Wegovy: Cost, Efficacy, Side effects of The New Semaglutide!

Everything You Need to Know About Wegovy

In our world today, obesity is perhaps one of the most notable diseases that require extra care and long-term management. This chronic disease can be linked to many several health complications that tend to lessen life expectancy. Some complications related to obesity include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and certain malignancies. Even the current pandemic situation revealed that obesity is another factor counted in determining the severity of COVID-19. Can Wegovy be new hope? Is Wegovy expensive? What are the side effects of Wegovy? We will touch on all these in this blog post.

To combat the problem, physicians and researchers came up with several ways. Different weight loss programs were introduced along with various kinds of diet and exercise regimens. However, even with the success of these techniques, medical interventions are still necessary to strengthen the effect on obese individuals.

Medications with the potential to help treat obesity are beneficial, especially today, where obesity is rampant and is even considered a significant public health issue. Thankfully, a new weight loss medicine, Wegovy, by the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has been recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What Is Wegovy?

wegovy
Wegovy

Wegovy is the newest weight loss drug that is here to help individuals with obesity. It is being manufactured by Novo Nordisk, one of the most notable Danish pharmaceutical companies. This weight loss drug specifically aims to assist in chronic weight management of adults with obesity or overweight individuals with weight-related comorbidities like hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes. This medication helps hasten the weight loss accompanied by the proper diet and physical activity.

What Is The Active Ingredient?

The active ingredient in Wegovy is semaglutide. This weight-loss medicine is a known GLP-1 agonist, and its mechanism of action centers on mimicking GLP-1, a hormone produced in the body. Approximately, Wegovy has a 94% similarity with GLP-1.

semaglutide
semaglutide

Wegovy acts on several sites in the body, and one of the main targets is the pancreas. Wegovy induces the pancreas to release increased insulin levels to help improve the glucose uptake in the body.

Wegovy also acts on the receptors in the brain, specifically the hypothalamus and brainstem. This action leads to suppression of appetite that will cause you to eat a lesser amount of food than usual. This hormone also acts on the gastrointestinal tract by decreasing acid secretion and slowing food movement during digestion.

The weight loss resulting from the intake of Wegovy is by the mechanism of reducing the hunger felt by the user and increasing the sensation of fullness. Therefore, users tend to eat lesser amounts of foods and reduce their calorie intake. Of course, for this weight loss drug to be effective, the user should also follow proper physical activity and diet.

What Can Wegovy Do in Chronic Weight Management?

After the FDA’s approval of this weight loss drug, the management of obesity has been changed. The use of Wegovy opens up a new avenue for improved techniques and strategies in dealing with obesity and other overweight conditions.

Even though the mechanism of action of Wegovy significantly impacts the weight reduction of the users, dealing with obesity is just like treating any other medical condition. Instead of looking at Wegovy as something that will solely solve the problem, weight management does not happen magically. We must keep in mind that obesity involves other physiologic and metabolic considerations as well.

A single medication cannot combat overweight conditions and obesity. Wegovy is not enough to address this problem. However, when this weight loss medicine is combined with strict discipline, this may be one of the keys to combat obesity. With a thoroughly formulated meal plan and properly planned physical activities, Wegovy can positively impact chronic weight management.

How Much Does Wegovy Cost?

Since Wegovy is one of the newest and sought-after weight loss medicine in the market today, it may be a little pricey, just like other FDA-approved weight-loss drugs. However, our company offers Wegovy for an affordable price of $25 a month.

How Much Weight Loss Will I Get When I Use Wegovy?

Wegovy has proven its potential as a weight-loss medicine among four different clinical trials conducted. Throughout those clinical trials, more than 2,600 participants were administered with Wegovy. On the other hand, approximately 1,500 participants were given placebo drugs. These trials lasted for a total of 68 weeks.

One trial involving adults without diabetes had a weight loss result of an average of 12.4% when compared to the group who were given the placebo drug. The results produced by Wegovy have indeed exceeded the expectations of researchers and scientists. It even surpassed the performance of other medications that were already available in the market.

