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Wegovy is here!

Wegovy is the newest rage in anti-obesity medicine treatments. Popular on social media, TV commercials, and raved about by celebrities, this new class of medication is popular for a good reason – it works! It is important to clarify what it really is: Wegovy is a treatment for people who struggle with serious, chronic weight management challenges.

What is it? How does it work? And what are the side effects? I also want to debunk some of the myths and false expectations of this exciting new treatment for obesity.

What is it? Wegovy is a new class of drug originally developed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and was first approved by the FDA under the name “Ozempic”. More recently, Wegovy was FDA approved as an anti-obesity medication. Its generic form is called semaglutide and recently arrived on the market due to the shortage of the brand name.

How does it work? Wegovy is a GLP-1 RA, a naturally occurring “glucagon-like-peptide” that regulates appetite and satiety. Although it is not fully understood how it works in the human brain, we do know there are GLP-1 receptors throughout the digestive system and the brain. When these receptors are full, we feel full and satisfied. Hunger diminishes and cravings vanish, making it easy to eat less and make better food choices, resulting in impressive weight loss.

Does it require a prescription? Yes, this medication should only be obtained through legitimate pharmacies and with a physician’s oversite (like Sound Medical Weight Loss). If you are hoping for insurance coverage you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are living with obesity (BMI ≥30)
  • You are living with excess weight (BMI ≥27) and at least one weight-related medical problem (such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol)

Note that Wegovy has a huge price tag if your insurance does not include anti-obesity medications. You can call your insurance to check if you have any weight loss or obestity coverage, if not then we have sourced a reputable pharmacy in the state of Washington for the generic equivalent (semaglutide) at a fraction of the cost of the brand name.

How is it taken? Wegovy is a once-a-week injectable medication. It comes in a fancy, single dose, pen injector, similar to an EpiPen. It is injected subcutaneously (just under the skin, so about ¼ inch deep) into the abdomen or thigh each week. The generic, semaglutide, does NOT come in a fancy pen. It comes in a regular syringe with ½ inch needles. If you are not comfortable with self-injecting, then this may not be the drug for you. However, we are happy to help you administer the first injection in our office.

Common side effects: nausea is the most common side effect that I see in my practice. In my clinical experience, the side effects are worse the first 1 – 3 days after the first injection, then decrease with each consecutive weekly injection. Other side effects include:

  • Loss of appetite (this is what we want)
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Acid reflux
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Light-headed or dizziness
  • And I have had one case of increased depression.

You should NOT take Wegovy if you have a history of pancreatitis, Thyroid Medullary Cancer (TCM), or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MENs). You may read more detailed information directly on the Wegovy.


Wegovy is NOT a cure or quick fix for a small amount of weight loss. It is important to understand that obesity is a complex, chronic and recurring condition. Wegovy is not a miracle cure; it is designed to be used in conjunction with a curated diet, exercise and necessary lifestyle changes as a treatment for chronic or reoccurring obesity.

Will I gain the weight back when I stop Wegovy? If a healthy diet and lifestyle changes are not permanently in place when the medication is discontinued, then the risk of regaining all the weight loss is likely. The only thing that can repair a dysfunctional metabolism is months, or years of clean eating, exercise, behavioral and lifestyle changes that support a healthy weight. Taking Wegovy helps you adhere to a new diet and lifestyle plan until you’ve developed sustainable habits over a long period of time.

Do you struggle with serious, chronic weight management challenges? Keeping the weight off long-term requires sustainable dietary and lifestyle habits, behavioral changes, and a deeper understanding of nutrition and your relationship with food. Obesity is a chronic condition and often requires chronic medical supervision, just like any chronic disease. Let the experts at Sound Medical Weight Loss support you on your weight loss journey.

Author - Dr. Christine James

As a regional leader in obesity medicine, Dr. Christine James helps people from the Seattle area transform their lives. She provides science-backed, individualized weight loss programs at Sound Medical Weight Loss in Kirkland, Washington. Dr. James specializes in helping patients improve their overall well-being, including their cardiovascular health and conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.