Wegovy (semaglutide) is a groundbreaking medication for chronic weight management in individuals aged 12 and above who struggle with obesity. Approved by the FDA in June 2021, this weight loss drug works by mimicking a hormone to regulate appetite and food intake.

Despite its effectiveness, understanding its potential side effects is essential for safe use. This article explores the common, less common, and serious side effects of Wegovy and provides strategies for managing them effectively.

Key Findings:

  • The most common side effects of Wegovy, seen in over 5% of patients, include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, dyspepsia, dizziness, abdominal distension, eructation, hypoglycemia (in type 2 diabetes patients), flatulence, gastroenteritis, GERD, and nasopharyngitis.
  • Adults more commonly experienced fatigue, abdominal distension, eructation, hypoglycemia, flatulence, and GERD. Nasopharyngitis was more prevalent in pediatric patients.
  • Gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are the most common and often occur during dose escalation. This led to treatment discontinuation in 4.3% of adults and 2.3% of pediatric patients.
  • Hair loss is likely linked to weight loss rather than Wegovy itself and typically resolves within six months.
  • Rare but serious side effects of Wegovy include thyroid C-cell tumors, acute pancreatitis, acute gallbladder disease, hypoglycemia in type 2 diabetes patients, diabetic retinopathy complications, suicidal behavior and ideation, acute kidney injury, increased heart rate, hypotension and syncope, appendicitis, and hypersensitivity reactions.
  • Strategies in managing Wegovy side effects include dietary adjustments, hydration, smaller meals, and using over-the-counter medications for symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and constipation. Regular monitoring and prompt management of severe symptoms are crucial.

What are the Side Effects of Wegovy?

A man with severe stomach pain and nausea sitting on the sofa

The clinical trials for Wegovy included people from different backgrounds and with various health issues. The patients were treated with a 2.4 mg dose of Wegovy for up to 68 weeks, followed by a 7-week off-drug follow-up period. This long duration allowed for a thorough assessment of both short-term and long-term side effects of Wegovy.

Most Common Side Effects of Wegovy

The most common adverse reactions, occurring in 5% or more of cases, in adults and pediatric patients include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain (includes various forms, such as upper and lower abdominal pain, gastrointestinal pain, tenderness, discomfort, and epigastric discomfort)
  • Headache
  • Fatigue, which can develop into a persistent lack of strength and energy
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal distension (bloating)
  • Eructation (belching or burping)
  • Hypoglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes
  • Flatulence (passing gas or “farting”)
  • Gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Nasopharyngitis

Fatigue, abdominal distension, eructation, hypoglycemia, flatulence, and gastroesophageal reflux disease were more prevalent among adults, whereas nasopharyngitis was more frequent in pediatric patients.

Gastrointestinal side effects are the most common side effects of Wegovy, especially during dose escalation. The most common GI reactions included nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Because of these issues, 4.3% of adult and 2.3% of pediatric patients discontinued Wegovy treatment.

Less Common Side Effects of Wegovy

Additional adverse reactions occurring in adults and pediatric patients, but less frequently, include:

  • Gastritis (includes chronic gastritis, gastritis erosive, and reflux gastritis)
  • Gastroenteritis viral
  • Hair loss
  • Sinusitis
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Ligament sprain
  • Anxiety
  • Cholelithiasis (gallstones)
  • Influenza
  • Rash
  • Urticaria (hives)
  • Injection site reactions, including pruritus (itching), erythema (redness), inflammation, induration (an area of hardened or firm tissue), and irritation
  • Dysgeusia (alteration in the sense of taste)

Among these, many are concerned about hair loss being a side effect of Wegovy. In clinical trials, 3% of adults and 4% of pediatric patients using Wegovy reported this side effect. However, it’s more likely linked to weight loss rather than the medication itself.

Similar patterns are observed after weight-loss surgeries. For instance, a 2021 study examined the incidence of hair loss in female patients who underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) for obesity. Results revealed that 72% of patients experienced hair loss, mostly occurring between the third and fourth month post-surgery and lasting for an average of 5.5 months.

Experts commonly refer to this condition as telogen effluvium. Despite its distressing nature, it’s reassuring to note that hair loss associated with weight loss is typically temporary. Usually, it resolves within six months as the body adapts to the weight loss.

Rare Side Effects of Wegovy

While these adverse reactions are rare, they are serious, and careful risk/benefit assessment of drug continuation should be performed. Promptly addressing any concerning symptoms related to these issues is vital for safe and effective treatment with Wegovy.

