Wegovy (semaglutide) is a prescription drug that’s used for weight loss in certain adults and children. Wegovy is only available as a brand-name drug. It doesn’t come in a generic version.
Wegovy comes as a liquid solution inside a single-use injection pen. It’s given as an injection under your skin.
The active ingredient in Wegovy is semaglutide. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Wegovy belongs to a group of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.
To learn more about Wegovy, see this in-depth article.
Using Wegovy for weight loss (its only approved use) may cause side effects in some people. These side effects can be mild or serious.
The lists below include some of the main side effects that have been reported in people using Wegovy. For information about other possible side effects of the drug, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a medication, it tracks and reviews side effects of the drug. If you develop a side effect while taking Wegovy and would like to inform the FDA, visit MedWatch.
What are Wegovy’s mild side effects?
Mild side effects that have been reported with Wegovy include:
- nausea and vomiting
- belly pain
- upset stomach or heartburn
- burping or flatulence (gas)
- stomach flu
- fatigue (low energy)
In many cases, mild side effects from the drug can be temporary. Some side effects may be easy to manage, too. But if side effects last for a longer time, or if they bother you or become severe, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
What are Wegovy’s serious side effects?
Some serious side effects have been reported with Wegovy, but they’re not common. Serious side effects that have been reported include:
- low blood sugar
- fast heart rate
- kidney problems, such as kidney failure
- gallbladder problems, such as gallstones
- pancreatitis (swelling of your pancreas)
- risk of thyroid cancer*
- allergic reaction†
Call your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects while using Wegovy. If the side effects seem life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
* Wegovy has a
† An allergic reaction is possible after using Wegovy. But this side effect wasn’t reported in studies of Wegovy.
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Wegovy.
Is Wegovy the strongest weight loss drug? How does it compare with other drugs used for weight loss?
Saxenda belongs to the same group of drugs as Wegovy: glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. These drugs reduce appetite and make you feel fuller after eating. They’re both given by injection. Saxenda is injected once daily, while Wegovy is injected once weekly.
Qsymia comes as a capsule and Contrave comes as a tablet. Each is swallowed once per day. These drugs work differently than Wegovy and Saxenda. They reduce appetite and food cravings by affecting various message pathways in your brain.
Wegovy isn’t “stronger” than other weight loss drugs, but it may help you lose more weight. Recent guidelines from the American Gastroenterological Association note that for most people, Wegovy will likely be more effective for weight loss than Saxenda, Qsymia, or Contrave.
Wegovy may not be right for everyone. Your doctor can tell you more about how Wegovy compares with other treatment options. And they can help you find the best option for you.
How fast do you lose weight on Wegovy?
Wegovy helps you lose weight gradually over time. You may start losing weight in the first few weeks of treatment. You’ll likely continue to lose weight over the following months.
To learn more about what to expect from your Wegovy treatment, talk with your doctor.
Do I have to take Wegovy long term?
Yes, Wegovy is meant to be taken long term to help manage your weight. You’ll take it as part of a long-term weight management plan, which will also include a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise.
If you have questions about taking Wegovy long term, talk with your doctor.
The price of Wegovy depends on several factors. These can include your treatment plan, your insurance plan, the pharmacy you use, and your location.
Wegovy is a brand-name drug that’s not available as a generic. Brand-name drugs usually cost more than generics.
How to buy Wegovy
If you think Wegovy could be a good weight management option for you, talk with your doctor. They can help determine whether Wegovy might be right for you and provide a prescription.
Another easy way to purchase Wegovy is by using a telemedicine provider such as Calibrate or Ro Body. Through these services, a licensed telehealth professional will give you a health evaluation. If the evaluation shows that Wegovy could be helpful for you, the telehealth professional will provide an electronic prescription. You can then use this prescription to order the medication through the service’s site. After you start taking the medication, the service will provide coaching and other support to help you manage your weight.
If you get a Wegovy prescription through Calibrate or Ro Body, we encourage you to tell your doctor. It’s important that your doctor know about all medications you take.
Wegovy is prescribed for people who want to lose weight and meet certain criteria. Wegovy may be used in:
- adults with a body mass index (BMI)* of 30 or higher (defined as obesity)
- adults with a BMI of 27 or higher (defined as overweight) who also have a health condition related to weight, such as:
- children ages 12 years and older with a BMI in the 95th percentile or higher for their age and sex (defined as obesity).
