Wegovy: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Warnings - Drugs.com (2024)

Pronunciation: wee-GOH'-vee
Generic name: semaglutide
Dosage form: pen injection, for subcutaneous use (0.25 mg pen, 0.5 mg pen, 1 mg pen, 1.7 mg, pen, 2.4 mg).
Drug class: Incretin Mimetics (GLP-1 Agonists)

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Apr 17, 2024.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy injection is used for weight loss and to lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death in specific people. Wegovy works by regulating appetite and reducing calorie intake, leading to weight loss, helping with weight management and lowering the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular death. Wegovy is a prescription medicine given as an injection once-a-week given under the skin.

Wegovy (semaglutide)belongs to the class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. GLP-1 receptor agonists are a manufactured version of GLP-1, a naturally occurring hormone in the body that acts in several areas in the brain to regulate food intake. When Wegovy is administered, it activates the GLP-1 receptors in the brain. This lowers appetite, reducing the calories consumed and leading to weight loss.

This medicine should be used together with a decreased-calorie meal plan and increased physical activity to help weight management.

Wegovy contains semaglutide, which is the same active ingredient in Ozempic and Rybelsus, therefore these products should not be used together. Ozempic (subcutaneous weekly injection) and Rybelsus (once-a-day tablet) are used to lower blood sugar levels for type two diabetic patients. Ozempic is also used to lower the risk of major cardiovascular events for some type 2 diabetic patients.

What is Wegovy used for?

Wegovy weight loss

Wegovy is an anti-obesity medicine that is FDA-approved to be used by people 12 years and older for chronic weight management when used together with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Wegovy is approved to be used for adults who are obese (BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater) or overweight (BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater) and have medical problems (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol) due to your weight.

Wegovy can be used by pediatric patients (12 years and older) who are obese (initial BMI 95th percentile or greater for age and sex).

Wegovy for heart health and stroke reduction

Wegovy is FDA-approved (March 8, 2024) to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death in adults who are obese or overweight and have cardiovascular disease. Wegovy should be used in addition to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Related/similar drugs

Ozempic, Mounjaro, Jardiance, simvastatin, semaglutide, Trulicity, phentermine

What is the cost of Wegovy?

The cost of prescription drugs varies depending on your insurance plan and which pharmacy you use. Refer to our Wegovy price guide page for more information about the cost.

You may also be eligible for a Wegovy savings card, Wegovy coupon, or Wegovy copay card. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you qualify.

Wegovy side effects

Common Wegovy side effects may include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, upset stomach, heartburn, burping, gas, bloating, stomach flu symptoms, headache, dizziness, tiredness, runny nose or sore throat, and low blood sugar (in people with type 2 diabetes).

Serious Wegovy side effects

Allergic reaction - get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, itching, dizziness, fast heartbeats, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

You should call your doctor at once if you have symptoms of other serious Wegovy side effects, including:

  • vision changes;
  • unusual mood changes, thoughts about hurting yourself;
  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • signs of a thyroid tumor - swelling or a lump in your neck, trouble swallowing, a hoarse voice, feeling short of breath;
  • symptoms of pancreatitis - severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea with or without vomiting, fast heart rate;
  • gallbladder problems - upper stomach pain, fever, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • low blood sugar - headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, confusion, irritability, dizziness, fast heart rate, or feeling jittery;
  • kidney problems - swelling, urinating less, feeling tired or short of breath; or
  • stomach flu symptoms - stomach cramps, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea (may be watery or bloody).

This is not a complete list of side effects from Wegovy, and others adverse effects may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Wegovy side effects (more detail)

Warnings

Call your doctor at once if you have signs of a thyroid tumor, such as swelling or a lump in your neck, trouble swallowing, a hoarse voice, or shortness of breath. In studies with rodents, Wegovy and medicines that work like Wegovy caused thyroid tumors, including thyroid cancer. It is not known if this medicine will cause thyroid tumors or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in people.