1. Risk of Thyroid C-Cell Tumors

Semaglutide has been linked to an increased risk of thyroid C-cell tumors in animal studies. It is unclear whether Wegovy increases this risk in humans, but caution is advised, particularly for patients with a history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

Cases of MTC have been reported in patients treated with liraglutide, another GLP-1 receptor agonist, during the postmarketing period. However, the available data are insufficient to establish or rule out a causal relationship between MTC and GLP-1 receptor agonist use in humans.

Symptoms suggestive of thyroid cancer may include:

  • persistent hoarseness
  • presence of a lump in the throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • shortness of breath

Monitoring for MTC involves regularly checking serum calcitonin levels or using thyroid ultrasound. While these methods can be helpful, they may also lead to unnecessary interventions due to the potential for false positives. A significantly high serum calcitonin level (above 50 ng/L) or the presence of thyroid nodules might suggest MTC and should be further examined.

2. Acute Pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis, a sudden inflammation of the pancreas, has been noted in patients using GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide. The pancreas is an organ behind the stomach that produces enzymes to aid digestion and hormones such as insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

In Wegovy trials, this occurred in 4 patients (0.2 cases per 100 patient-years) compared to 1 placebo-treated patient (less than 0.1 cases per 100 patient-years), with another case confirmed in a separate trial.

The link between past pancreatitis history and Wegovy use remains unclear, and prevention is not guaranteed. However, reducing alcohol intake can lower the risk. Symptoms of pancreatitis include:

  • severe abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • abdominal tenderness

Treatment involves hospitalization, potentially requiring surgery in more severe cases. Post-recovery, dietary changes, and alcohol avoidance may prevent recurrence.

3. Acute Gallbladder Disease

This refers to the sudden inflammation or other acute issues affecting the gallbladder, a small, pear-shaped organ located under the liver in the upper right of the abdomen. Its primary function is to store and concentrate bile, aiding in the digestion and absorption of fats. The most common form of acute gallbladder disease is acute cholecystitis, often caused by gallstones blocking the bile ducts, known as cholelithiasis.

Wegovy treatment has been linked to a higher occurrence of cholelithiasis and cholecystitis, particularly in pediatric patients, with rates of 3.8% and 0.8%, respectively, compared to 1.6% and 0.6% in adults. Symptoms of acute gallbladder disease include:

  • severe abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • abdominal tenderness

While rapid weight loss can heighten the risk of cholelithiasis, the incidence of acute gallbladder disease remained higher in Wegovy-treated patients compared to those receiving a placebo, even when considering the extent of weight loss.

Treatment typically involves hospitalization, with intravenous fluids, pain management, and antibiotics often administered. In severe cases, surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) may be necessary, usually performed laparoscopically for quicker recovery.

4. Hypoglycemia in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

Hypoglycemia, marked by dangerously low blood sugar levels, was reported in 6.2% of adult patients with type 2 diabetes treated with Wegovy during clinical trials, with one instance of severe hypoglycemia observed.

Combining Wegovy with insulin secretagogues or insulin may elevate the risk of hypoglycemia, including severe cases. Moreover, Wegovy (semaglutide 2.4 mg) showed a higher incidence of hypoglycemic episodes compared to semaglutide 1.0 mg.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • sweating
  • trembling
  • palpitations
  • hunger
  • irritability
  • confusion
  • loss of consciousness or seizures

Treatment typically involves consuming a rapid-acting glucose source, such as fruit juice or glucose tablets, to raise blood sugar levels swiftly. In severe cases where the individual is unconscious or unable to swallow, emergency medical intervention with intravenous glucose may be necessary.

5. Diabetic Retinopathy Complications in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. There are two main stages of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR): This is the early stage where the blood vessels in the retina weaken and develop tiny bulges, causing the retina to swell and form deposits.
  • Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR): This is the more advanced stage where the retina starts growing new blood vessels.

In a clinical trial involving overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes, 4% of patients treated with Wegovy reported diabetic retinopathy, while 0.7% reported non-proliferative retinopathy.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may include:

  • blurred or distorted vision
  • dark spots or floaters in your vision
  • difficulty seeing colors
  • sudden vision loss

Early detection and proper management of diabetes are vital to preventing and minimizing the effects of diabetic retinopathy.

6. Suicidal Behavior and Ideation

In clinical trials, some individuals taking Wegovy reported experiencing suicidal thoughts. The FDA investigated a possible heightened risk of suicidal thoughts linked to Wegovy. However, as of January 2024, they have not conclusively established a direct connection between Wegovy and suicidal thoughts, but investigations are ongoing. It’s important to be mindful of this potential side effect, especially for individuals with a history of mental health conditions like depression.

