How Wegovy medication can help reduce diabetes and heart disease risk

How Wegovy medication can help reduce diabetes and heart disease risk

9 Jun 2023
Stefano Mirabello Medical Reviewer
Pharmacist / B.Pharm

Diabetes and heart disease are two of the leading causes of death worldwide. Weight gain often goes hand-in-hand with individuals who have diabetes and those at an increased risk of developing heart disease. However, with the introduction of Wegovy, a weight management medication, there is now a new way to reduce the risk of both conditions. In this blog post, we will explore what Wegovy is, how it works, and its potential benefits in reducing diabetes and heart disease risk.

What is Wegovy medication?

Wegovy is a brand-name weight loss medication designed to help people with obesity lose weight. It is manufactured by Novo Nordisk and is a weekly injection administered subcutaneously. Clinical trials have proven it to be effective as a weight loss drug for people with a:

  • Body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or higher, as well as those who have a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or higher, who also have comorbidities such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes

The active ingredient in Wegovy medication is semaglutide, which is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue. GLP-1 is a hormone produced in the intestine that regulates insulin secretion and helps control blood sugar levels. Semaglutide is licensed under the brand names Ozempic and Rybelsus, which help manage blood glucose levels in those with type 2 diabetes.

How does Wegovy medication work?

Wegovy medication is part of a class of drugs designed to mimic the action of GLP-1, and is known as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. When injected, it binds to the receptors in the pancreas, stimulates insulin secretion, and reduces glucagon secretion, which helps to control blood glucose levels. Additionally, it acts in the brain to reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness, resulting in a reduced calorie intake, and ultimately a reduction in body weight.

In addition to taking the weight loss medication as prescribed, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and a balanced diet, to help achieve the best results with Wegovy. Healthcare professionals involved in your care may recommend regular check-ups to monitor your progress and ensure that the medication is working as intended.

What are the side effects of Wegovy?

The most common side effects of this type of medication are gastrointestinal-related issues such as nausea, constipation, indigestion and heartburn. Other more serious side effects include pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), gallbladder issues, kidney disease, low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), diabetic retinopathy, fast heartbeat and allergic reactions.

Your healthcare provider will need to monitor these potential side effects. If you experience any, it’s important to notify them immediately. It’s also worth noting that patients who have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), should not take Wegovy.

Can Wegovy medication help reduce diabetes and heart disease risk?

The link between obesity, diabetes and heart disease is well-established, with obesity increasing the risk of heart disease by approximately 20%. Additionally, diabetes is also a well-established risk factor for heart disease, further increasing the potential for complications.

Findings from a study on semaglutide suggest that it could have a positive impact on cardiovascular health in individuals who are overweight or have obesity. The study evaluated data from 93 patients with a BMI of 27 or higher and no history of heart disease. Using a tool to predict the 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease, the researchers found that this risk decreased by 1.38% after one year of taking semaglutide. The 10-year ASCVD risk estimator is a tool created by the American College of Cardiology that predicts a person’s 10-year risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

The study also showed improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar control. These results suggest that semaglutide may be a helpful treatment option for individuals who are at risk of heart disease and diabetes.

What are the potential benefits of Wegovy medication?

The potential benefits of Wegovy medication are numerous, particularly for individuals who are overweight or obese and at high risk of diabetes and heart disease. In addition to promoting weight loss, Wegovy can also improve blood sugar control, reduce blood pressure, and potentially reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It also has the potential to improve quality of life by reducing feelings of hunger and increasing feelings of fullness.

Speak to a healthcare professional

If you are overweight or obese and at risk of developing diabetes or heart disease, talk to your doctor about whether Wegovy might be right for you. Wegovy has shown significant weight loss results of up to 15% of body weight in clinical trials. However, it’s an injectable medication that may not suit some patients. Ultimately, choosing the best weight loss drug for you should be discussed with your healthcare provider, taking into account your health history, lifestyle, and goals.

When taking a prescription medication like Wegovy it is crucial to inform your prescribing healthcare professional about any other health conditions and prescription medications you take, including supplements, and over-the-counter meds. Your healthcare provider may also provide you with additional guidance on how to use the medication safely and effectively.

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Now Patient has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that all material is factually accurate, complete, and current. However, the knowledge and experience of a qualified healthcare professional should always be sought after instead of using the information in this page. Before taking any drug, you should always speak to your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider.

The information provided here about medications is subject to change and is not meant to include all uses, precautions, warnings, directions, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or negative effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a particular medication does not imply that the medication or medication combination is appropriate for all patients or for all possible purposes.

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