Despite the positive results Wegovy is giving, one user is different from the other. There are always factors that physicians must consider, and users should not see Wegovy as a magic potion that would slim them immediately. Certain factors such as lifestyle, diet, exercise, metabolism, and other physiologic functions should be considered.

Users must not expect that there will always be a 12.4% weight loss when taking Wegovy. Some patients may lose up to 20% of their body weight while others may lose only 5%. Not all bodies respond to a medication similarly. Remember, what works for you may not necessarily work for me.

Does Insurance Cover Wegovy?

As of July 2021 manufacturer covers the majority of the cost however insurance coverage remains poor. Following the laws mandated, most companies that offer health insurance exclude the expenses for weight loss medications. Until today, major health insurance companies still see treatments for weight loss management as unimportant compared to other conditions. These companies view these weight loss drugs as lifestyle medications, resulting in their reluctance to pay for these treatments.

Since health insurance companies do not consider obesity a real-life threat and disease, most do not cover treatments of this specific condition. Furthermore, one study aimed to examine insurance coverage according to the Medicaid and Affordable Care Act regarding drugs addressing obesity. The study revealed that only seven state Medicaid programs include weight loss drugs. In addition to this, out of 136 plans available, only 11% covers these products.

 

Is Wegovy FDA-Approved?

Wegovy has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during the second quarter of 2021. This weight loss drug is the first medication for weight management that has been approved since 2014. The company that manufactures this weight loss drug has been approved for use among individuals with obesity.

Since this medication is indicated for obese individuals, a particular body mass index (BMI) should be followed. An obese person has a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2. Wegovy may also be given to overweight individuals with weight-related conditions such as hypertension. If a person has a BMI of more than 27 kg/m2 but less than 30 kg/m2 they are under the overweight category.

FDA has approved Wegovy, but it also comes with side effects that may vary from one user to another. Some common side effects of this weight loss medicine include nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal upset, belching, bloating, and flatulence. Some users may also experience other side effects such as diarrhea or constipation, and heartburn.

What is Included in The FDA Label of Wegovy?

The FDA label of Wegovy includes a broad range of information regarding Wegovy.

  • Indications and Usage – Wegovy is used as an adjunct therapy for chronic weight management and proper diet and programmed physical activity in people with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more. It is also indicated for overweight people with a BMI of more than 27 kg/m2 and with a weight-related condition, such as diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia.
  • Limitations of Use – The active ingredient of Wegovy is semaglutide, and this should not be administered with other medications or products that contain semaglutide and other agonists of the GLP-1 receptor. The use of Wegovy in combination with other products or medications such as herbal products and over-the-counter medications has not yet been proven effective and safe. It is best to use Wegovy based on your physician’s advice and avoid self-medicating with other drugs.
  • Important Administration Instructions – Before initiating the treatment using Wegovy, the patients must first be taught the proper administration technique. Before every injection, users must inspect the medication physically. A thorough inspection of the drug before the injection is also included in the instructions and recommended dosage, schedule of dose escalation, and dosage form and strengths.
  • Contraindications – The FDA label of this weight loss medicine included severe hypersensitivity reactions such as angioedema and anaphylaxis towards any product containing semaglutide as a contraindication for Wegovy. Family history or personal history of thyroid malignancies is also included in the contraindications, along with patients diagnosed with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome Type 2.
  • Warnings and precautions – The FDA label of Wegovy also considered the warnings and precautions in taking the weight loss medicine. This includes patients with hypoglycemia and hypersensitivity reactions.
  • Clinical Trials Experience – Aside from the common facts about this weight loss drug, the results of the clinical trials involving Wegovy has also been included.
  • Drug Interactions – The FDA label stated that there might be drug interactions when Wegovy is used with another insulin secretagogue or other oral hypoglycemic medications. Wegovy may also lead to delayed emptying of gastric contents and may affect the absorption of other oral drugs.
  • Use in Specific Groups – The use of Wegovy among special populations such as lactating mothers, pregnant women, pediatric and geriatric age groups, and patients with hepatic and renal impairment were also placed in the FDA label.
  • Overdose – There have been reports of Wegovy overdose when combined with other GLP-1 receptor agonist medications. Side effects that patients may experience include nausea, vomiting, and severe hypoglycemia. Physicians must immediately give appropriate treatment for the symptoms being experienced.
  • Clinical Pharmacology – The FDA label also included thorough details about the mechanism of action of Wegovy, along with its pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.
  • Others – Other information, such as the weight loss medicine’s nonclinical toxicology, is included. Clinical studies, supply, storage and handling, patient counseling information, and a medication guide that contain basic and easy-to-understand information are also included.