7. Acute Kidney Injury

Postmarketing reports indicate instances of acute kidney injury and worsening chronic renal failure in some patients treated with semaglutide, with a few requiring hemodialysis. While patients with renal impairment may face a higher risk, cases have also been reported in those without known renal issues.

Many of these events occurred in patients experiencing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, which are common side effects of Wegovy. These events can lead to dehydration, which, in severe cases, can impact kidney function. Dehydration reduces blood volume and pressure, impairing the kidneys’ ability to filter toxins effectively.

Symptoms of acute kidney injury can include:

  • decreased urine output
  • fluid retention
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • chest pain
  • high blood pressure

It’s important to monitor renal function when initiating or escalating Wegovy doses, particularly in patients reporting severe gastrointestinal reactions or those with renal impairment experiencing adverse reactions that could lead to fluid depletion.

8. Increased Heart Rate

In clinical trials, Wegovy-treated adult patients showed mean increases in resting heart rate of 1 to 4 beats per minute (bpm). Moreover, many of these patients experienced maximum changes in heart rate of 10 to 19 bpm and 20 bpm or more. Similar findings were observed in a trial involving pediatric patients.

While modest increases in heart rate may not be problematic for many individuals, they can pose risks for those with underlying heart conditions. Elevated heart rate may exacerbate existing heart issues or raise the likelihood of cardiovascular events.

Symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, or dizziness should prompt further evaluation, especially in individuals with pre-existing heart disease.

9. Hypotension and Syncope

Hypotension, also known as low blood pressure, occurs when the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is lower than normal. This can result in inadequate blood flow to the organs, which may lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting (syncope), blurred vision, nausea, and fatigue.

Adverse reactions related to low blood pressure were reported in 1.3% of adult patients treated with Wegovy. Similarly, syncope (fainting) was reported in 0.8% of Wegovy-treated patients. In pediatric patients, hypotension was reported in 2.3% of those treated with Wegovy.

Some of these reactions were linked to gastrointestinal issues and fluid loss associated with Wegovy. Moreover, hypotension and orthostatic hypotension (a sudden drop in blood pressure when standing up) were more common in patients also taking antihypertensive medications.

10. Appendicitis

Ten cases of appendicitis (including perforated appendicitis) were reported among adult patients treated with Wegovy, which represents 0.5% of the total number of Wegovy-treated patients.

Appendicitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix, a small pouch-like organ located at the junction of the small and large intestines in the lower right abdomen. In some cases, it can progress to perforation, where the appendix ruptures. This rupture can lead to serious complications such as infection of the abdominal cavity (peritonitis), which is known as perforated appendicitis.

The condition often presents with symptoms such as:

  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • abdominal swelling or tenderness

Appendicitis is considered a medical emergency and requires prompt treatment, usually in the form of surgical removal of the inflamed appendix (appendectomy). If left untreated, appendicitis can be life-threatening.

11. Hypersensitivity Reactions

Serious hypersensitivity reactions such as anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction) and angioedema (swelling beneath the skin) have been reported with the use of Wegovy.

In a pediatric clinical trial, skin-related reactions were observed, with rash reported in 3% of patients treated with Wegovy. Urticaria, characterized by raised, itchy welts on the skin, was also reported in 3% of Wegovy-treated patients. Similarly, allergic reactions were also noted in adult clinical trials.

Generalized symptoms of hypersensitivity reactions include swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat (angioedema), feeling faint or dizzy, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness.

12. Laboratory Abnormalities

Both adult and pediatric patients treated with Wegovy experienced increased levels of certain pancreatic enzymes, specifically amylase (by 15-16%) and lipase (by 39%), compared to their baseline levels. These changes were not observed in the placebo group, which suggests that they may be directly related to the use of Wegovy.

Pancreatitis is a potential concern associated with elevated levels of amylase and lipase, but these enzyme increases alone may not necessarily indicate pancreatitis without additional symptoms.

In a pediatric clinical trial, increases in another liver enzyme called alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were observed in 3% of Wegovy-treated patients, where levels were at least 5 times higher than the upper limit of normal. In some cases, elevations in ALT and another liver enzyme called aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were associated with other factors, such as gallstones.

Any significant changes in enzyme levels should prompt further evaluation to assess the potential underlying causes and determine appropriate management.

Having discussed the potential side effects of Wegovy, it’s now essential to explore strategies to mitigate these adverse reactions. By implementing proactive measures, you can effectively address and manage the side effects of Wegovy and optimize the therapeutic experience.

How Can I Reduce the Side Effects of Wegovy?

