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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW WEIGHT LOSS DRUG “WEGOVY”
What is it? Does it work for weight loss?
At Physicians Healthy Weight Center, Jennifer Warren, M.D. and her medical team prescribe safe and effective medications to qualified patients. Here are the facts about this latest medicine, to help you determine if it might be right for you.
Wegovy is the most recent weight loss medication that has been approved by the FDA. The generic name for this medication is semaglutide. The medicine has been approved for diabetes treatment since 2017, is safe and effective, and has recently been approved at a higher dose for a new use - the treatment of obesity.
Wegovy is part of a group of medications called “GLP-1s”. These are hormones which have a beneficial effect on your metabolic health (including beneficial effects on inflammation, blood glucose, and cardiovascular profile) and lower your set point (which is essentially your body’s “thermostat” for weight). Your body will then actively work to lower your weight, instead of fighting to maintain a higher body weight.
Wegovy is administered as a once-a-week injection. The injection is similar to an insulin pen, but is easier to use - the dose is preset, you simply have to press the button. The medication works in several different ways promote weight loss, and works to both decrease appetite and increase metabolism. Research is showing remarkable weight loss - twice the weight loss compared to the earlier weight loss drug called Saxenda.
Wegovy has been proven to safely facilitate significant weight loss when used with guidance from a medical weight loss specialist. The clinical trials show a 15-17% sustained weight loss.
Wegovy has also been shown to reduce the effects of harmful diseases that can result from obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
It is important to note that Wegovy is intended for use alongside guidance from a medical weight loss specialist, including treatment with a therapeutic lifestyle program with targeted nutrition, activity and behavioral strategies and support.
Who can take Wegovy?
If you have a BMI of 30 and above, or a BMI of 27 and above with an additional health risk factor such as high blood pressure, sleep apnea, arthritis, or other medical condition that is affected by weight, Wegovy may be an excellent option for you. We review all of your medical conditions before prescribing any anti-obesity medication (AOM).
Side Effects & Precautions
Gastrointestinal issues are the most common side effects seen in patients taking Wegovy injections, although they usually do not last for long. Gastrointestinal issues include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Other, rarer side effects include depression and pancreas inflammation.
There is a rare thyroid tumour that can result from using Wegovy. Therefore, this medication shouldn’t be used by those with a family history of certain types of thyroid and endocrine tumours.
How much does Wegovy cost?
The out-of-pocket cost for Wegovy is currently very expensive - around $1500. The good news is that Novo Nordisk is offering a limited time program for this new medication, that lowers the cost to $25 per month for the first six months for those who have insurance which offers coverage for branded Anti Obesity Medications. We can help you find out if you qualify. After the six month time period, insurance company PBM’s will have discounted programs arranged with the company.
After six months, we are still able to help you work with your insurance company to provide coverage. PDM‘s, which our pharmacy benefit managers, for different insurance companies have programs and discount cards with the company that can take off a large percentage of your cost. This is a new drug and these programs are new, and can be quite difficult to negotiate, but we can help you with this!
If you’re thinking about Wegovy, or other weight loss medications and wondering what options are right for you, contact Physicians Healthy Weight Center. Jennifer Warren, M.D. and her team of experts will work with you to find the weight loss solution that best suits your individual needs..
Questions or comments? We're more than happy to help!