As the problem of obesity continues to grow worldwide, novel weight loss solutions are consistently being researched and developed. One such treatment that has been making headlines recently is Wegovy. This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what Wegovy is, how it works, and its potential risks and benefits.
Wegovy (semaglutide) is a prescription medication approved by the FDA and HSA for chronic weight management. It was developed by Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company specializing in diabetes care.
Wegovy is an injectable drug, typically administered once weekly, and is used alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for weight management in adults with obesity or overweight adults with at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.
Wegovy's primary benefit is its potential to cause significant weight loss. Studies have shown that, on average, people who used Wegovy lost 15% to 20% of their body weight over a period of 1.5 years. This is a larger reduction compared to other weight loss medications, making it an attractive option for those struggling with obesity or weight-related health conditions.
In addition to weight loss, Wegovy can help manage or reduce the impact of weight-related comorbidities, such as high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, thereby improving overall health and well-being.
While Wegovy is gaining attention for its efficacy, it is not the only weight loss injection available. Others include Saxenda (liraglutide), another medication from Novo Nordisk, and medications like Ozempic (semaglutide), Trulicity (dulaglutide) and Oral Rybelsus (semaglutide). All these drugs are classified as GLP-1 receptor agonists, similar to Wegovy, but may differ in terms of dosage, frequency, side effects, and overall effectiveness.
Learn more about Saxenda here
Learn more about Ozempic here
Learn more about Oral Rybelsus here
Wegovy (semaglutide) is classified as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. To understand how Wegovy works, it's important to first understand the role of GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) in the body.
GLP-1 is a hormone that is naturally produced in the body, mainly in the intestines, in response to food intake. It plays several roles in metabolism, including stimulating insulin secretion, slowing gastric emptying, inhibiting glucagon secretion, and reducing appetite.
When you eat, the level of glucose in your bloodstream rises. In response, your intestines release GLP-1. This hormone then triggers the pancreas to release insulin, a hormone that helps cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream. At the same time, GLP-1 acts on the brain to produce feelings of fullness and satisfaction, leading to reduced food intake.
However, in people with conditions like obesity or type 2 diabetes, the body's response to GLP-1 can be diminished, leading to inadequate insulin secretion, higher blood glucose levels, and increased appetite and food intake.
Wegovy, as a GLP-1 receptor agonist, is a medication designed to mimic the effects of GLP-1. Essentially, it binds to the same receptors as GLP-1 in the body and activates them. This results in the following effects:
Through these mechanisms, Wegovy helps patients manage their blood glucose levels and reduces their overall calorie intake, assisting in weight loss.
Wegovy (semaglutide) is an injectable medication used for weight management. It is injected subcutaneously, which means the medication is injected into the fatty layer of tissue just beneath the skin.
The injection sites are typically the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm.
Below is a step-by-step overview of the Wegovy injection and treatment process. This treatment plan may vary depending on the patient's specific needs and medical history. Therefore, it is essential to follow your doctor's instructions.
The timing and extent of weight loss results from Wegovy (semaglutide) can vary among individuals, depending on various factors such as the person's starting weight, adherence to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, and overall health.
However, based on clinical trials, some general expectations can be outlined:
It's also important to note that weight loss from Wegovy is typically greater than what can be achieved with lifestyle modifications alone. In the STEP clinical trials, people who took Wegovy and followed a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity lost significantly more weight than those who only made lifestyle changes.
The results from Wegovy go beyond the number on the scale. By aiding weight loss, Wegovy can also help improve various health markers, such as blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, which are often negatively affected by excess weight. This can reduce the risk of weight-related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The duration for which Wegovy (semaglutide) should be taken can vary depending on various factors, including the patient's starting weight, weight loss goals, and response to the medication. There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, and it's a decision that should be made in consultation with your doctor.
In the STEP 4 clinical trial, the benefits of Wegovy continued to be seen for up to 104 weeks (2 years) in patients who remained on the medication.
However, it's important to note that Wegovy is not a cure for obesity, but rather a chronic treatment, much like how high blood pressure or diabetes medications are used. Once a patient stops taking Wegovy, appetite may increase, which could lead to weight regain if not managed appropriately.
Therefore, some patients might need to continue treatment for a longer duration to maintain their weight loss, while others may be able to maintain their weight loss with lifestyle modifications alone after a certain point.
Patients should have follow ups with their doctor to monitor their progress and discuss the best course of action, including when to potentially stop treatment.
As with all medications, Wegovy (semaglutide) comes with the potential for side effects. However, it's important to remember that these side effects are not guaranteed to occur in every individual and can vary in severity. The majority of these side effects are manageable and tend to decrease over time as your body adjusts to the medication.
Here are some potential side effects of Wegovy:
It's also worth noting that Wegovy may cause more severe but less common side effects like pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), gallbladder disease, kidney injury, and increased heart rate. If you notice severe pain in your stomach area, changes in urination, or an unusually fast heartbeat, it's crucial to seek medical attention promptly.
While this may seem daunting, it's essential to remember that these side effects are not common, and your healthcare provider would have considered these potential risks against the benefit you are expected to gain from using the medication.
In fact, in clinical trials, Wegovy has been shown to be well-tolerated by most patients, and the benefits in terms of weight loss and improvement in related health conditions often outweigh the risks.
It's also crucial to keep in mind that regular follow-ups with your doctor will help manage any side effects that do occur and adjust your treatment plan as necessary.
To find a reputable weight loss treatment clinic in Singapore, start with thorough research and reading reviews to gauge patient satisfaction. Ensure the clinic is staffed with qualified professionals and offers a range of treatments, including modern options like Saxenda, Ozempic, and Wegovy. Prioritize clinics that provide comprehensive care, including initial consultations, personalized treatment plans, follow-up support, and transparent cost information. Considering factors like the clinic's location, range of services, and patient testimonials will guide you in making an informed choice for your weight management journey.