You should not use this medicine if you have tumors in your glands called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2) or a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC).

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to it or if you have:

  • multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumors in your glands);
  • a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (a type of thyroid cancer); or diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • a stomach or intestinal disorder;
  • pancreatitis;
  • kidney disease;
  • eye problems caused by diabetes (diabetic retinopathy);
  • have or have had depression or suicidal thoughts, or other mental health issues.

In animal studies, semaglutide caused thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer. It is not known whether these effects would occur in people. Ask your doctor about your risk.

Pregnancy

You should stop using this medicine at least two months before you plan to get pregnant. This medicine may harm your baby. Ask your doctor for a safer medicine to use during this time. Controlling diabetes is very important during pregnancy, as is gaining the right amount of weight. Even if you are overweight, losing weight during pregnancy could harm the unborn baby.

There is a pregnancy exposure registry for women who use Wegovy during pregnancy. The reason for this registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Talk to your doctor about how you can take part in this registry, or you may contact Novo Nordisk at 1-800-727-6500.

Breastfeeding

Tell your healthcare professional if you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed. It is unknown if this medicine passes into your breast milk. You should talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby while using this medicine.

Wegovy pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (more detail)

How should I use Wegovy?

Read the Instructions for Use that is with your prescription and use this medicine exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to. Your healthcare provider should train you on how to use this medicine before you start using it.

  • Wegovy is injected under the skin (subcutaneously) of your stomach (abdomen), thigh, or upper arm, using a pen device. You should not inject this medicine into a muscle (intramuscularly) or vein (intravenously).
  • This medicine should be used one time each week, on the same day each week, at any time of the day.
  • You can take Wegovy with or without food.
  • Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Call your pharmacist if the medicine looks cloudy, has changed colors, or has particles in it.
  • If you choose a different weekly injection day, start your new schedule after at least two days have passed since the last injection you gave.
  • Rotate your injection site with each injection. You may inject in the same body area each week, but it is important to use a different spot each time. Do not inject into an area where the skin is tender, bruised, red, or hard. Avoid injecting into areas with scars or stretch marks.
  • The Wegovy pen is for one-time use only, and the dose is already set on your pen.
  • The needle is covered by the needle cover, and the needle will not be seen.
  • Remove the pen cap when you are ready to inject.
  • You should not touch or push on the needle cover as you could get a needle stick injury.
  • To inject, push the pen firmly against the skin and hold until the yellow bar has stopped moving.
  • If the yellow bar does not start moving, you should press the pen more firmly against your skin.
  • You will hear two clicks during the injection. Click 1 is when the injection has started, and click 2 when the injection is still ongoing.
  • Do not remove the pen from your skin before the yellow bar in the pen window has stopped moving. If you remove the needle earlier, you may not get your full dose.
  • If the yellow bar does not start moving or stops during the injection, contact your healthcare provider or Novo Nordisk at Wegovy.com or call Novo Nordisk Inc. at 1-833-934-6891.
  • The needle cover will lock when the pen is removed from your skin. You cannot stop the injection and restart it later.
  • Put the used Wegovy pen in an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container right away after use. Do not throw away (dispose of) the pen in your household trash.
  • People who are blind or have vision problems should not use the Wegovy pen without help from a person trained to use the pen.

For complete instructions with diagrams on how to use Wegovy, click on this link: Instructions for Wegovy Use

General information

  • Do not use different brands of semaglutide at the same time.
  • Blood sugar can be affected by stress, illness, surgery, exercise, alcohol use, or skipping meals.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can make you feel very hungry, dizzy, irritable, or shaky. To quickly treat hypoglycemia, eat or drink hard candy, crackers, raisins, fruit juice, or non-diet soda. Your doctor may prescribe glucagon injections in case of severe hypoglycemia.
  • Tell your doctor if you have frequent symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), such as increased thirst or urination. Ask your doctor before changing your dose or medication schedule.
  • Your treatment may also include diet, exercise, weight control, medical tests, and special medical care.
  • You may get dehydrated during prolonged illness. Call your doctor if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea or if you eat or drink less than usual.

