Wegovy (semaglutide)

Medically Reviewed By Brittany A. Duke, PharmD, RPh

This drug has a boxed warning, the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Animal studies have shown an increased risk of thyroid cancer in animals that were given semaglutide. (Semaglutide is the active drug in Wegovy.) However, animal studies don’t always predict what might happen in humans.

Doctors typically won’t prescribe Wegovy for people with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). MTC is a rare type of cancer in the thyroid. And they won’t prescribe Wegovy for people with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). MEN 2 is a rare genetic (inherited) condition that can cause tumors in the thyroid.

If you have symptoms of thyroid cancer while taking Wegovy, tell your doctor right away. Examples include a lump in your neck, a hoarse voice, and trouble swallowing or breathing. If needed, your doctor can give you tests for thyroid cancer and recommend treatment options.

About Wegovy

Wegovy is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss and weight management. Wegovy is used in combination with a low calorie diet and exercise.

Doctors can prescribe Wegovy for adults with either:

Wegovy has certain limitations of use. For more information about Wegovy and its uses, see the “Wegovy: Use for weight loss and weight management” section below.

Key points

The following table provides key facts about Wegovy.

Active drug semaglutide
Drug class glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist
Form solution inside a single-dose injection pen that’s given as a subcutaneous injection

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking this drug, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

Wegovy: Generic

Wegovy contains the active drug semaglutide. It only comes as a brand-name medication. And it isn’t currently available as a generic drug.

A generic is an identical copy of the active drug found in a brand-name medication. Generics typically cost less than brand-name drugs.

Wegovy: Cost

Like other medications, prices for Wegovy may vary. The drug’s price will depend on factors such as:

The drug’s cost with insurance will vary between people. Talk with your pharmacist to learn more.

Cost considerations and possible coupon or savings card for Wegovy

Here’s a list of things to consider when looking into the cost of Wegovy.

  • Option for a 90-day supply. For some drugs, it’s possible to get a 90-day supply. If this option is approved by your insurance company, it can help lower the cost of the drug. It can also help you avoid frequent trips to your pharmacy. If you’d like to learn more about this option, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Need for prior authorization. Before insurance coverage for Wegovy is approved, your insurance company may require prior authorization. In this case, your doctor and insurance company will communicate about your prescription for Wegovy. Then, the insurance company will decide if the drug will be covered. To find out if you need prior authorization for Wegovy, contact your insurance company.
  • Possible cost assistance options. Financial assistance to help lower the cost of Wegovy is available. The drug’s manufacturer doesn’t offer a coupon for Wegovy, but they do provide a savings card to help reduce its cost. To learn more and see if you’re eligible for support, visit the manufacturer’s website. Also, check out this article to learn about ways to save on prescription drugs.
  • Use of a mail-order pharmacy. Wegovy may be dispensed through mail-order pharmacies. Getting your prescription through a mail-order pharmacy could lower its cost. It can also allow you to get the drug without leaving home. To find out more about this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Availability of a generic form. Wegovy doesn’t come in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Typically, generics cost less than brand-name drugs.

Wegovy: Side effects

As with most drugs, it’s possible to have side effects with Wegovy. These can include some mild side effects, but also some serious ones.

To learn more about Wegovy’s side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may also provide information about managing certain side effects of this drug.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Wegovy, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild and serious side effects

Mild and serious side effects of Wegovy are listed in the table below. This table does not include all of Wegovy’s possible side effects.

Mild side effects* Serious side effects
• abdominal bloating or pain pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
burping or flatulence (gas) gallbladder problems, including gallstones
dizziness low blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or indigestion diabetic retinopathy (a serious eye condition) in people with type 2 diabetes
fatigue • increased heart rate
stomach flu kidney failure
headache allergic reaction
• digestive problems, including vomiting, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea • risk of thyroid cancer

* This is not a complete list of Wegovy’s mild side effects. To learn about other mild side effects of this drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Or you can view the drug’s prescribing information.
† An allergic reaction is possible after taking Wegovy. However, this side effect wasn’t reported in clinical studies. For more information about allergic reaction, see below.
Wegovy has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the FDA. To learn more, see the “FDA warning: Risk of thyroid cancer” at the beginning of this article.

