What Is Wegovy? Does It Work?
It seems that everybody is talking about the brand new weight loss drug, Wegovy, that recently got FDA approval. As a leading expert in this field, we sat down with Dr. Hernried from the Hernried Center for Medical Weight Loss to have him give us a little bit more insight into exactly what Wegovy is and why it is being called revolutionary.
What is Wegovy?
Wegovy is the newest weight loss drug to receive approval from the FDA, and we’re very excited about this medication. While it’s considered a “new medication”, it’s actually only new for the treatment of obesity. The generic name for this medicine is semaglutide. It’s been a medicine that’s been approved for quite a while in the United States, under the trade name of Ozempic. So, the good news is that this medicine is quite common to us, when we’re treating patients with diabetes. It’s just been approved in a much higher dose for treatment of obesity and this is probably the first of what will be multiple medications over the next several years approved for obesity, and it really is getting to the heart of treating obesity as a chronic disease by addressing the physiology of obesity.
Wegovy is administered as a once-a-week injection. We know that some people get freaked out about injections, but don’t worry, it’s a tiny needle, similar to that of an insulin pen that you just dial-in and press the button. Truly, you will hardly feel it.
Does it work?
The clinical trials for Wegovy were very impressive. What we saw was somewhere between a 15-17% sustained weight loss. So, people not only lost weight, but they were able to maintain the losses. While these studies haven’t extended to more than 3 years yet, the studies do seem to show that it has a long-term effect. This is in contrast to many weight loss medications that result in an initial weight loss, but fall short when it comes to long term sustainability. With some of the newer medications, and specifically Wegovy, we see a sustained weight loss, which is significant progress.
I think this is going to be a very important medicine. At the Hernried Center, we like using weight loss medications, particularly in the weight maintenance phase, as we think it really helps. All of our medical staff are trained and understand and prescribe a variety of these medications.
Does Wegovy have any side effects?
As with any medication, there is some risk for side effects. Generally side effects are minimal and are gastro-intestinal in nature with patients reporting symptoms of nausea, constipation or diarrhea. However, we have some tricks up our sleeve that help minimize the side effects such as managing dosage. The patients we have on similar medications such as Saxend have done very very well, so, we’re very excited to be able to offer this in our clinic.
How much does it cost?
The one caveat with weight loss medications is insurance coverage, as the level of coverage and the treatments covered varies greatly by insurance. One has to look up their insurance policy specifically, to see if this medication is going to be approved for them. Without insurance coverage, Wegovy will cost about $1,300 per month, which is probably prohibitively expensive for most patients. But, if that price isn’t a problem for you, or your insurance covers it, we’d be happy to talk with you to see if it would be a good fit for you.
What if Wegovy isn’t right for you?
If not covered by your insurance, or if Wegovy isn’t right for you, we certainly have other medications they may be more suited to you. If you have any questions about the medication, or any of the other medications that we can offer, just ask one of our medical providers.