Wegovy is a prescription injectable medication that is U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for weight management. Novo Nordisk is the manufacturer of Wegovy and the following medications, which all contain semaglutide.
Based on the results of the Semaglutide Treatment Effect in Obese People (STEP) clinical trial, the FDA gave Wegovy its approval. The STEP clinical trials were a series of four 68-week randomized, double-blind clinical trials that enrolled approximately 4,500 people who were overweight or obese. There are currently 236 studies registered on clinicaltrials.gov that mention semaglutide. These trials test semaglutide’s effects on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease at various dosages in populations worldwide and for patients within different age groups.
Participants in the STEP trials lost between 15% and 17% of their body weight. For medications that are approved for weight management, the effectiveness and results threshold for FDA approval is set at 5% weight loss. Wegovy exceeded this threshold. Participants also had several other benefits including better lipid profiles, smaller waist circumferences, better glucose utilization, and better lipid levels.
When researchers surveyed 1,850 adults with obesity from six Western European countries, they found that the majority of adults surveyed were actively trying to lose weight but were unsuccessful.
A third of respondents said they had meaningful weight loss (defined as at least 5% body weight)—another third experienced weight gain of 5% or more. However, only 20% of people had success with calorie-restricted diets or exercise programs, making them the least successful diet-management strategy for weight loss.
Finding an effective weight-loss treatment is essential. Many people have one or more obesity-related conditions. Participants in the survey had the following obesity-related conditions:
Of note, the survey was sponsored by Novo Nordisk.
Clinical trial results and patient reviews provide support that Wegovy works. Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) analogues, like Wegovy, bind to receptors in the brain to decrease hunger and cravings. They also bind to receptors in the stomach to slow stomach emptying and digestion. Slowing stomach emptying makes you feel full longer, but it can cause heartburn, gas, nausea, and constipation in susceptible people. GLP-1 also binds to receptors in the pancreas. This makes the pancreas release insulin, which lowers blood sugar. Natural GLP-1 in the body only lasts for about 90 seconds. Synthetic GLP-1s can last a week, continuing to suppress your appetite.
Gastrointestinal symptoms were the most common side effects.
Other common side effects associated with Wegovy (semaglutide) use (and their percentages in clinical trials) include:
In the STEPS clinical trials, 5.8% of patients taking Wegovy and 11.6% of patients taking a placebo discontinued treatment due to side effects.
More serious side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible include:
Wegovy users suggest the following to decrease gastrointestinal side effects:
Many users say that side effects improved as they continued with Wegovy. However, others said they needed to go back to a lower dose to reduce side effects.
According to drugs.com, Wegovy (semaglutide) reviewers rate their satisfaction with the drug at 7.2 out of 10. Reviewers mention gas, diarrhea, and stomach upset as common side effects. Some say the side effects are manageable if they make changes to their diet. Others find the side effects intolerable, causing them to discontinue the medication.
Nearly all reviewers are happy with the weight loss they have experienced and say that their cravings for unhealthy foods have all but disappeared. Many said they have reduced appetite and no longer think about food all day.
WebMD.com users rate Wegovy a 4 out of 5. Wegovy scores are high on effectiveness and ease of use. Overall satisfaction was rated slightly lower. Common concerns include an inability to access Wegovy, nausea, diarrhea and constipation, and hair loss.
Semaglatide is a GLP-1 analogue that effectively induces weight loss by telling your brain that you are full. Clinical trials demonstrate its effectiveness. Since its effect is dose dependent, Wegovy is at a higher dose than semaglutide medications used to treat type 2 diabetes, which may contribute to its increased side effect frequency.
An escalating dose allows your body time to get used to the medication. The most common side effects are gastrointestinal. Some people have minimal side effects, others have side effects that are managed with changes in diet or lifestyle, and about 5% to 6% of people need to discontinue Wegovy because of the side effects. The side effects occur less frequently than with other weight loss medications.
Wegovy works for most people by reducing appetite and cravings. In clinical trials, participants lost an average of 15% of their body weight, compared with 2.4% weight loss among those receiving placebo.
Wegovy is indicated for use in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of
• 30 kg/m2 or greater (obesity) or
• 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) with at least one weight-related medical condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or abnormal blood lipids.
If you meet these criteria and are interested in trying a prescription medication for weight management, talk to one of the medical professionals at Invigor Medical to find out whether semaglutide can work for you.
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.