The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Wegovy , a higher-dose version of Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug semaglutide, for long-term weight management .
In company-funded studies, participants taking Wegovy had an average weight loss of 15%, about 15.3 kilograms. The participants lost weight steadily for 14 months before stabilizing. In a comparison group that received placebo injections, the average weight loss was about 2.5%.
Good news for health
Wegovy (pronounced wee-GOH’-vee) is a synthesized version of an intestinal hormone that curbs your appetite. Patients inject it weekly under the skin. Like other weight loss medications, it should be used in conjunction with exercise, a healthy diet, and other steps, such as keeping a food diary.
Perhaps 15% is not enough for them to seek aesthetic purposes, but losing even 5% of the weight can bring health benefits, such as better energy, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
It’s also safer than other medications – Wegovy’s most common side effects were gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. They generally decreased, but caused about 5% of study participants to stop taking it. The drug carries a potential risk for a type of thyroid tumor , so it should not be taken by people with a personal or family history of certain thyroid and endocrine tumors. Wegovy is also at risk for depression and inflammation of the pancreas.