Wegovy Dosing Information

The dose starts low and escalates to minimize gastrointestinal side effects.

Initial Wegovy Dose Escalation Schedule for patients aged 12 years and older:

  • Weeks 1 through 4 (month one): 0.25 mg subcutaneously once a week
  • Weeks 5 through 8 (month two): 0.5 mg subcutaneously once a week
  • Weeks 9 through 12 (month three): 1 mg subcutaneously once a week
  • Weeks 13 through 16 (month four): 1.7 mg subcutaneously once a week

Maintenance Wegovy Dose:

  • Week 17 and onward: 2.4 mg subcutaneously once a week. See additional notes below about maintenance dosing.

Maintenance Dosage Adult Patients. The maintenance dosage is 2.4 mg injected subcutaneously once weekly. If the patient does not tolerate the maintenance 2.4 mg once-weekly dosage, then the dosage can be temporarily decreased to 1.7 mg once a week, for a maximum of 4 weeks. After four weeks, the dose should be increased to the maintenance 2.4 mg once-weekly dosage. Discontinue this medicine if the patient cannot tolerate the 2.4 mg dosage.

Pediatric Patients Aged 12 Years and Older. The recommended maintenance dosage of Wegovy is 2.4 mg injected subcutaneously once weekly. If the patient does not tolerate the maintenance 2.4 mg once-weekly dosage, the maintenance dosage may be reduced to 1.7 mg once weekly. Discontinue this medicine if the patient cannot tolerate the 1.7 mg dose.

Detailed Wegovy dosage information

What happens if I miss a dose?

  • Use the medicine as soon as possible and then return to your regular schedule. But If your next dose is due in less than two days (48 hours), skip the missed dose and return to your regular schedule.
  • Call your doctor if you miss more than two doses in a row of Wegovy. You may need to restart the medicine at a lower dose to avoid stomach problems.
  • Do not use two doses of semaglutide at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

  • Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Overdose may cause severe nausea, vomiting, or low blood sugar.

What strengths is Wegovy available in ?

Wegovy is available as Wegovy 0.25 mg pen, Wegovy 0.5 mg pen, Wegovy 1 mg pen, Wegovy 1.7 mg pen and Wegovy 2.4 mg pen.

What should I avoid while using Wegovy?

Never share an injection pen, even if you changed the needle. Sharing this device can pass infection or disease from person to person.

What other drugs will affect Wegovy?

Wegovy can slow your digestion, and it may take longer for your body to absorb any medicines you take by mouth.

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially insulin or other diabetes medicines, such as dulaglutide, exenatide, liraglutide, Byetta, Trulicity, Victoza, and others.

Other drugs may affect Wegovy, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use.

Wegovy drug interactions (more detail)

Storage

Wegovy single-dose pen:

  • Wegovy should be stored in refrigerator from 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F).
  • If needed (prior to cap removal), the pen can be kept from 8°C to 30°C (46°F to 86°F) for up to 28 days.
  • Do not freeze.
  • Protect Wegovy from light, and it must be kept in the original carton until time of administration. Discard the Wegovy pen after use.

What are the ingredients in Wegovy?

Active Ingredient: semaglutide

Inactive Ingredients: disodium phosphate dihydrate, sodium chloride, and water for injection

Manufacturer

Wegovy is Manufactured by: Novo Nordisk A/S. Novo Allé. DK-2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark.

Instructions for Use

Before you use your Wegovy pen for the first time, talk to your healthcare provider or your caregiver about how to prepare and inject Wegovy correctly.

Important information
Read the Instructions for Use before you start using Wegovy. This information does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or treatment.

