In this article, we’ll explain more about Wegovy, how it works, the science supporting its efficacy, potential side effects, and who this particular medication is most suitable for.

Wegovy has become the most popular medication globally for weight loss. With proven results of up to a 15% bodyweight loss in clinical trials, demand for this medication has soared. The medication is now more widely available for people living with obesity or excess weight, and some patients with type II diabetes.

This will provide you with sufficient information to make a decision on whether or not Wegovy-supported weight loss may be the right option for you. Of course our team of experts at Thriva are here to support you in answering any further questions.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy is the brand name for semaglutide, which is licensed and approved for managing weight problems and obesity when paired with changes to diet and physical activity. Produced by Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, Wegovy  can be prescribed to patients struggling with excess weight or obesity who meet certain comorbidity factors. It is currently available through the NHS for certain patients meeting specific eligibility criteria, or can be prescribed privately through private healthcare providers and pharmacies. Wegovy is injected once weekly under the skin of the stomach, thigh, or upper arm.

How does Wegovy work for weight loss?

Wegovy is a GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonist, mimicking the actions of a natural gut hormone known as GLP-1 that is produced after eating.  GLP-1 acts on the brain to influence areas that regulate appetite. It also promotes the production of insulin, which helps to bring down blood sugar levels after eating. 

Wegovy also helps to slow down the emptying of your stomach contents, helping you feel fuller for longer.

Semaglutide is also licensed under the brand name Ozempic, which is recommended by NICE and available on the NHS for managing blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.  

Wegovy is not a silver bullet

Here at Thriva we think it's important to know that GLP-1 medication like Wegovy is not a silver bullet. 

Wegovy can be a powerful tool for weight loss. By acting on our brains, GLP-1 agonists combat many of the common difficulties associated with dieting. Users feel fuller faster, and report a reduction in obsessive food thoughts. This helps to lessen the cognitive burden of dieting, so that you can focus on other lifestyle changes.

It's important that you combine the medication with lifestyle change - eating a high quality diet with plenty of protein, and exercising regularly. Strength training is particularly important to ensure you don't lose too much lean muscle mass whilst losing weight.

Thriva's medication-supported weight loss programme can help you to make these changes, and achieve sustainable improvements to your weight and health. 

What are the side effects of Wegovy?

As with all medications, Wegovy comes with potential side effects. The most common side effects people experience when taking Wegovy are gastrointestinal issues. These can include diarrhoea and vomiting. Other side effects include headache, tiredness, dizziness, a runny nose or sore throat.

More serious side effects, which occur in rare cases according to Novo Nordisk, are: pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), gallbladder problems, increased risk of low blood sugar in people with type II diabetes, kidney problems, serious allergic reactions, change in vision in people with type II diabetes, increased heart rate, depression or thoughts of suicide.

Who can use Wegovy?

Wegovy is for those living with obesity, or people who are overweight with specific weight-related problems such as high blood pressure. 

The UK government health department advises that anyone prescribed the medication – whether privately or on the NHS – should also be properly assessed and receive “necessary specialist weight management support.” 

You should not use Wegovy if you:

  • People who are pregnant or within two months of planning to become pregnant. (It is not known if Wegovy can pass into breast milk, so consult your doctor if you are breastfeeding and are considering taking Wegovy).
  • Discover you are allergic to it.
  • Have personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (a type of thyroid cancer).
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumours in your glands).

Also, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • Pancreas problems.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Any severe stomach problems such as problems with digesting food or slowed emptying of your stomach.
  • Diabetic retinopathy (a diabetes complication that affects the eyes).

Comparison of Wegovy with Mounjaro

While Wegovy and Mounjaro are similar medications in the way that they work, they aren’t quite the same.

The active ingredient in Wegovy is semaglutide, whilst it is tirzepatide in Mounjaro.

Mode of action: Wegovy vs. Mounjaro

Both medications belong to the GLP-1 agonist drug class, with each supporting weight loss by reducing appetite. 

GLP-1 is a hormone which reduces hunger and food seeking behaviours by communicating withthe part of the brain which controls appetite.

The main difference is that Wegovy mimics one hormone, while Mounjaro mimics two: GLP-1 and GIP.

Dosage: Wegovy vs Mounjaro 

Both are administered once per week by injection. The commencement dose for Wegovy is suggested at 0.25 mg weekly, whereas for Mounjaro it is advised to start at 2.5 mg per week.

Over time, the dosage of both these medications is progressively increased based on individual response and tolerance.

Efficacy: Wegovy vs Mounjaro

In clinical trials, patients taking Wegovy achieved an average 15% weight loss in 68 weeks. 

In its clinical trials, Mounjaro delivered an average weight reduction of up to 21% in non-diabetic patients over 72 weeks. 

Side effects: Wegovy vs Mounjaro

The manufacturers of Wegovy (Novo Nordisk) and Mounjaro (Eli Lilly) have detailed the most common side effects on their website. Experts believe that the side effects from Mounjaro may be stronger, due to the hormonal action of the medication being more intense. Side effects can vary significantly from person to person. 

Wegovy: Nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, stomach pain, headache, tiredness, upset stomach, dizziness, feeling bloated, belching, gas, stomach flu, heartburn, runny nose or sore throat.

Mounjaro: nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, decreased appetite, constipation, indigestion, and stomach pain.

Summary

The first steps for anyone facing weight-related problems and obesity are making positive lifestyle changes, such as reducing consumption of processed foods and prioritising a healthy, balanced diet. Regular exercise and taking steps to reduce stress should also be a priority.

However, we fully understand that not everyone’s health journey is the same and we all face different challenges in life that can make achieving weight loss goals extremely difficult.

This is where proven weight loss medications, such as Wegovy, can provide a viable solution for those struggling with their weight.

Wegovy is the number one weight loss medication on the market, and its very effective mechanism in suppressing appetite makes it a very useful option for many patients.

In every case, expert support is absolutely essential. Thriva's unique weight loss programme combines this type of GLP-1 medication with expert medical advice and blood testing to track health progress.

RESEARCH LINKS

Accessing Wegovy for weight loss: everything you need to know

https://healthmedia.blog.gov.uk/2023/09/04/accessing-wegovy-for-weight-loss-everything-you-need-to-know/

Comparative Effectiveness of Semaglutide and Tirzepatide for Weight Loss in Adults with Overweight and Obesity in the US: A Real-World Evidence Study

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.11.21.23298775v1

Wegovy: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects And Warnings

https://www.forbes.com/health/weight-loss/wegovy

Wegovy: significant weight loss results

https://www.novomedlink.com/obesity/products/treatments/wegovy/efficacy-safety/clinical-trial-1-results.html