Wegovy (Semaglutide)

Weight Loss Injection Treatment

Wegovy is a clinically proven weight loss injection that helps individuals achieve their weight loss goals by helping them to regulate their appetite.
Wegovy (Semaglutide)
Images for illustrative purposes only

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy is an injectable treatment designed to aid with weight loss in overweight and obese adults by helping them to regulate their appetite and reduce cravings.

The treatment begins with a low dose of 0.25mg and it gradually increases over time until the maximum maintenance dose of 2.4mg is reached. The dosage adjustment is based on guidance provided by the prescribing healthcare professional, considering factors such as the patient's response to treatment and the weight loss progress.

How does Wegovy work?

Wegovy works by replicating the action of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is released after eating. The effects of the treatment lead to greater feeling of satiety and a consequent reduction in appetite and caloric intake.

Wegovy is prescribed as part of a comprehensive weight management program to adult patients with a BMI equal to or greater than 30 kg/m2 or for those with associated risk factors (such as heart disease, high blood pressure or heart failure) and a BMI equal to or greater than 27 kg/m2.

How does Wegovy help you lose weight?

Wegovy helps with weight loss by suppressing appetite, thereby assisting with reducing overall food intake and calorie consumption. It is used in combination with a reduced-calorie diet, increased physical activity, and healthy lifestyle choices to support sustained weight loss.

How effective is Wegovy for weight loss?

Clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of Wegovy as an effective weight loss treatment.

In a 68-week medical study involving 1961 adults who had obesity or excess weight along with weight-related medical issues, approximately one in three participants achieved a substantial 20% reduction in weight when Wegovy was used in combination with a reduced-calorie meal plan and increased physical activity.

It is important to note that taking the treatment should be done under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional.

What are the side effects of Wegovy?

As with any medication, individual experiences with side effects may vary, and it is important to discuss potential concerns and side effects with a healthcare provider before starting to take Wegovy.

Common side effects of Wegovy include gastrointestinal discomfort like nausea, constipation, and diarrhoea.

Rarer side effects include pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, kidney problems, and increased heart rate.

Please review the Patient Information Leaflet before starting the treatment.

Is Wegovy safe?

Wegovy has been approved in the UK for the treatment of obesity and it is considered safe for most individuals when prescribed by a GP.

While it has shown effectiveness in promoting weight loss, it is important to consider the potential side effects and individual health factors when assessing its safety.

Key Considerations for taking Wegovy:

  • Not recommended for children or adolescents under 18 years old.
  • Not to be used if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Wegovy, including semaglutide. Consult the Patient Information Leaflet for a comprehensive list of ingredients.
  • Not to be used as a substitute for insulin if you are diabetic.
  • Not suitable for those with a history of pancreatitis.
  • Avoid use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Cease use two months before planning to become pregnant.

As with any medication, the safety of Wegovy should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with careful consideration of the individual's medical history and consultation with a healthcare professional.

Where can I buy Wegovy in the UK?

Wegovy will be available for purchase through pharmacies and online services, but it requires a valid prescription from a qualified healthcare professional.

Can I get Wegovy weight loss treatment on the NHS?

The NHS has approved Wegovy and is planning to make this weight loss treatment available.

When will Wegovy be released in the UK?

As of early 2023, Wegovy is not yet available on the NHS. However, it has been recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for certain adults living with obesity, and it is expected to become available on the NHS soon.

How much does Wegovy cost in the UK?

Wegovy is not currently available for purchase in the UK, the final price of this weight loss treatment is still to be determined.

Is Wegovy the same as Ozempic?

Wegovy and Ozempic contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide. However, they are used for different purposes and have different dosages.

Ozempic is prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes, but has also been prescribed off-label in the UK for weight loss at 1mg dosage per week.

Wegovy, on the other hand, was designed to be prescribed specifically for weight loss and comes in higher doses, up to 2.4mg per week.

Is Wegovy the same as Saxenda?

While both weight loss medications contain the GLP-1 receptor agonist family and both operate in a similar way, they contain different active ingredients and have different administration modes.

Wegovy contains semaglutide, and is administered via a weekly injection.

Saxenda, featuring liraglutide, requires daily injections.

Though both are effective for weight management, Wegovy has shown higher weight loss in clinical trials - 16% of initial body weight compared to Saxenda's 6%.

It is important to note that these medications should be guided by a healthcare professional and taken as a part of a comprehensive weight loss plan that includes diet and exercise.

What are the alternatives to Wegovy in the UK?

Saxenda is the most comparable medication to Wegovy, however, it is administered through a daily weight loss injection.

Another safe and clinically proven weight loss treatment that is available in the UK include Orlistat - a weight loss tablet that reduces the amount of fat your body absorbs from food.

Orlistat can help lose up to 50% more weight than dieting alone when combined with a healthy lower-calorie, reduced-fat diet and exercise.

 Information Leaflet

Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.

Important: We advise you to always read the patient information leaflet inside the medication box, as the generic medication may not always entirely match the patient information leaflet listed. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Written and reviewed by our qualified team

GPhC Number: 2088658

Carolina Goncalves
Authored by: Carolina Goncalves Superintendent
Pharmacist

GPhC Number: 2225869

Rehma Gill
Reviewed by: Rehma Gill Pharmacy
Manager

Find out more about our team of medical content authors and how we ensure the accuracy of our content with our content guidelines.

Content last updated: 03 Jul 2024

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