Most times, mild side effects of a drug go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if any side effects become severe or don’t go away.

Serious side effects from Wegovy aren’t common, but they are possible. If you have serious side effects, call your doctor right away. However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Wegovy. A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible.

Allergic reaction wasn’t reported in clinical studies of Wegovy. However, it has been reported since the drug became available to the public.

Possible symptoms of mild and serious allergic reactions are listed in the table below.

Mild allergic reaction symptoms Serious allergic reaction symptoms
flushing • swelling under your skin, possibly in your hands, feet, lips, or eyelids
rash • swelling in your throat or mouth
• itching trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction to Wegovy, call your doctor right away. This is important to do because the reaction could become severe.

However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Wegovy: Questions you may have

Here are some common questions about Wegovy and brief answers to them. If you’d like to know more about these topics, ask your doctor.

Are reviews available from people who’ve taken Wegovy?

No, the manufacturer of Wegovy hasn’t provided patient reviews for the drug.

Keep in mind that results of Wegovy will be different for each person who takes Wegovy. Your doctor or pharmacist can talk with you about what to expect with the drug. They can help you determine whether Wegovy is a good treatment option for you.

Does Wegovy work for weight loss? What before and after results can I expect with the drug?

Wegovy has been found effective for helping with weight loss in clinical studies.

However, the drug’s manufacturer has not provided before and after results from people who’ve used Wegovy.

To learn more about what to expect with Wegovy, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

What’s to know about Wegovy vs. Ozempic, Trulicity, and Victoza?

The table below explains a few similarities and differences among Wegovy, Ozempic, Trulicity, and Victoza.

Drug name Active drug Drug class Uses
Wegovy semaglutide glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist weight loss and weight management
Ozempic semaglutide GLP-1 agonist type 2 diabetes
Trulicity dulaglutide GLP-1 agonist type 2 diabetes
Victoza liraglutide GLP-1 agonist type 2 diabetes

To learn more about how Wegovy compares with these medications, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Does Wegovy treat type 1 diabetes?

Wegovy isn’t approved to treat type 1 diabetes. Instead, Wegovy is approved for weight loss and weight management in certain people. To learn more, see the “Wegovy: Use for weight loss and weight management” section below.

Wegovy contains the active drug semaglutide, which is also available as the brand-name drugs Rybelsus and Ozempic. Both Rybelsus and Ozempic are approved to treat type 2 diabetes. However, no form of semaglutide is approved to treat type 1 diabetes.

If you have type 1 diabetes, talk with your doctor about the treatment option that is best for your condition.

Will Wegovy give me energy?

Wegovy itself isn’t likely to give you energy. However, Wegovy is approved for weight loss and weight management. And you may find that losing weight helps you feel more energetic.

To learn more about what to expect with Wegovy, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Can Wegovy be taken with metformin?

Possibly, if your doctor recommends it.

Metformin is approved to treat type 2 diabetes. Doctors sometimes prescribe the drug off-label for weight loss. With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.

Wegovy is also used for weight loss. So, your doctor may prescribe Wegovy with metformin in some cases.

If you have questions about taking Wegovy in combination with metformin, talk with your doctor.

Wegovy: Use for weight loss and weight management

Prescription drugs, such as Wegovy, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain conditions.

Using Wegovy for weight loss and weight management

The FDA has approved Wegovy for weight loss and weight management. The drug is used in combination with a low calorie diet and exercise.

Doctors can prescribe Wegovy for adults with either:

BMI is a measurement used to evaluate a person’s body fat. To calculate your BMI, your doctor will compare your height with your weight.

Having a higher BMI may increase your risk of certain health conditions. For this reason, your doctor can recommend ways, such as taking Contrave, to help you manage a healthy BMI.

Wegovy’s limitations of use

Wegovy’s manufacturer has noted some limitations for the drug’s use. These are situations in which the drug isn’t typically prescribed.

