Some people do not experience changes in their weight even when they use Wegovy (semaglutide) the way it is prescribed. Some factors like early-onset severe obesity in childhood, developmental delays, endocrine disorders, and early trauma may make a patient less responsive to semaglutide or other GLP-1 agonists. Even if an individual does not lose weight on semaglutide or other GLP-1 agonists, they may get additional benefits like improving the cardiovascular and glycemic markers of type 2 diabetes.

A lot of people deal with obesity and other weight-related health issues like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, and several types of cancer. Adults with a body mass index of 30 or higher look for weight loss drugs to aid weight loss. Various medications can help people manage their weight. Wegovy (semaglutide) is a type of drug called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1) and is prescribed medication to help lose weight. It is FDA-approved. It is injected right under the skin (subcutaneously) once a week into your stomach, upper arms, or thighs.

Understanding Wegovy and Its Mechanism

Wegovy (semaglutide) is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, which means it works by copying the action of GLP -1, a natural hormone. It is for chronic weight management for adults and adolescents based on their body mass index (BMI). It is administered as once-weekly semaglutide injections. This weight loss drug works in the body by regulating appetite by decreasing levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and increasing levels of the satiety hormone leptin. This helps you feel full for longer by slowing the stomach emptying. It regulates blood sugar and insulin levels for people with diabetes, boosts insulin production, and helps the body use glucose for energy more efficiently.

Clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of Wegovy in helping people lose excess weight. In one study , Wegovy helped overweight and obese patients lose an average of 15% of body weight in 68 weeks by taking 2.4mg of Wegovy weekly. Many people start to lose weight within a few weeks after taking Wegovy. Your weight loss journey can also continue longer than 68 weeks. When you start taking Wegovy, your healthcare provider will begin at a lower dose to see how you tolerate the drug. He will increase your dosage if there are no adverse effects. The dosage schedule is the primary reason it can take up to 20 weeks to see significant results. There is a schedule because side effects are dose-dependent.

  • Weeks 1-4: 0.25mg once a week
  • Weeks 5-8: 0.5mg once a week
  • Weeks 9-12: 1mg once a week
  • Weeks 13-16: 1.7mg once a week
  • Weeks 17 going forward: 2.4mg once a week

Side Effects

Many people tolerate Wegovy, but it still has some gastrointestinal side effects like constipation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. These are usually mild side effects and may go away on their own. Side effects slowly wear off from the injection day for weekly treatments. Increasing the dosage can increase or bring more side effects. Severe side effects may occur, and it is possible to be unable to tolerate it. There are guidelines in the Journal of Clinical Medicine on managing symptoms.

6 Factors Affecting Weight Loss on Wegovy

Individual Variation

You might ask: Why am I not losing weight on Wegovy?

Wegovy is not right for anyone based on individual variation; genetics, metabolism, and certain medical conditions can influence the effectiveness of Wegovy. Some people may lose more weight than others. Some people may experience side effects that make it difficult to continue taking Wegovy.

Diet and Nutrition

People who maintain a healthy diet and nutritious eating habits are likelier to lose weight on Wegovy than those who do not change their diet. Unhealthy eating habits will counter the way Wegovy works for you.

You can make healthy diet changes for weight management by reducing calorie intake and eating more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

Physical Activity

For proper weight maintenance, it is essential to do regular exercise when taking Wegovy. If you are the type that lives a sedentary lifestyle, you must be active. Regular exercise isn't something many people like to engage in, but you can take walks every day or invest in a treadmill. Exercises like yoga, swimming, bike riding, and skipping have helped people lose weight.

Medication Adherence

It is essential to maintain a consistent prescribed and recommended dosage. Missing doses will not allow you to enjoy the full benefits of Wegovy. If you are missing your doses because it is an expensive treatment, speak to your healthcare provider about your options and if you can get insurance coverage. You can set a reminder to remember when you need to take your Wegovy treatment.