  • Your Wegovy pen is for one-time use only. The Wegovy pen is for subcutaneous (under the skin) use only.
  • The dose of Wegovy is already set on your pen.
  • The needle is covered by the needle cover and the needle will not be seen.
  • Do not remove the pen cap until you are ready to inject.
  • Do not touch or push on the needle cover. You could get a needle stick injury.
  • Your injection will begin when the needle cover is pressed against your skin.
  • Do not remove the pen from your skin before the yellow bar in the pen window has stopped moving. If the needle is removed earlier, you may not get your full dose.
  • If the yellow bar does not start moving or stops during the injection, contact your healthcare provider or Novo Nordisk at startWegovy.com or call Novo Nordisk Inc. at 1-833-934-6891.
  • The needle cover will lock when the pen is removed from your skin. You cannot stop the injection and restart it later.
  • People who are blind or have vision problems should not use the Wegovy pen without help from a person trained to use the pen.

How to use your Wegovy pen
Do not use your pen without receiving training from your healthcare provider. Make sure that you or your caregiver know how to give an injection with the pen before you start your treatment.
Read and follow the instructions so that you use your pen correctly:

Step 1. Prepare for your injection.

  • Supplies you will need to give your Wegovy injection:
    • Wegovy pen
    • one alcohol swab or soap and water
    • 1 gauze pad or cotton ball
    • 1 sharps disposable container
  • Wash your hands.
  • Check your Wegovy pen.
    Do not use your pen if:
    • The pen appears to have been used, or any part of the pen appears broken, for example, if it has been dropped.
    • The Wegovy medicine is not clear and colorless through the pen window.
    • The expiration date (EXP) has passed.

Contact Novo Nordisk at 1-833-934-6891 if your pen fails any of these checks.

Step 2. Choose your injection site.

  • Your healthcare provider can help you choose the injection site that is best for you
    • You may inject into your upper legs (front of the thighs) or lower stomach (keep 2 inches away from your belly button).
    • Another person may give the injection in the upper arm.
  • Do not inject into an area where the skin is tender, bruised, red, or hard. Avoid injecting into areas with scars or stretch marks.
  • You may inject in the same body area each week, but make sure it is not in the same spot each time.

Clean the injection site with an alcohol swab or soap and water. Do not touch the injection site after cleaning.

Step 3. Remove pen cap.

  • Pull the pen cap straight off your pen.

Step 4. Inject Wegovy.

  • Push the pen firmly against your skin until the yellow bar has stopped moving.
    If the yellow bar does not start moving, press the pen more firmly against your skin.
  • You will hear two clicks during the injection.
    • Click 1: the injection has started.
    • Click 2: the injection is ongoing.

Step 5. Throw away (dispose of) pen.

Safely dispose of the Wegovy pen immediately after each use. SeeHow do I throw away (dispose of) Wegovy pens?

What if blood appears after injection?

If blood appears at the injection site, press the site lightly with a gauze pad or cotton ball.

How do I throw away (dispose of) Wegovy pens?

Put the used Wegovy pen in an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container right away after use. Do not throw away (dispose of) the pen in your household trash.

If you do not have an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container, you may use a household container that is:

  • made of a heavy-duty plastic,
  • able to be closed with a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lid, without sharps being able to come out,
  • upright and stable during use,
  • leak-resistant, and
  • properly labeled to warn of hazardous waste inside the container.

When your sharps disposal container is almost full, you will need to follow your community guidelines for the right way to dispose of your sharps disposal container. There may be state or local laws about how you should throw away used needles and syringes. For more information about safe sharps disposal and for specific sharps disposal in the state that you live in, go to the FDA’s website at http://www.fda.gov/safesharpsdisposal.

  • Do not reuse the pen.
  • Do not recycle the pen or sharps disposal container or throw them into household trash.

Important:Keep your Wegovy pen, sharps disposal container, and all medicines out of the reach of children.