The limitations of use for Wegovy are as follows:

  • Wegovy may not be effective or safe when used with other weight loss products.
  • Wegovy may not be safe or effective for people who’ve had pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in the past.
  • Wegovy should not be used in combination with other glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. (GLP-1 agonists is the class of drugs that Wegovy belongs to.) Examples include Ozempic, Trulicity, and Victoza.

Using Wegovy with other therapies

The FDA has approved Wegovy for use in combination with a low calorie diet and exercise.

Your doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian can recommend a calorie intake that’s healthy and safe for weight loss. In addition, they can suggest exercises that can help you reach your weight loss goals.

Using Wegovy in children

Doctors typically won’t prescribe Wegovy for use in children. The drug is only approved for use in adults.

Finding a healthcare professional for Wegovy

If you’re interested in using Wegovy, you can find a doctor who might prescribe it by searching here. You can prepare for your appointment by visiting Healthgrades’ appointment guide for weight management.

Wegovy: Dosage

Below, you’ll find dosages that are commonly recommended for Wegovy. However, you should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your needs.

Most often, doctors start by prescribing a low dosage of Wegovy. Then, they’ll change the dosage over time to an amount that’s right for the condition being treated. Doctors typically prescribe the smallest dosage that gives the desired outcome.

Wegovy’s forms and strengths

Wegovy is available as follows.

  • Form: solution inside a single-dose injection pen that’s given as a subcutaneous injection
  • Strengths:
    • 0.25 milligrams per 0.5 milliliter of solution (0.25 mg/0.5 mL)
    • 0.5 mg/0.5 mL
    • 1 mg/0.5 mL
    • 1.7 mg/0.75 mL
    • 2.4 mg/0.75 mL

Wegovy’s recommended dosages

Wegovy is approved for weight loss and weight management in certain adults. (To learn more, see the “Wegovy: Use for weight loss and weight management” section above.)

The dosage table that follows includes Wegovy’s recommended dosages for this use.

Weeks Dose Frequency
1 to 4 0.25 mg once weekly
5 to 8 0.5 mg once weekly
9 to 12 1 mg once weekly
13 to 16 1.7 mg once weekly
17 and after 2.4 mg once weekly

Dosage considerations

Below are some things to consider about Wegovy’s dosage.

  • Missing a dose. If you miss a dose of Wegovy and your next dose is more than 2 days away, take your missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if your next dose is less than 2 days away, skip your missed dose. Then take your next dose at its usual time. If you miss more than two doses of Wegovy in a row, talk with your doctor. They may need to reset your dosing schedule. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Length of treatment. Doctors typically prescribe Wegovy as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

Wegovy: Alternatives

Doctors may prescribe drugs other than Wegovy for your condition. Certain drugs may work better for you than others.

Wegovy is used for weight loss and weight management. Here’s a summary of other treatments that doctors sometimes prescribe for this purpose.

Your doctor can tell you about similar drugs, such as liraglutide (Saxenda) and phentermine (Adipex-P, Lomaira).

To learn more about alternatives to Wegovy, ask your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that could be prescribed for your condition.

Wegovy: How it works

Wegovy is approved for weight loss and weight management in certain adults. (To learn more, see the “Wegovy: Use for weight loss and weight management” section above.)

Wegovy belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. GLP-1 is a hormone found naturally in the body. Wegovy’s mechanism of action (how it works) is to mimic the GLP-1 hormone.

GLP-1 helps regulate your appetite. By imitating GLP-1, Wegovy helps reduce your appetite. Loss of appetite can lower the number of calories you consume. This may lead to weight loss and help with long-term weight management.

How long does Wegovy take to start working?

It may take several weeks for you to notice Wegovy working to reduce your appetite or help with weight management.

What is Wegovy’s half-life? How long does it stay in your system?

Wegovy’s half-life is about 1 week. This is the length of time it takes your body to get rid of half of a dose.

In general, it takes about five half-lives for a drug to leave your body completely. This means Wegovy stays in your body for about 5 weeks after your last dose.