Underlying Medical Conditions

People with specific health problems like hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, or polycystic ovarian syndrome can find it hard to lose weight with Wegovy. People with these health problems may have to use a lower dose of Wegovy or be unable to take Wegovy. People struggling with obesity suffer from cardiovascular risk factors and other weight-related medical problems. Weight-related medical problem includes high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Psychological and Emotional Factors

Weight loss is a psychological and emotional journey. Obesity and weight gain impact the way you feel about yourself. Mental and emotional health has to be taken care of to lose weight effectively. Starting Wegovy is a weight management process. Manage stress by using a stress ball, deep breathing, mindfulness, yoga, and meditation to manage anxiety, identify your triggers, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Practicing self-compassion and accepting you are doing the best you can is as important as being on weight loss drugs.

Discussing Expectations and Realistic Goals

Losing weight on Wegovy is a gradual process. Most studies and clinical trials took 68 weeks. Setting unrealistic expectations and goals can frustrate you when it seems you are not getting the expected results. Your weight loss journey should be approached with a step-by-step mindset and sustainable lifestyle modifications like exercises and eating right. Some people need chronic weight management and will need to have a support system for emotional support and accountability. Do not put yourself under undue pressure. Eat regular meals and healthy snacks, and don't starve. This also helps prevent emotional eating. Use weight loss medication as prescribed.

Consultation with Healthcare Providers

Talk to your doctor when starting Wegovy if you are taking any other medications, including high blood pressure medications, diabetes medications, or blood thinners.

Inform your doctor of all the medications you are on. They can let you know how your weight loss medications interact with any other drug you are on.

You should also talk to your doctor if you are not meeting your realistic weight loss goal.

Possible Adjustments and Alternatives

If you and your primary care provider have tried and have not gotten the desired results from taking Wegovy, you may start considering a new drug treatment. A very effective alternative drug slightly different from Wegovy is called Mounjaro(tirzepatide). Mounjaro is not yet FDA-approved for weight loss, though they plan to be. Tirzepatide acts on a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, a hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar and appetite. Health providers prescribe it off-label for weight loss purposes since it is effective. Over half of the study participants lost 20% or more of their weight with the highest dose of Mounjaro. If FDA approves, it may become a go-to option for weight loss.

There are other weight loss medications, but Mounjaro is the most effective. If Wegovy is not giving you the details, find out from your health provider if Mounjaro is right.

You can also make other sustainable lifestyle changes to help your Wegovy work. Weight loss is gradual; stress and insufficient sleep can lead to overeating. Stress causes increased cortisol levels that can make you retain weight. Stress reduces your energy to exercise and eat well. Fatigue increases your stress levels. Make sure you get enough sleep. Increased physical activity can help you manage your weight. Drinking too much alcohol can affect your metabolism, trigger cravings, and contribute to weight gain.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Wegovy

Wegovy is a weight loss management method. It is a process; most weight loss efforts are long-term. If you stop using Wegovy, you will regain some of the lost weight; the same thing will happen with other methods used for losing weight.

Obesity is a disease that requires medication to control. Someone with insulin-dependent diabetes must take their medication every day. If you have to stop using Wegovy, make sure you replace it with another weight loss medication that works like Wegovy.

Conclusion

Wegovy is a weight loss maintenance drug that has helped many people lose weight. It is effective if you don't have underlying health problems that may affect the use of the medication. It also works better when you incorporate sustainable life modification. Skipping doses, little physical activity, and an unhealthy diet can affect your weight loss efforts. Weight loss is not the same for everyone. Various factors influence individual outcomes. It can be slow or fast. It requires patience and consistency or even seeking other alternatives.

Increased physical activity, reduced food intake, and enough sleep can help you meet your weight loss goals.

Sources

To ensure that we give you correct, accurate, and relevant information, all articles on Diabetic & Me are backed by verified information from academic research papers, well-known organizations, research institutions, and medical associations.

  1. MDPI Clinical Recommendations to Manage Gastrointestinal Adverse Events in Patients Treated with Glp-1 Receptor Agonists: A Multidisciplinary Expert Consensus

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville, and I am the founder of Diabetic Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996, I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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