How do I care for my pen?

Protect your pen:

  • Do not drop your pen or knock it against hard surfaces.
  • Do not expose your pen to any liquids.
  • If you think that your pen may be damaged, do not try to fix it. Use a new one.
  • Keep the pen cap on until you are ready to inject. Your pen will no longer be sterile if you store an unused pen without the cap, if you pull the pen cap off and put it on again, or if the pen cap is missing. This could lead to an infection.

General information about the safe and effective use of Wegovy.

Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. Do not use this medicine for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give it to other people, even if they have the same symptoms that you have. It may harm them. You can ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for information that is written for health professionals.

Popular FAQ

Wegovy, a weight-loss medicine, can be associated with common stomach side effects, like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and more infrequent, rare or serious side effects like low blood sugar, thyroid cancer or gallstones. Continue reading

Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy and Zepbound can all lead to long-term weight loss, but only Wegovy and Zepbound are approved by the FDA for this use. In studies, Zepbound has led to a 21% weight loss in adults using the highest dose, while Wegovy has led to about a 15% weight loss. Continue reading

Ozempic is used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults, while Wegovy is used for weight loss and chronic weight management in adults and children 12 years of age and older with overweight or obesity. In these populations, both agents are approved reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart-related death in people with cardiovascular (heart, blood vessel) disease.

Ozempic and Wegovy are the two brand names that Novo Nordisk uses to market injectable semaglutide. Ozempic and Wegovy come in different strengths to treat the different conditions. Continue reading

Both tirzepatide and semaglutide are prescription medicines used with diet and exercise to treat people with type 2 diabetes or to help people lose and maintain weight loss. Semaglutide has also been approved for cardiovascular risk reduction. They are marketed as Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus (semaglutide) and as Mounjaro or Zepbound (tirzepatide). Continue reading

Weight loss may begin within the first 4 weeks of treatment with Wegovy, but the full effects of Wegovy may not be seen for several months or longer. In studies, after 68 weeks, 83% of people taking Wegovy lost 5% or more of their weight compared to 31% of people taking a placebo. Continue reading

Some pharmacies or clinics may supply compounded versions of medicines like tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound) and semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) to patients, but the FDA has issued safety warnings about this practice. Concerns have risen over active ingredients, side effects and labeling of these compounded products. Continue reading

There’s no evidence that hair loss is a direct side effect of Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro or Zepbound. Hair loss is more likely due to the stress of rapid weight loss on your body, which can lead to temporary shedding of hair over several months, a condition known as telogen effluvium. Continue reading

To find out if Wegovy is covered by your insurance plan, call them and ask if this medicine is already covered under your plan and what the cost is. If you do not have insurance, contact Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer at 1-888-809-3942 (Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-8:00 pm ET) to determine if you qualify for a Wegovy Savings Copay Card or other patient financial assistance programs. Continue reading

Semaglutide (Wegovy) injection for weight loss costs about $1430 per month for all strengths using an online coupon if you are paying cash. Semaglutide for type 2 diabetes costs $1029 per month for both the pen injection (Ozempic) and for 30 of the once-daily oral tablets (Rybelsus). Continue reading

View more FAQ

More about Wegovy (semaglutide)

  • Check interactions
  • Compare alternatives
  • Reviews (368)
  • Drug images
  • Latest FDA alerts (2)
  • Side effects
  • Dosage information
  • During pregnancy
  • Support group
  • FDA approval history
  • Drug class: Incretin Mimetics (GLP-1 Agonists)
  • Breastfeeding

Patient resources

Other brands

Ozempic, Rybelsus

Professional resources

  • Wegovy prescribing information
  • Semaglutide (AHFS Monograph)

Other brands

Ozempic, Rybelsus

Related treatment guides

  • Weight Loss (Obesity/Overweight)
  • Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circ*mstances.

Medical Disclaimer

Wegovy: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Warnings - Drugs.com (2024)

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