Wegovy – New Weekly Weight Loss Medication

Wegovy (Semaglutide) is not yet available in Australia, however was accepted for evaluation by the TGA in March 2021, and is already TGA approved in the U.S. This medication is the same active ingredient as Ozempic (semaglutide), but in a different dose (0.5 – 2.4mg). Saxenda (Liraglutide), a different medication of the same drug class, has been available as a weight loss medication in Adelaide since 2016, and its use is continuing to increase.

 

Ozempic (0.25 – 1mg) is currently indicated for the management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, however has an added benefit of weight management. It is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, which suppresses hunger. It can be used as an adjunct with other weight management methods, particularly in consultation with a bariatric/weight loss specialist and dietitian. Saxenda or other GLP-1 receptor agonists are particularly useful prior to weight loss surgery.

 

Who would be eligible for Wegovy or Saxenda?

  • Patient with a BMI ≥ 27 with weight related medical problems, or a BMI ≥ 30
  • No family history of medullary thyroid cancer, or MEN 2
  • No allergy to the medication
  • Not pregnant or considering falling pregnant

 

Please note though, that weight regain is common following cessation of medication. Currently Saxenda is close to $400 per month, and this is important to consider. There are also side-effects to medication, which most commonly include nausea, diarrhoea, constipation and vomiting. It is important to not use Saxenda or other GLP-1 receptor agonists with a history of pancreatitis, or if you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant.

 

Wegovy (Semaglutide) is a different medication to Saxenda (Liraglutide). Wegovy benefits from a weekly injection compared to Saxenda which has to be injected daily. Wegovy also benefits from greater weight loss than Saxenda, with a trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing -14.9% change in body weight over the 68 week trial.

 

It is always important to consider your personal situation, and to consult with a health professional.

 

For further information, please contact Dr Balalis.

 

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