Wegovy: FDA Approved -1 -Shot a Week  for Most Rapid Weight Loss

What is Wegovy and Why is it a Revolutionary Treatment for Obesity–Wegovy vs. Ozempic

Wegovy (semaglutide) weight loss injection is a newly FDA approved and  released (June 2021) medication belonging to the GLP-1 receptor antagonists group of drugs. It obtained FDA approval in June 2021 for the short and long term treatment of obesity.  Surprisingly, its  not a new drug at all, but simply an increased dosage of the diabetic drug Ozempic (chemical name semaglutide,) which has been used successfully for the past several years for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Its origin comes from the observation that  most overweight diabetics treated with Ozempic experience significant weight loss despite the major difficulties diabetics have with obesity.  Ozempic standard dose is a 1 mg injection once a week, while Wegovy dose is 2.0-2.4mg injection once a week. Wegovgy, a higher dose of semaglutide  produces even greater weight loss than Ozempic. Although Ozempic comes in an oral form, much greater weight loss is observed when its administered by injection once a week.

How Much Weight Loss Can You Expect from Wegovy- Ozempic?

Wegovy helps patients lose an average of about 15% of their body weight, almost double the rates produced by other prescription treatments, according to study results. More than a third of overweight patients lost 20% or more of their body weight in a few weeks. In a recent trial, 40% of participants lost 20% or more of their body weight over a year ( an example might be  a 40 lb. weight loss in a 200 lb. individual. That translates to a loss of about 20 to 70 pounds in normal and even diabetic patients who usually have great difficulty losing weigh. Degree of weight loss depends on the initial weight and duration of treatment.  This approaches the weight loss found in costly and bariatric surgery!

Effect of Wegovy on Body Weight

Note in the graph above, after 10 weekly injections,  the average participant who took Wegovy lost 16% of their body weight and those receiving placebo lost only 4% of body weight on the same diet and exercise plan. Note the weight regain after 52 weeks with placebo.

Dr. Oz Interviews Dr. Robert Kushner Discoverer of Ozempic-Wegovy

Who Should Take Wegovy

Wegovy is indicated for adults who are obese (body mass index ≥30) or overweight (body mass index ≥27). It can also be used with a BMI >27 in patients with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. The drug can be used for short term weight management but has been especially designed and tested for long term weight loss and control. This is  in conjunction with a reduced calorie meal plan and increased physical activity. FDA approved Wegovy based on phase 3 data which showed that Wegovy helped 33% of patients lose more than 20% of their body weight over a 68-week clinical trial period. This high-dose version of  Ozempic -semaglutide is a first of its kind obesity medication in that it is dosed on a once-weekly basis by injection.

How Does a Single Wegovy Injection  Produce Weight Loss?
Wegovy similar to its lower dose diabetes drug, Ozempic, acts on the GLP-1 receptors in the brain, stomach, liver, pancreas, muscle and the stomach. The most important effects are found in the brain where Wegovy attaches to GLP-1 receptors to reduce appetite, hunger and cravings especially for sweet and salty pleasure producing foods.  In the stomach it reduces gastric emptying time which produces fullness, thus resulting in reduction of hunger and early satiety. Wegovy effects muscles by increasing sugar uptake and the pancreas by increasing insulin production and reducing glucagon secretion (hormone that causes hunger.)  All of these effects result in less food intake and weight loss.

Here is how Wegovy – Ozempic produces such significant weight loss -note the interaction with many organs in the body, the final result being less food intake:

wegovy new weight loss medication

A recent study from Germany where participants were allowed to eat as much food as they desired found that the placebo participants ate 2676 calories a day while the Wegovy participants ate only 1736 calories, a reduction in energy intake of more than 33%! The major effects in this study were an average of 10% reduction in hunger, 15% increase in satiety and 17%  increase in fullness. Note this finding is important in that there was no planned diet or exercise program. The weight reduction was from a marked decrease in daily food intake of more than 900 calories per day.(Most diet plans strive for a reduction of about 500 calories a day or 1 lb. weight loss.)

Animal studies have shown that Wegovy effects the brain by blocking GLP-1 receptors in the hypothalamus and hindbrain that are involved in appetite regulation, food intake, food preferences, reward and meal termination. This is located in the lateral parabrachial nucleus.

How is Wegovy Taken?
Wegovy is supplied in a single dose pen injector.  It is self administered once a week on the same day of the week subcutaneously to the arm, abdomen or thigh. There are 5 doses ranging from 0.25 mg to 2.4 mg. Dosing starts at the lowest dose of 0.25 which is taken for weekly for 4 weeks. The dose is increased in 4 week intervals until the 2.4 mg dose is reached. This becomes the maintenance dose. It can be taken as long as needed, recent studies have participants taking it for 63 weeks.

Wegovy and Ozempic Have Same Side Effects
The most common side effects reported by more than 5 % of patients include nausea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, dyspepsia and reflux. The side effects are due to the effects of Wegovy on the stomach including delaying gastric emptying for hours. This results in fullness for long periods of time and less hunger.

What are Warnings about Wegovy?
Ozempic and Wegovy are the same drug–just a higher dose.  Like Ozempic, the higher dose Wegovy is contraindicated in patients  with Medullary thyroid cancer or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome. There is increase in thyroid nodules and possible Thyroid C-cell tumors.  Acute pancreatitis has also been reported in this group of medications but is extremely rare.  Wegovy should not be taken with insulin. All of these side effects are extremely rare as evidenced by the widespread use and safety of Ozempic which is the same chemical as Wegovy.

Wegovy is taken as a Single Injection Once a Week:
Four Wegovy pens are supplied.  The first month the once a week injection consists of 0.25 mg. There are 5 boxes for the 5 doses from 0.25 mg a week to the strongest of 2.4 mg a week. Each month the dosage is increased to a maximum of 2.4 mg/week. The is the “maintenance dose.” Wegovy is a prescription drug requiring a personal evaluation by a licensed physician.

Wegovy monthly escalation of doses

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