous injection, semaglutide is slowly absorbed into the bloodstream. Its slow absorption rate allows for a prolonged effect, making it suitable for once-weekly dosing.

Enzymatic Breakdown

Semaglutide is metabolised primarily in the liver. It undergoes enzymatic breakdown into smaller peptides and amino acids, which are then excreted through the kidneys.


The half-life of semaglutide is approximately one week, which is significantly longer than other GLP-1 receptor agonists. This long half-life contributes to its extended duration of action.

Mechanism of Action

Wegovy works by mimicking a hormone in the body that regulates appetite. It binds to receptors in the brain that control hunger, making you feel fuller for longer. This helps to reduce calorie intake and, consequently, aids in weight loss.

The Role of the GLP-1 Receptor

Regulation of Blood Sugar

The GLP-1 receptor plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels. When semaglutide binds to this receptor, it stimulates the pancreas to release insulin in response to elevated blood glucose levels.

Appetite Suppression

Another important function of the GLP-1 receptor is appetite regulation. Activation of this receptor sends signals to the brain, leading to a feeling of fullness and reduced food intake.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Some studies suggest that activation of the GLP-1 receptor may also have cardiovascular benefits, although more research is needed in this area.


Wegovy (semaglutide) is a potent GLP-1 receptor agonist that has shown promise in the treatment of obesity. Its unique metabolic profile and the critical role of the GLP-1 receptor in its mechanism of action make it a valuable addition to existing treatment options. Always consult healthcare professionals for medical advice.

Authored & Reviewed By

Mohamed Imran Lakhi

MPharm - Lead Pharmacist
Imran Lakhi is the superintendent pharmacist and founder at Prescription Doctor. He has been at the core of our team.

Published on: 14/09/2023 Reviewed on: 01/11/2023
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