Is Wegovy the Miracle Weight Loss Solution?
The Western world is obsessed with finding the next “miracle” weight loss solution. Is semaglutide (Wegovy), the newest weight loss medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the answer?
The Complexity of Weight Loss
Weight and how we feel about our bodies are incredibly complex issues. With models and advertising media constantly reminding us that “thin is in,” it is no surprise that many men and women worldwide are searching for ways to slim down and lose excess fat.
Wanting to lose weight has become such a prolific desire worldwide that a recent study of people from 30 countries found that up to 45% of people report trying to lose weight at any given time.¹
Despite a seemingly universal interest in losing and controlling weight, obesity rates are at an all-time high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 42% of American adults aged 20 and over are diagnosed with obesity, which means having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater.²
Weight loss is a complicated and incredibly personal experience. As a health metric dramatically impacted by various factors, including genetics, place of living, lifestyle, and more, the idea of “simply losing weight” is often not so simple.
Because of this complexity, it is incredibly common for people to turn to quick-fix diets and “miracle” weight loss solutions to lose weight as fast as possible — even if these options are not the best fit for their needs.
But is Wegovy, the latest FDA-approved weight loss medication, a different story? Wegovy (or semaglutide) is a newly FDA-approved prescription weight loss medication. As the first weight loss drug accepted by the FDA since 2014, Wegovy officially hit the markets as a treatment option for chronic weight management in 2021.³
Wegovy is an injectable medication given weekly for people with an elevated BMI. In most cases, patients begin on a lower dose and then gradually, over multiple months, work their way up to the correct dosage. This is done to avoid complications and reduce the risk of experiencing unpleasant symptoms.
As a semaglutide medication, Wegovy is the first of a new generation of hormonal weight loss drugs. Capable of interacting with essential receptors within the gastrointestinal tract, semaglutide medications help a person lose weight by causing the following responses throughout the body:⁴
– Decreasing appetite and food cravings
– Increasing the feeling of fullness after a meal
– Decreasing the gastric emptying time
– Increasing insulin production and secretion
– Decreasing glucose release from the liver
– Increasing glucose uptake into the muscles
Clinical Trial Results
To become FDA-approved, medications must undergo extensive testing and clinical trials to prove their safety and efficacy. And while this process can take multiple years to complete, a large amount of research during this time offers valuable insights into possible side effects, uses, and complications of a particular drug.
As part of its FDA approval process, Wegovy was involved in four clinical trials, each of which lasted for 68 weeks (15 months) to complete. Throughout these studies, over 2600 participants received regular Wegovy dosages (and over 1600 people received a placebo), resulting in the following findings.⁵ ⁶
Participants lost significant weight from baseline
On average, throughout the 68-week trials, the participants who received Wegovy lost an average of 14.9% of their baseline body weight, compared to only a 2.4% loss in the control group.
Additionally, over 86% of participants who took Wegovy lost 5% of their baseline body mass during this trial, while only 31.5% of the control group met this same metric.
Participants had improved health metrics
Throughout the trial, participants who received weekly Wegovy experienced a reduction in cardiometabolic risk factors while also reporting improvements in their overall physical functioning and health. These findings were more significant in the Wegovy group compared to the placebo group, who, on average, lost less weight throughout the trial.
The average participant lost 33.7 lbs (13.7 kg)
While on Wegovy, the average person throughout this trial lost nearly 34 lbs over the 68-week period. Comparatively, the placebo control group lost an average of 5 lbs over the same period.
Not for Everyone
So, with these profound and seemingly mostly positive clinical findings, it can be easy to conclude that starting Wegovy is necessary for your health and weight loss journey. As it turns out, however, it isn’t a safe choice for everyone.
Depending on your unique medical and family history, Wegovy may