Everything You Need to Know About Wegovy
By: Jacob Thorold
June 13, 2023
In the battle against obesity, medical advancements provide hope for patients and relief for healthcare systems struggling with obesity-related problems. Recently, the NHS approved Wegovy as a prescription medication in the UK for weight loss treatment, which can help relieve pressure on hospitals.
Wegovy isn’t currently available in the UK, but its approval suggests its future arrival to support weight loss clients and the NHS.
But what is this treatment, and what does it do? When will the UK have access to it?
We break down everything you need to know about Wegovy and how it can help your patients lose weight.
What is Wegovy?
Like Ozempic injections, this treatment contains semaglutide, a prescription medication to help manage weight for adults who are obese. Medical professionals can also prescribe semaglutide to patients who are overweight and have health conditions related to their weight.
Wegovy is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist. It mimics the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in the gut, which reduces the appetite and causes insulin release after eating. This treatment also promotes feelings of fullness by slowing down the time food takes to move through the gut so the client can eat less.
It is manufactured by the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, which also has medications such as Saxenda. Wegovy is an injectable treatment that works best with exercise and a healthy diet.
This weight loss medication should be used and prescribed under the supervision of a medical professional.
How effective is Wegovy?
During a 68-week study, over 5% of body weight was lost by approximately 85% of participants, and 30% of people lost more than 20% of their weight. The study used Wegovy with more exercise and a diet containing fewer calories.
This medication does not replace a balanced diet and lack of exercise. Not combining Wegovy with increased exercise and healthier eating can reduce the treatment’s effectiveness and make it challenging to keep the weight off when a patient stops using it.
How is Wegovy administered?
To take this medication, the client begins with a dose of 0.25mg for four weeks. A medical professional increases the dosage every four weeks until reaching 2.4mg.
For most patients, the dosages are as follows:
- 0.25mg for weeks 1-4
- 0.5mg for weeks 5-8
- 1.0mg for weeks 9-12
- 1.7mg for weeks 13-16
- 2.4mg for week 17 and after
The client should maintain the 2.4mg dosage after this point. This dosage is for patients aged 12 years and older.
If the client cannot have 2.4mg, their medical professional can decrease it to 1.7mg for four weeks. The patient should stop using this treatment if they still cannot tolerate the 2.4mg dose after this adjustment.
Clients should inject Wegovy into the upper arm, thigh or abdomen once a week, on the same day every week. The time of day can change.
They should read the accompanying information leaflet for administration information before use. A medical professional should instruct them on injecting the medication correctly.
If the patient has type 2 diabetes, they need to monitor their blood glucose levels before starting this weight loss treatment and whilst they use it.
Where is Wegovy currently available?
Wegovy weight loss treatments are available in Denmark, Norway and the United States. Other than the UK approving the drug, no other countries have approved its use thus far.
When will Wegovy be available in the UK?
At the time of writing, there isn’t a specific date for when Wegovy injections will be available in the UK. The current thought is it will become accessible later this year, towards the end of 2023, but there is no date confirmation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much will Wegovy cost?
The exact price of Wegovy is currently unavailable as it is not yet available in the UK. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) mentioned that the minimum price would be £73.25 per pack for 0.25mg, 0.5mg and 1.0mg doses.
A pack contains four pens, which is enough medication for approximately one month.
Is Wegovy the same as Ozempic?
Ozempic, like Wegovy, is manufactured by Novo Nordisk. NICE recommended this treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes, but clinical studies reveal how Ozempic offers a way for clients to lose weight.
It contains semaglutide, which, as previously mentioned, promotes feelings of fullness and reduces appetites. Therefore, though Wegovy and Ozempic have different brand names, they use the same drug to help their users.
Unlike Wegovy, Ozempic is available in the UK. We have additional information available about using Ozempic weight loss treatments so you can support your client and ensure they find the right solution for them.
Is Wegovy safe?
Like any medication, Wegovy can cause side effects, which include the following:
- Hypoglycemia if the patient has type 2 diabetes
This is not a comprehensive list of side effects, and the client should read the accompanying information leaflet before using this medication.
Some side effects are more severe than others, so clients should respond accordingly to any side effects they suffer from. Depending on your client’s experiences, they may require immediate medical attention.
There is a risk of thyroid C-cell tumours developing in patients who take this medication, such as medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). This is evident in mice and rats, but it is currently undetermined whether Wegovy causes these tumours in humans.
You must ensure your client knows about these risks before using this medication and that they know the symptoms of thyroid tumours.
Whilst Wegovy will be available within the UK in the future, it is not at the time of writing. If your clients need support losing weight before Wegovy is accessible, look at our other weight loss medications and see how they can help your patients today.
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