Wegovy helps with weight loss and long-term weight management. It’s used as part of a long-term weight management plan, which also includes a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise.
If you have questions about whether Wegovy is right for you, talk with your doctor.
Note: It’s not known if it’s safe or effective to use Wegovy with other weight-loss drugs. You should not use it with other medications from the same drug group, such as liraglutide (Saxenda, Victoza) and semaglutide (Ozempic, Rybelsus).
* BMI is a measure of your body size, based on your weight in relation to your height.
Wegovy helps with weight loss and long-term weight management in certain adults and in certain children ages 12 years and older.
Wegovy works by reducing your appetite. It also slows the movement of food from your stomach into your intestine, which makes you feel fuller after eating. These effects help you consume fewer calories. Over time, this can lead to weight loss.
Wegovy works by mimicking the action of a hormone in your body called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This hormone helps regulate your appetite and blood sugar.
Wegovy has been shown to be an effective treatment for weight loss. In studies, most people who used Wegovy lost at least 5 percent of their body weight over 68 weeks. And almost half of the people who used Wegovy lost at least 15 percent of their body weight during that time.
To find out more about how Wegovy performed in these studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.
Wegovy comes as a liquid solution inside a single-use injection pen. You’ll give yourself injections of the drug under your skin.
What is the usual dosage for Wegovy?
The usual Wegovy dosing schedule for adults and for children ages 12 years and older is as follows:
- Weeks 1 to 4: 0.25 milligrams (mg) once per week
- Weeks 5 to 8: 0.5 mg once per week
- Weeks 9 to 12: 1 mg once per week
- Weeks 13 to 16: 1.7 mg once per week
- Weeks 17 and after: 2.4 mg once per week
Wegovy is available in different injection pens that contain each of the dosages listed above.
How do you use Wegovy?
You’ll use the Wegovy injection pen to inject the medication under your skin. You can inject Wegovy in the front of your thigh or in your belly (at least 2 inches away from your belly button). Or a caregiver or family member can give you injections into your upper arm.
Your doctor will show you how to use the Wegovy pen. Instructions are also available on the Wegovy website.
How often should I use Wegovy?
You should inject Wegovy once per week, on the same day each week. You can inject the drug at any time of day.
Before you use Wegovy, there’s some important information to keep in mind. The drug may not be a safe option for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Some of these are mentioned below.
Boxed warning: Risk of thyroid cancer
This drug has a
It’s important to note that animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans. It isn’t known for certain whether Wegovy increases the risk of thyroid cancer in humans.
But because of the possible risk, your doctor will not prescribe Wegovy if you or a family member have had medullary thyroid carcinoma (a kind of thyroid cancer). In addition, your doctor will not prescribe Wegovy if you have a genetic (inherited) condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). This condition could raise your risk of thyroid cancer.
While using Wegovy, talk with your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as a hoarse voice, trouble swallowing or breathing, or a lump in your neck. These could be signs of thyroid cancer. Your doctor will also monitor you for symptoms of thyroid cancer during your treatment.
What other warnings should I know about?
In addition to a boxed warning, Wegovy has other warnings. If any of the following medical conditions or other health factors apply to you, talk with your doctor before using Wegovy.
- if you have type 2 diabetes
- if you’ve had diabetic retinopathy
- if you have kidney problems
- if you’ve ever had pancreatitis
- if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy
- if you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed
- if you’ve had an allergic reaction to Wegovy or any of its ingredients
- if you’ve ever had suicidal thoughts or behaviors
Help is out there
If you or someone you know is in crisis and considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:
- Call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
- Text HOME to the Crisis Textline at 741741.
- Not in the United States? Find a helpline in your country with Befrienders Worldwide.
- Call 911 or your local emergency services number if you feel safe to do so.
If you’re calling on behalf of someone else, stay with them until help arrives. You may remove weapons or substances that can cause harm if you can do so safely.
If you are not in the same household, stay on the phone with them until help arrives.
Talk with your doctor about using Wegovy for weight loss. They can help determine if Wegovy might be a good fit for you.
Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:
- If I have type 2 diabetes, is Wegovy right for me? Or should I use a form of semaglutide (Victoza, Rybelsus) that treats diabetes?
- Can I take Wegovy if my BMI is lower than 27?
- Can Wegovy help if I have binge eating disorder
- Can Wegovy give me an eating disorder?
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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.