Wegovy®: Uses, Side Effects, and More

  • Wegovy® is a prescription medication that has been approved by the FDA for long-term weight management in combination with exercise and a low-calorie diet. It is a brand-name drug.
  • Wegovy® is a medication that contains the active ingredient semaglutide, which belongs to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists.
  • Wegovy® is a liquid medication that is supplied in a pre-filled, single-dose injection pen for administration.
  • Wegovy® is typically administered once a week via subcutaneous injection. Subcutaneous injections are given just beneath the skin, using a needle and syringe or an injection pen.

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Wegovy® Medication

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Wegovy® is a prescription drug that has been approved by the FDA for long-term weight management when used in combination with exercise and a low-calorie diet. It is specifically used for long-term weight loss in adults who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher (obesity) or a BMI of 27 or higher (overweight) and at least one weight-related health condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. There are limitations to the use of Wegovy®, and more information can be found in the "Wegovy® for weight loss and weight management" section.

Wegovy® contains the active ingredient semaglutide and belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. It is available as a liquid solution inside a single-dose injection pen, which is typically given once a week as a subcutaneous injection. Your doctor or another healthcare professional will teach you how to administer Wegovy® injections at home.
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What does Wegovy® cost with Sunrise?

Our subscription fee is for access to online medical consultations, insurance advocacy, and other plan benefits. If appropriate, a licensed physician will prescribe a prescription treatment as part of your personalized treatment plan. If you have insurance, your co-pay will not be more than $25. Sunrise will give you an itemized receipt for out-of-network reimbursement. The medications prescribed are are HSA and FSA-eligible.

How Sunrise works with Wegovy®

Our board-certified physician will review your information and speak with you to create a customized treatment plan. Based on your medical history, our physician may prescribe medications that specifically address your biological needs while also reducing your out-of-pocket expenses. We commonly prescribe 7 or more FDA-approved weight loss medications, including Wegovy, Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Contrave. You can pick up your medications at a local pharmacy or have them delivered directly to your home.

What is Wegovy's dosage?

Wegovy is usually started at a low dosage, which may be adjusted by your doctor over time to reach the most effective amount for you. It is important to follow your doctor's prescribed dosage and not use any other dosage recommendations as a substitute. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for you based on your individual needs.

Wegovy® is available in the form of a liquid solution inside a single-dose injection pen. The pens are pre-filled and ready to use. Wegovy® is available in the following strengths:

  • 0.25 milligrams per 0.5 milliliters of solution (0.25 mg/0.5 mL)
  • 0.5 mg/0.5 mL
  • 1 mg/0.5 mL
  • 1.7 mg/0.75 mL
  • 2.4 mg/0.75 mL

Each Wegovy® pen is intended for a single dose and should be discarded after use. You will need a new pen for each dose.

The usual starting dose of Wegovy for weight loss is 0.25 mg, which is typically administered once per week for 4 weeks. After this initial period, your doctor may gradually increase your dosage every 4 weeks as follows:

  • 0.5 mg once per week during weeks 5 through 8
  • 1 mg once per week during weeks 9 through 12
  • 1.7 mg once per week during weeks 13 through 16

At week 17 and beyond, the usual maintenance dosage of Wegovy is 2.4 mg once per week. This is the ongoing dosage that you will likely continue long term, as directed by your doctor.

How is Wegovy® taken?

It is important to use Wegovy according to the instructions provided by your doctor. The medication comes in the form of a liquid solution inside a single-dose injection pen, which is typically administered as a subcutaneous injection (under the skin) in the abdomen, upper arm, or thigh. Your doctor or another healthcare professional will teach you how to administer Wegovy injections at home. You can also find detailed instructions on the drug manufacturer's website or by reading the provided instructions.

Wegovy is typically administered once a week on the same day, such as every Monday. You can inject the drug at any time of day. To help ensure that you do not miss a dose, you can use a medication reminder, such as setting an alarm or using a timer, or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

You can use Wegovy® with or without food.

What are Wegovy's side effects?

Wegovy may cause both mild and serious side effects. This list is not exhaustive and does not include all potential side effects. If you have concerns about the side effects of Wegovy, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can provide guidance on how to manage any side effects that may be of concern or bothersome.

Mild Side Effects

Possible mild side effects of Wegovy include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Burping
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue (low energy)
  • Flatulence (gas)
  • Headache
  • Heartburn, indigestion, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Stomach flu

Most of these side effects should resolve within a few days to a couple of weeks. If they persist or become more severe, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects from Wegovy are rare, but they can occur. If you experience serious side effects, you should contact your doctor immediately. If your symptoms are life-threatening or you think you are having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects and their associated symptoms may include:

Diabetic retinopathy (damage to the blood vessels in the eyes, which can occur in people with diabetes). Symptoms may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Seeing eye floaters
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Difficulty seeing colors or distinguishing between colors

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in people with type 2 diabetes. Symptoms may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Hunger
  • Dizziness
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Increased heart rate. Symptoms may include a fluttering, pounding, or racing heart.

Acute (sudden) kidney failure. Symptoms may include:

  • Dark urine
  • Nausea
  • Swelling in the legs or feet
  • Urinating a smaller amount than usual

Suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Symptoms may include:

  • Changes in mood or thoughts
  • New or worsening depression
  • Thoughts of harming oneself
  • Allergic reaction
  • Increased risk of thyroid cancer
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Gallbladder problems, such as gallstones (lumps in the gallbladder)

How does Wegovy® work?

Wegovy is a medication approved for long-term weight loss and weight management in certain adults. It belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. Wegovy works by mimicking the action of GLP-1, a naturally occurring hormone in the body. GLP-1 helps regulate appetite in the brain, and by mimicking GLP-1, Wegovy can reduce appetite and food intake, potentially leading to weight loss.

What should be considered before taking Wegovy®?

Before starting treatment with Wegovy, it is important to inform your healthcare provider about any other medical conditions you may have, including:

  • Previous problems with the pancreas or kidneys
  • A history of diabetic retinopathy and type 2 diabetes
  • A history of depression, suicidal thoughts, or mental health issues
  • Pregnancy or plans to become pregnant (Wegovy may harm an unborn baby and should not be used 2 months before you plan to become pregnant). If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while using Wegovy, there is a pregnancy exposure registry available. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. You can discuss participation in this registry with your healthcare provider, or you may contact Novo Nordisk at 1-800-727-6500.
  • Breastfeeding or plans to breastfeed (It is not known if Wegovy passes into breast milk).

How do I store Wegovy®?

The shelf life of a medication may be affected by various factors, including storage conditions. Wegovy® pens should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) until use. Unopened Wegovy® pens may also be temporarily stored at room temperature (46°F to 86°F, or 8°C to 30°C) for up to 28 days. Wegovy® pens should not be frozen and should be kept in their original packaging to protect them from light.