Wegovy (semaglutide) is a prescription drug that’s used for weight loss and weight management. Wegovy can cause side effects that range from mild to serious. Examples include headache and abdominal pain.

Specifically, Wegovy is used for weight loss and weight management in:

Wegovy is usually used long term as part of a treatment plan that includes exercise and a balanced diet.

The active ingredient in Wegovy is semaglutide. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) The drug comes as an injection under your skin that you give yourself in your abdomen, thigh, or upper arm.

Keep reading to learn about the common, mild, and serious side effects that Wegovy can cause. For a general overview of the drug, including details about its uses, see this article.

Some people may experience mild to serious side effects during their Wegovy treatment. Others may not have any side effects at all. Examples of Wegovy’s commonly reported side effects include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with Wegovy include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. And some may be easily managed. But if you have symptoms that are ongoing or bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And do not stop using Wegovy unless your doctor recommends it.

Wegovy may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the drug’s prescribing information for details.

Wegovy may cause serious side effects, but these are rare.

Serious side effects that have been reported with this drug include:

If you develop serious side effects while using Wegovy, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

* Wegovy has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
† To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Wegovy, visit MedWatch.

In general, Wegovy’s side effects are expected to be similar in children and adults. In studies, the following side effects were reported in children ages 12 years and older who used Wegovy:

Gallbladder problems were a side effect more commonly seen in children than in adults treated with this drug.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Wegovy’s side effects.

How long does it take for side effects of Wegovy to go away?

It varies. Some people may have side effects from Wegovy, and others may not. Some side effects may clear up in a few weeks or last as long as you use Wegovy. Studies of the drug lasted for 68 weeks (about 1 year and 4 months). But it’s not known exactly when each side effect was experienced.

If you have questions about how long Wegovy side effects may take to go away, talk with your doctor.

Can Wegovy cause long-term side effects?

Yes, it’s possible. Some long-term side effects of Wegovy that may start during treatment include:

Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about possible long-term side effects from using Wegovy.

* Wegovy has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Learn more about some of the side effects Wegovy may cause.

Risk of thyroid cancer

Wegovy has a boxed warning about the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

In studies, Wegovy caused thyroid C-cell tumors in animals. (C-cells are a kind of cell in the thyroid gland.) This side effect depended on Wegovy’s dosage and length of treatment. It’s not known if the same effect would happen in humans.

Because of this potential risk, doctors usually won’t prescribe Wegovy to people at risk for medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). This includes people who:

  • have had MTC in the past
  • have a family member who has had MTC
  • have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2), a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow on endocrine glands

What might help

Tell your doctor right away if you notice the following symptoms while using Wegovy:

Nausea and vomiting

In studies of Wegovy, nausea and vomiting were commonly reported side effects. Symptoms include:

  • lack of appetite
  • sweating
  • abdominal pain
  • retching

What might help

Talk with your doctor about nausea that doesn’t improve or becomes bothersome. You can also try:

  • drinking small sips of ice-cold drinks
  • avoiding greasy, fatty foods
  • eating bland foods, such as crackers, rice, applesauce, or bananas
  • avoiding physical activity after eating

To avoid dehydration from vomiting, drink plenty of water, juices, sports drinks, or broth, and avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea was a commonly reported side effect in Wegovy studies. Symptoms can include:

  • cramping or pain in the abdomen
  • frequent, loose, watery stools
  • dehydration from loss of fluids

What might help

If you have diarrhea that doesn’t go away, talk with your doctor. It’s important to stay hydrated if you have diarrhea. Drink plenty of water, juices, sports drinks, or broth, and avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Constipation

In Wegovy studies, constipation was a commonly reported side effect. Symptoms can include:

  • having less than three bowel movements per week
  • stools that are hard or lumpy
  • straining to have a bowel movement
  • feeling unable to empty your bowels

What might help

To ease constipation, you can try:

  • increasing the amount of water you drink
  • exercising
  • eating more fiber

If you’d like to try an over-the-counter medication for constipation, talk with your doctor or pharmacist first. They’ll ask about other medications you take to make sure there are no drug interactions.

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Wegovy can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Symptoms can be mild to serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest a treatment to manage your symptoms. Examples include:

  • an antihistamine you swallow, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • a product you apply to your skin, such as hydrocortisone cream

If your doctor confirms you’ve had a mild allergic reaction to Wegovy, they’ll decide if you should continue using it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to Wegovy, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Wegovy treatment, consider taking notes on any side effects you’re having. You can then share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful when you first start taking a new drug or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of the drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon you had the side effect after starting that dose
  • what your symptoms were
  • how your symptoms affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help them learn more about how Wegovy affects you. They can then use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Wegovy comes with several warnings.

Boxed warning: Risk of thyroid C-cell tumors

Wegovy has a boxed warning for the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “Side effects explained” section above.

Other warnings

Wegovy may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions. (This is known as a drug-condition interaction.) Other factors may also affect whether this drug is a good treatment option for you. Talk with your doctor about your health history before starting Wegovy. Factors to consider include those described below.

Pancreatitis. Wegovy can cause pancreatitis (swelling and damage to your pancreas). This side effect can occur suddenly and without warning. If you’ve had problems with your pancreas in the past, let your doctor know. They’ll decide if Wegovy is safe for you to take.

Low blood sugar. Wegovy can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If you have diabetes, you may have an increased risk of this side effect. Let your doctor know about any diabetes medications you take. They’ll likely monitor your blood sugar more closely while you’re using Wegovy.

Kidney problems. In rare cases, Wegovy can cause damage to the kidneys, including kidney failure. Your risk may be greater if you have chronic kidney disease. Tell your doctor about any kidney problems you have or have had. They’ll decide if Wegovy is safe for you to use.

Diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetic retinopathy, using Wegovy may make this problem worse. Your doctor may recommend getting your eyes checked more often during your treatment with Wegovy.

Suicidal thoughts or behaviors. In studies of other weight management drugs, suicidal thoughts or behaviors have been reported. If you’ve had suicidal thoughts or behaviors in the past, let your doctor know. They’ll likely recommend a different treatment option for your weight management.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Wegovy or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe it for you. Ask them about other medications that might be better options.

Help is out there

If you or someone you know is in crisis and considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:

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.

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Alcohol and Wegovy

There are no known interactions between Wegovy and alcohol. But drinking alcohol may worsen some of Wegovy’s side effects, such as nausea. Alcohol can also affect your blood sugar. If you have diabetes, Wegovy may worsen your condition.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor if you have questions about consuming it during treatment with Wegovy.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while using Wegovy

Wegovy is not recommended for use during pregnancy. This drug may cause fetal harm. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant or plan to during your Wegovy treatment.

If you do become pregnant while using this medication, you can enroll in the Wegovy pregnancy registry on this website or by calling 877-390-2760. (A pregnancy registry gathers information about how a particular drug may affect pregnancy.)

It’s not known if Wegovy is safe to use while breastfeeding. Talk with your doctor if you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed. They may recommend stopping Wegovy treatment and restarting it after you’ve finished breastfeeding.

Like other drugs, Wegovy may cause side effects. Most of these are mild and may go away over time. But some are serious and require medical attention. If you have any side effects during your treatment with Wegovy, talk with your doctor. Some questions you may wish to ask include:

  • Is my risk of nausea and vomiting higher when I first start treatment with Wegovy?
  • Do I have an increased risk of side effects compared with others?
  • Does my risk of gallbladder problems depend on the dosage I take?

To learn more about Wegovy, see these articles:

To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.

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.

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