Wegovy: How to administer

Your doctor will recommend how you should take Wegovy. It’s important that you take the drug exactly as your doctor instructs.

Wegovy is given as a subcutaneous injection. It comes as a solution in a single-use injection pen.

Wegovy can be injected in the following areas of your body:

  • front of the thigh
  • abdomen, if injected at least 2 inches away from the belly button
  • upper arm, if injected by a caregiver

Your doctor will show you how to inject Wegovy. You can also visit the drug manufacturer’s website for video instructions or view these written instructions.

Questions about taking Wegovy

Here’s a list of common questions related to taking Wegovy.

  • When should I take Wegovy? You’ll likely take Wegovy once each week. Taking Wegovy on the same day each week helps keep a steady level of it in your body. This helps the medication work effectively. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses of Wegovy. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Do I need to take Wegovy with food? Wegovy can be taken with or without food.
  • Is there a best time of day to take Wegovy? Wegovy can be injected any time of day.

Wegovy: Consuming alcohol during treatment

There isn’t any known interaction between Wegovy and alcohol.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about the amount that’s safe to consume while using Wegovy.

Wegovy: Interactions

Wegovy may interact with other medications. It isn’t known to interact with any supplements or foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. Some interactions can interfere with a drug’s effectiveness. Others can increase a drug’s side effects or cause them to be severe.

If any of the interactions listed below might pertain to you, talk with your doctor. They can tell you what you need to do to avoid the interaction.

  • Wegovy and certain diabetes medications. Because Wegovy may interact with the following diabetes drugs, your doctor may recommend that you don’t take it with these drugs. Examples include:
  • Wegovy and oral medications. Wegovy may affect how your body absorbs liquids, tablets, or capsules that are taken by mouth. Be sure to discuss with your doctor before taking oral medications while using Wegovy.
  • Wegovy and herbs and supplements. Wegovy isn’t known to interact with herbs or supplements. If you have questions about herbs or supplements that may affect Wegovy, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Wegovy and foods. Wegovy isn’t known to interact with any foods. If you have questions about foods that may affect Wegovy, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Wegovy: Taking while pregnant

It isn’t known if Wegovy is safe to take during pregnancy.

Wegovy hasn’t been studied in human pregnancy. However, animal studies have shown harm to offspring born to animals that were given the drug in pregnancy. Keep in mind that animal studies don’t always predict what happens with humans.

In addition, Wegovy is used for weight loss. And typically, weight loss is not recommended while you’re pregnant.

For these reasons, doctors usually won’t prescribe Wegovy during pregnancy. To be safe, they’ll likely recommend that you not become pregnant for at least 2 months after your last dose of the drug.

If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, talk with your doctor before starting Wegovy.

Wegovy’s pregnancy registry

If you become pregnant while taking Wegovy, tell your doctor right away. They’ll likely encourage you to enroll in a pregnancy registry. The registry collects information about how Wegovy affects pregnancy. To learn more, talk with your doctor. Or you can call 800-727-6500.

Wegovy and birth control needs

It may not be safe to take Wegovy during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor about your birth control needs with Wegovy if you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant. Your doctor can recommend if you should use birth control with this medication.

Wegovy: Taking while breastfeeding

It’s not known if Wegovy passes into breast milk. And it isn’t known if the drug could cause side effects in a breastfed child.

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to do so, talk with your doctor before starting Wegovy. They can discuss the risks and benefits of taking Wegovy during this time.

Wegovy: Precautions

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warning: Risk of thyroid cancer

This drug has a boxed warning, the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Risk of thyroid cancer. Animal studies have shown an increased risk of thyroid cancer in animals that were given semaglutide. (Semaglutide is the active drug in Wegovy.) However, animal studies don’t always predict what might happen in humans.

Doctors typically won’t prescribe Wegovy for people with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). MTC is a rare type of cancer in the thyroid. And they won’t prescribe Wegovy for people with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). MEN 2 is a rare genetic (inherited) condition that can cause tumors in the thyroid.

