The FDA approved a new prescription weight loss medication known as Wegovy in June 2021. According to Shauna Levy, M.D., the director of Bariatric Surgery at Tulane University School of Medicine in TK, “Wegovy is the most effective medication on the market today for obesity.” Wegovy is another trendy weight loss medication that works similarly to the drug Ozempic. The difference is simply that Wegovy contains a higher dose of the same active component found in Ozempic, which is categorized on the “weight loss” side of a person’s insurance plan. The Wegovy medication has been shown to be effective for individuals looking to lose excess weight, which is now a concern for 70% of adults in the U.S.
What is Wegovy and How Does it Work?
Wegovy is a medication that aids in weight loss, as mentioned earlier, it shares the same functionality as Ozempic, which was initially designed to manage blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Wegovy is the brand name for semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Patients looking to lose weight are prescribed a once-weekly injectable dose of Wegovy, that is titrated up weekly as tolerated by the patient. Once they begin taking Wegovy, they will start at the lowest dose and increase their dosage every four weeks, with the total dose being 2.4 milligrams of semaglutide. However, not all patients require the highest dose of the Wegovy.
Researchers discovered that Wegovy works by imitating a hormone called GLP-1, which is naturally produced in our intestines. This hormone helps to reduce food cravings, lower appetite, lower blood sugar, increase feelings of fullness after eating, and slow down the food emptying process in our stomach. The GLP-1 agonist in Wegovy helps to decrease blood sugar levels by causing the pancreas to release more insulin and the liver to produce less glucose. Additionally, it regulates stomach emptiness and our perception of fullness through the brain, thereby controlling our appetite. The combined effect of these actions leads to weight loss.
Who Should Take Wegovy?
If you struggle with stubborn excess weight and fall into the overweight or obese categories, Wegovy may be a suitable option for you. Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above, while overweight individuals have a BMI of at least 27. If you also have weight-related health conditions like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you may be a good candidate for Wegovy. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that to achieve optimal results with any weight loss medication, you must follow a reduced-calorie diet and increase your physical activity.
On the other hand, if you have a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or a specific endocrine system condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome types 2, Wegovy is not suitable for you. Additionally, if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to semaglutide or other ingredients in Wegovy, it’s not the right choice.
Doctors also prohibit people that are pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon, within a month or two, from taking Wegovy. Studies have not been made clear if Wegovy can pass into breast milk, so you will need to consult your doctor if you would like to take Wegovy while breastfeeding.
Side Effects of Wegovy
Fortunately, the side effects of this medication are temporary and tend to decrease as your dosage is gradually increased. Many of these side effects are related to the digestive system, such as diarrhea, nausea, constipation, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating, and gas. Additionally, fatigue and headaches may occur. Although rare, potential side effects may include an increased heart rate, kidney issues, or pancreatitis. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately and discontinue the medication.
Is Wegovy Expensive?
Wegovy is covered under most insurance plans. Those who are interested in starting their weight loss journey with Wegovy need to call the number on the back of their card to see if Wegovy is covered on their insurance plan. For those that have coverage for Wegovy but it needs a prior authorization, that can be done at NexGen Health and Wellness provided the patient meets the prior authorization criteria requested by the patient’s insurance company. However, if you do not have insurance, it can be costly since it is a weekly prescription medication. Although, many people that have paid out of pocket believe it is money well spent. The weight comes off fast, and you are a healthier version of yourself, looking and feeling your best!