Doctor using stethoscope on elderly patient

Here are some strategies on how to manage the most common side effects of Wegovy:

1. Nausea and Vomiting

If you’re already feeling nauseous, you’re more likely to vomit, which can then lead to dehydration. Hence, it’s important to effectively manage nausea to prevent it from progressing to vomiting. To prevent nausea, consider the following strategies:

  • Eat small meals throughout the day rather than three large meals.
  • Take your time when eating.
  • Avoid foods that are difficult to digest.
  • Opt for cold or room-temperature foods, as hot foods may have smells that trigger nausea.
  • Eat when you feel less nauseated.

If you feel nauseated in the morning, try eating some crackers before getting out of bed or a high-protein snack (such as lean meat or cheese) before going to bed. Drink liquids between meals instead of during them, and aim for at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration.

At-home remedies for nausea include:

  • Drink ice-cold beverages.
  • Opt for light, bland foods (like saltine crackers or plain bread).
  • Steer clear of fried, greasy, or sugary foods.
  • Eat slowly and have smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Avoid mixing hot and cold foods.
  • Sip beverages slowly.
  • Refrain from physical activity after meals.
  • Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating.
  • Select foods from all food groups as tolerated to maintain adequate nutrition.

Additionally, practicing deep breathing exercises may help relieve nausea. Try inhaling to a count of three, holding your breath for three seconds, and then slowly exhaling to a count of three.

2. Diarrhea

Maintaining proper hydration is vital when experiencing diarrhea. Consuming low-fiber foods such as bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT diet) helps firm up stools and ease digestion. Other foods that are generally well-tolerated are:

  • oatmeal
  • boiled or baked potatoes (should be peeled)
  • baked chicken without the skin
  • chicken broth

Generally, it is advisable to avoid fried, greasy, and high-fiber foods, such as bran, and certain fruits and vegetables that can increase bloating. These include:

  • berries
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • coffee
  • corn
  • ice cream
  • green leafy vegetables
  • milk
  • peas
  • peppers

Under your doctor’s supervision, several over-the-counter medications, such as bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate) and loperamide (Imodium), can provide relief.

3. Constipation

Constipation is another gastrointestinal side effect that can result from dehydration. It refers to difficulty passing stools or infrequent bowel movements, often resulting in hard, dry stools. Here are general tips on managing constipation:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to help soften stools and promote bowel movements.
  • Increase your intake of dietary fiber to promote regular bowel movements.
  • Engage in regular physical activity to stimulate bowel function and improve digestive motility.
  • Try to establish a regular bowel movement routine.

4. Abdominal Pain

Here are some general tips on managing abdominal pain:

  • Keep a food diary to track your diet and identify triggers for abdominal pain.
  • Avoid spicy, fatty, dairy (if lactose intolerant), and high-fiber foods if you have digestive conditions like IBS.
  • Choose smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Manage stress with techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or regular exercise to reduce abdominal pain.
  • Use a heating pad or warm compress on your abdomen to relax muscles and ease discomfort.

Note that persistent abdominal pain, especially if radiating to the back and accompanied by vomiting, can be a sign of pancreatitis. If you experience these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately for evaluation and appropriate management.

5. Headache

Make sure you drink enough water during the day to stay hydrated, as dehydration can sometimes cause headaches. You can also try over-the-counter pain relievers, but talk to your healthcare provider first.

6. Fatigue

Managing fatigue while undergoing Wegovy treatment may involve several strategies:

  • Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Avoid excessive calorie restriction, as it may contribute to fatigue.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  • If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can impact energy levels.
  • Practice deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness to alleviate stress and fatigue.
  • While caffeine can provide a temporary energy boost, excessive consumption can lead to fatigue later in the day. Similarly, alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to fatigue.

If fatigue persists or worsens, consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation and support. Fatigue is a prevalent symptom among individuals with depression, characterized by constant tiredness and low energy levels, regardless of adequate sleep.

7. Abdominal Distension, Eructation, Flatulence, Gastroenteritis, and Dyspepsia

General tips on managing abdominal distension, eructation, flatulence, gastroenteritis, and dyspepsia include:

  • Limit intake of gas-producing foods like beans, lentils, cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower), onions, and carbonated beverages.
  • Instead of consuming large meals, opt for smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Take your time while eating and avoid rushing through meals.
  • Stay hydrated and opt for still water or herbal teas instead of carbonated beverages.
  • Incorporate probiotics found in foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing, especially around the waist, which can restrict airflow and contribute to abdominal discomfort and bloating.
  • Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

8. Dizziness

Monitoring your blood sugar levels closely is essential if you have diabetes, especially while taking Wegovy, as it can impact these levels and potentially lead to dizziness. To minimize dizziness, avoid sudden movements, and move slowly when transitioning from sitting or lying to standing to prevent feeling lightheaded. If you do experience dizziness, it’s best to lie down and rest until the sensation subsides. Additionally, refrain from engaging in activities that demand concentration or coordination until you feel better.