 

How Do I Take My Wegovy?

According to the FDA label of Wegovy, this weight loss drug must be administered once every week during the same day. It may be administered at any time of the day with no needed dose adjustments. Users may also take Wegovy with or without meals. This medication is administered using an injection via the subcutaneous route. Sites where you may inject Wegovy include the upper arm, abdomen, or thigh.

If the user misses a dose, and the next scheduled administration of the medication is more than 48 hours away, they may take Wegovy as soon as they remember it. On the other hand, if they miss a dose and the next scheduled dose is less than 48 hours, do not take the missed dose anymore. Continue the dosing on the scheduled day.

If the user misses two straight doses for two weeks, continue the dosing as schedules, or they may consult their physician to start the weight loss medicine following the escalation schedule. This may help lessen the side effects experienced in the gastrointestinal system when Wegovy is reinitiated again.

As per the recommended dosage of Wegovy, it can be initiated with a dosage of 0.25 mg injected via subcutaneous route one every week. Users should follow the dose-escalation schedule to avoid gastrointestinal side effects.

 

Wegovy vs. Other Weight Loss Alternatives

The FDA has also approved several weight-loss medicines that may be used as an alternative to Wegovy. Last 2017, Ozempic, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, was approved for the adjunct management of diabetes. Aside from diabetes, it is also being used as an adjunct for chronic weight management. Just like Wegovy, it is also given once weekly but in a lower dosage.

Saxenda is another weight loss drug that is used for weight management. This particular drug helps users lose an average of 5% of their body weight. As mentioned before, Wegovy helps users lose up to 12% of their average weight.

Rybelsus and ozempic are also semaglutide molecules and cause significant weight loss however, they are designated as weight loss drugs. They primary help control diabetes while also helping with weight loss.

Conclusion

Wegovy is here to change the game and start a new avenue in chronic weight management. With its safety and efficacy, it can indeed be an addition to the strategy to combat the public health issue of obesity.

 

AHMET ERGIN, MD, FACE, CDCES, ECNU
ENDOCRINOLOGIST

2260 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. Ste 212 Unit #7
West Palm Beach, FL
561-462-5053

REFERENCES:

Christou, G. A., Katsiki, N., Blundell, J., Fruhbeck, G., & Kiortsis, D. N. (2019). Semaglutide as a promising antiobesity drug. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 20(6), 805–815. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.12839

 

Scheen A. J. (2019). Le médicament du mois. Le sémaglutide, agoniste des récepteurs du GLP-1 en injection sous-cutanée hebdomadaire (Ozempic®) [Semaglutide, once weekly GLP-1 receptor agonist (Ozempic®)]. Revue medicale de Liege, 74(9), 488–494.

 

Wilding, J., Batterham, R. L., Calanna, S., Davies, M., Van Gaal, L. F., Lingvay, I., McGowan, B. M., Rosenstock, J., Tran, M., Wadden, T. A., Wharton, S., Yokote, K., Zeuthen, N., Kushner, R. F., & STEP 1 Study Group (2021). Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. The New England journal of medicine, 384(11), 989. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2032183

 

 

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