There’s been a lot in the media recently about the new weight loss drug, Wegovy…but confusion abounds. So, here are the real answers to the questions that many people are asking.
Wegovy is a new type of weight-loss medication known as GLP-1 agonist. Its medical name is semaglutide. It’s based on a hormone or chemical that occurs naturally in our gut and helps with blood sugar control amongst other things. The GLP-1 agonists were initially used to help treat diabetes but doctors noticed that weight-loss was useful side-effect for many patients and the medication was then adapted to be used for weight loss in its own right.
How much weight can I lose with Wegovy?
Wegovy has been hugely popular in the USA, after clinical trials showed around 15% loss in body weight after a few months. But it’s not a miracle treatment. If you don’t want the weight to go straight back on after the medication is stopped, you need to make healthy tweaks to your eating and lifestyle too.
Is Wegovy the same as Ozempic?
Yes and no. Whilst they are both the medication known as semaglutide, Ozempic is licensed for the treatment of diabetes – using it for weight loss alone is not licensed in the UK. The dosage regime for Ozempic vs Wegovy is different too. But it hasn’t stopped many clinics giving it out, without proper assessment or any thought for the many diabetics who rely on it for treatment and are having trouble accessing it.
How does Wegovy work?
The precise mechanism of action is not completely clear, but it appears to act by reducing appetite and clearly has some effect on stabilising blood sugar too.
How do I take Wegovy?
Wegovy comes in the form of an injection, given by a small pen that provides a carefully measured dose. The injection needle is so tiny you can barely feel it and can be done, yourself, at home after you have been instructed by a healthcare professional on how and where to inject. The injection is performed just once a week and the dose is gradually increased over several weeks.
Does Wegovy have any side-effects?
In some people it can cause nausea which can lead to some people giving up altogether. Abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea can occur too. These side-effects are usually mild and can be reduced by building up the dose slowly to allow the body time to adjust.
Is Wegovy the same as Saxenda?
You may have heard of Saxenda, sometimes dubbed the Skinny Pen. It is also known by the medical name of liraglutide. It’s another type of GLP-1 agonist, similar to Wegovy, but needs a daily injection as it doesn’t last as long in the body. Although it has been in use for a few years now and has led to some impressive weight-loss results, it is likely that most Saxenda users will change to the once-weekly Wegovy.
When will Wegovy be available in the UK?
It was supposed to be launched 18 months ago. But the huge demand in the USA meant inadequate supplies meaning Wegovy may not be available until early summer.
How can I get Wegovy?
By prescription only – after a thorough assessment by a medical expert who should check to ensure that your BMI is sufficient to make Wegovy an appropriate choice for you. Also, he or she should check your medical and family history for any contra-indications to treatment and ensure that you understand the potential risks and benefits. What’s more, the better you understand how Wegovy can help, the greater the chance of long-term success with this exciting new aid to weight loss.
If you would like to discuss your weight loss struggles and whether Wegovy may be of benefit, please click below.