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Does Wegovy Medication Work Better Than Other Weight Loss Drugs?

Does Wegovy Medication Work Better Than Other Weight Loss Drugs?

15 May 2023
Stefano Mirabello Medical Reviewer
Stefano Mirabello
Medical Writer
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Losing weight can be difficult, especially for those who struggle with obesity. This puts them at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. While exercise and healthy eating habits are essential, some people may need extra help to lose weight. That’s where weight loss drugs like Wegovy come in, but does Wegovy medication work better than other weight loss drugs? In this blog post, we’ll explore what Wegovy is, how it works and compare it to other weight loss drugs to help give you a better understanding of this medication.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy is a new weight loss drug approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the U.S. in June 2021 and is manufactured by the Danish Pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. It contains the active ingredient known as semaglutide, which belongs to a class of drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. The drug mimics a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that regulates appetite and food intake. Wegovy slows down the emptying of the stomach, which helps to reduce hunger and calorie intake. Studies have shown that Wegovy can help people lose up to 15% of their body weight over 16-68 weeks.

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What are GLP-1 receptor agonists?

As mentioned above Wegovy is a GLP-1 receptor agonist but let’s explain what that means.

GLP-1 receptor agonists are a class of medications that can help with weight loss. These medications are typically used to treat type 2 diabetes, but have also been found to benefit weight loss. They work by mimicking the activity of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is produced naturally in the body.

GLP-1 helps to regulate blood sugar levels and promotes feelings of fullness, leading to reduced calorie intake. By activating the GLP-1 receptor, these medications can help with weight loss in people who are overweight or obese, particularly when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

If you are struggling with weight management, talk to your healthcare provider to see if GLP-1 receptor agonists could be a helpful tool in your weight loss journey.

How do you take Wegovy?

Wegovy is a weekly injection taken subcutaneously, which means it’s injected just under the skin on your stomach, thigh, or upper arm. Your healthcare provider will likely give you instructions on how to properly use the pen injection device that comes with the medication. It’s important to follow these instructions closely to ensure you’re receiving the correct dose of the medication.

Who is suitable to take Wegovy?

Wegovy is only recommended for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or for those with a BMI of 27 or higher who also have weight-related health conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease or high cholesterol. As with any medication, it’s crucial to talk to your doctor about whether Wegovy is the right choice for you.

It is helpful to know that Wegovy contains a higher dose of the same active component as Ozempic, a medication used to help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Rybelsus is the tablet version of Ozempic used to treat type 2 diabetes.

What drug is comparable to Wegovy?

If you’re considering Wegovy as a weight loss medication, you may be curious about alternative drugs with similar benefits. One drug that may be comparable to Wegovy is Saxenda. Like Wegovy, Saxenda is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that works to help you feel less hungry and more full.

Both medications are prescription drugs that can potentially help with significant weight loss when used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise. However, it’s important to note that individual results may vary and it’s always best to speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new medication.

Effectiveness of Wegovy versus Saxenda

In a clinical trial involving 300 people Wegovy (semaglutide) and Saxenda (liraglutide) were compared directly to each other for weight loss in people with obesity. Semaglutide vs liraglutide comparisons were open-label, with active treatment groups double-blinded against matched placebo groups.

The results showed that those in the semaglutide group lost 15.8% of their body weight, while the liraglutide group lost 6.4%. Not only that, but semaglutide was better tolerated, with only 13.5% of participants discontinuing compared to 27.6% with liraglutide. Though both groups experienced common side effects, semaglutide was found to be more effective overall.

What are the side effects of Wegovy vs Saxenda?

80% of people in both groups reported experiencing side effects like constipation, cramping, bloating, indigestion and diarrhoea. The most common side effects of this type of medication are gastrointestinal-related issues.

There are also more serious side effects with both these medications, most notably, the risk of thyroid carcinoma. Those with a family history of thyroid cancer and multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 should avoid taking both Saxenda and Wegovy.

Other more serious side effects from both these medications include:

  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Gallbladder issues
  • Kidney disease

If you experience any of these symptoms and side effects, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider and seek medical advice.

Other weight loss drugs that work differently from Wegovy

Orlistat

Orlistat, also known as Xenical or Alli works by blocking the absorption of fat in the gut, meaning you absorb fewer calories from the food you eat. Studies have shown that Orlistat can help people lose up to 10% of their body weight over a year. However, Orlistat can cause unwanted side effects such as flatulence and diarrhoea, which can make it difficult to adhere to the medication long-term.

Phentermine

Phentermine is another weight loss drug that’s been around for decades. It works by suppressing appetite and increasing energy levels. Studies have shown that Phentermine can help people lose up to 5% of their weight over a year. However, Phentermine is only recommended for short-term use as it can cause heart palpitations, high blood pressure, and other side effects.

Contrave

Contrave is another weight loss drug that combines bupropion and naltrexone. Bupropion is an antidepressant that can help suppress appetite, and naltrexone is used to reduce alcohol and drug cravings. Contrave works by reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness. Studies have shown that Contrave can help people lose up to 5% of their weight over a year. However, it can cause side effects such as nausea, headaches, and constipation.

Speak to a healthcare professional

So, does Wegovy medication work better than other weight loss drugs? While all weight loss drugs have their pros and cons, Wegovy has shown significant weight loss results of up to 15% of body weight over several weeks. However, it’s an injectable medication that may not suit some patients. Ultimately, the best weight loss medication for you should be discussed with your healthcare provider, taking into account your health history, lifestyle, and goals. Remember that weight loss is a journey and not a quick fix, and a combination of lifestyle changes and medication may be necessary for some people to reach their weight loss goals.

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