How Does Wegovy Help You Lose Weight?

January 9, 2023


In June 2021, the Federal Drug Administration did something it hadn’t in nearly a decade.

It approved the first new medication designed specifically for chronic weight management since Saxenda (liraglutide), a daily injectable, in 2014. The new medication was called Wegovy (semaglutide), and it has since made quite an impact on patients who struggle to lose harmful weight.

Like Saxenda, Wegovy is part of a class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists, a name derived from glucagon-like peptide-1, the hormone that helps to regulate appetite and caloric intake by increasing the feelings of fullness and slowing the emptying of the stomach. Wegovy is also similarly administered under the skin by an injectable pen. But unlike Saxenda, it is required only once a week as opposed to once a day.

The clinical outcomes for Wegovy have been pretty extraordinary. According to a 68-week study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, 50% of people in the treatment group lost at least 15% of their body weight; 86% lost at least 5%.

Does this mean Wegovy is the weight loss magic bullet the world has been waiting for? Don’t get your hopes up for that just yet. 

There are still essential nutritional, behavioral, and lifestyle changes needed with the use of Wegovy or any prescription with weight loss benefits, such as Ozempic, Rybelsus, or Mounjaro. This is especially true for long-term healthy weight maintenance. 

For instance, when taking Wegovy, patients will need to make sure they consume enough high-quality protein to support healthy weight loss. Developing and committing to a regular exercise routine is also critical for successful weight loss maintenance (i.e., the rest of your life!).

Patients using Wegovy also need to be aware of possible side effects. These range from low-risk, manageable side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, headache, fatigue, dizziness, bloating, heartburn, and gas, to more serious conditions like thyroid tumors (including cancer), pancreatitis, gallladder and kidney problems or depression and thoughts of suicide.

It should also be noted that not everyone is eligible to use Wegovy. Adult patients need to have a clinical diagnosis of obesity (BMI 30 or higher) or a BMI of 27 plus additional medical problems associated with weight.

If you think Wegovy might be a valuable addition to your weight loss efforts, you should speak to a medical provider who is knowledgeable not just about how the drug works, but how it can be successfully incorporated into a personalized holistic plan in a safe, effective way. Remember, everyone is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all weight loss solution, especially with a drug like Wegovy. 

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