If you have symptoms of thyroid cancer while taking Wegovy, tell your doctor right away. Examples include a lump in your neck, a hoarse voice, and trouble swallowing or breathing. If needed, they can give you tests for thyroid cancer and recommend treatment options.

Other precautions

Tell your doctor about your health history before starting treatment with Wegovy. Your doctor may not recommend this medication if you have certain factors affecting your health or specific medical conditions.

These factors and conditions include those listed below.

  • Diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetic retinopathy, talk with your doctor before using Wegovy. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye condition that can happen in people with type 2 diabetes. Wegovy can also cause diabetic retinopathy. Your doctor may check your eyes regularly while you take Wegovy.
  • Pancreatitis. Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) is a possible side effect of Wegovy. It isn’t known whether Wegovy is safe or effective for people who’ve had pancreatitis in the past. If you have pancreatitis or have had it before, talk with your doctor before starting Wegovy. They’ll advise whether a different treatment may be preferred for your condition.
  • Kidney problems. Wegovy may cause kidney failure as a side effect. Before taking the drug, tell your doctor if you have kidney problems. Your risk of kidney failure may be higher than if you have these conditions.
  • Mental health conditions. Wegovy can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors in people with mental health conditions, such as depression. If you have a mental health condition, talk with your doctor before starting Wegovy. They’ll advise whether Wegovy is a safe treatment option for you.
  • Allergic reaction. Your doctor will likely not prescribe Wegovy if you’ve had an allergic reaction to it or any of its ingredients. To find out about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.
  • Pregnancy. It may not be safe to take Wegovy while pregnant. If you’d like to learn more information about taking Wegovy while pregnant, view the “Wegovy: Taking while pregnant” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It isn’t known if Wegovy passes into breast milk. If you’d like to learn more information about taking Wegovy while breastfeeding, view the “Wegovy: Taking while breastfeeding” section above.

To learn more about effects of Wegovy that could be harmful, see the “Wegovy: Side effects” section above.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide

Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 800-273-8255.

Click here for more links and local resources.

Wegovy: Overdose

For some drugs, taking more than the recommended dosage may lead to unwanted symptoms or overdose. Do not use more Wegovy than your doctor advises.

What to do if you take too much Wegovy

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Wegovy: Expiration, storage, and disposal

Here’s some information about Wegovy’s expiration date, as well as how to store and dispose of the drug.

  • Expiration. Your pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on Wegovy’s packaging. This date is usually 1 year from the date the medication was dispensed to you. Expiration dates help ensure that a medication is effective during a period of time. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that you avoid using expired drugs. If you have an unused medication and it’s past the drug’s expiration date, talk with your pharmacist. They can let you know whether you might still be able to use the medication.
  • Storage. Many factors determine how long a medication remains good to use. These factors include how and where you store the drug. Wegovy pens should be stored in the refrigerator between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C). You can also temporarily store unopened Wegovy pens at a temperature between 46°F and 86°F (8°C and 30°C) for up to 28 days. Do not store Wegovy pens in the freezer. The medication should be kept away from light in its original packaging.
  • Disposal. Dispose of any used syringes, needles, or autoinjectors right after using them. You can safely dispose of these items in an FDA-approved sharps container. Doing so helps prevent others, including children and pets, from accidentally taking the drug. It also helps them avoid harm from needles. If you’d like to buy a sharps container, you can find options online. Or ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health insurance company where you can purchase one. Your pharmacist can tell you more information about disposing of Wegovy. Also, check out this page for several tips on safe medication disposal.

Wegovy: Questions for your doctor

If you have questions about Wegovy, talk with your doctor. They can help advise you on whether Wegovy could be a good treatment option for you.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How much weight should I expect to lose with Wegovy?
  • How is Wegovy different from other weight management treatments?
  • Are there any specific exercises I should do to help lose weight with Wegovy?

Your doctor may also tell you about other treatment options for your condition. You may find this article helpful in learning about alternative treatments for weight loss.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades 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.

Medical Reviewer: Brittany A. Duke, PharmD, RPh
Last Review Date: 2022 May 15
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.