9. Hypoglycemia

Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, especially when starting Wegovy treatment or adjusting your dosage. Always have fast-acting glucose nearby. This could be glucose tablets, juice, or hard candy. Use these to raise your blood sugar levels quickly if hypoglycemia happens. You may also want to wear a medical alert bracelet.

10. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

GERD is a condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation. Symptoms can include heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and chest pain. Some people may also experience coughing, wheezing, or hoarseness.

Managing GERD symptoms while undergoing Wegovy treatment involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medication management, and potentially dietary adjustments. Here are some strategies you can try:

  • Avoid lying down or going to bed immediately after eating.
  • Elevate the head of your bed to reduce nighttime reflux.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on your abdomen.
  • Avoid trigger foods and drinks such as spicy, fatty, or acidic foods, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than large meals.
  • Quit smoking, as it can worsen GERD symptoms.
  • Consider keeping a food diary to identify specific foods that trigger your GERD symptoms, and then try to eliminate or reduce them from your diet.
  • Stress can exacerbate GERD symptoms, so relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga may help.
  • Regular physical activity can help manage weight and improve digestion, potentially reducing GERD symptoms.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help dilute stomach acid and prevent reflux.

Over-the-counter antacids like Tums, Maalox, or Mylanta can provide temporary relief from heartburn and acid reflux symptoms. Additionally, histamine-2 (H2) blockers like ranitidine (Zantac), famotidine (Pepcid), or cimetidine (Tagamet) can reduce stomach acid production and alleviate GERD symptoms.

Stronger acid-reducing medications, such as omeprazole (Prilosec), esomeprazole (Nexium), or lansoprazole (Prevacid), may also be prescribed if antacids and H2 blockers are not effective enough. Before taking any of these medications, consult your healthcare provider to ensure compatibility and safety.

If GERD symptoms persist or worsen, your healthcare provider may adjust your dosage or switch to an alternative medication such as Saxenda and Zepbound.

11. Nasopharyngitis

Nasopharyngitis, commonly known as the common cold, is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. It primarily affects the nose and throat, causing symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, coughing, mild body aches, and sometimes a low-grade fever.

Management for nasopharyngitis is usually focused on relieving symptoms and supporting the body’s immune response. This can include rest, staying hydrated, using over-the-counter medications like pain relievers and decongestants, and using remedies like saline nasal sprays or gargling with warm salt water to ease symptoms.

How Can I Reduce the Side Effects of Wegovy?

Here are some strategies on how to manage the most common side effects of Wegovy:

1. Nausea and Vomiting

If you’re already feeling nauseous, you’re more likely to vomit, which can then lead to dehydration. Hence, it’s important to effectively manage nausea to prevent it from progressing to vomiting. To prevent nausea, consider the following strategies:

  • Eat small meals throughout the day rather than three large meals.
  • Take your time when eating.
  • Avoid foods that are difficult to digest.
  • Opt for cold or room-temperature foods, as hot foods may have smells that trigger nausea.
  • Eat when you feel less nauseated.

If you feel nauseated in the morning, try eating some crackers before getting out of bed or a high-protein snack (such as lean meat or cheese) before going to bed. Drink liquids between meals instead of during them, and aim for at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration.

At-home remedies for nausea include:

  • Drink ice-cold beverages.
  • Opt for light, bland foods (like saltine crackers or plain bread).
  • Steer clear of fried, greasy, or sugary foods.
  • Eat slowly and have smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Avoid mixing hot and cold foods.
  • Sip beverages slowly.
  • Refrain from physical activity after meals.
  • Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating.
  • Select foods from all food groups as tolerated to maintain adequate nutrition.

Additionally, practicing deep breathing exercises may help relieve nausea. Try inhaling to a count of three, holding your breath for three seconds, and then slowly exhaling to a count of three.

2. Diarrhea

Maintaining proper hydration is vital when experiencing diarrhea. Consuming low-fiber foods such as bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT diet) helps firm up stools and ease digestion. Other foods that are generally well-tolerated are:

  • oatmeal
  • boiled or baked potatoes (should be peeled)
  • baked chicken without the skin
  • chicken broth

Generally, it is advisable to avoid fried, greasy, and high-fiber foods, such as bran, and certain fruits and vegetables that can increase bloating. These include:

  • berries
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • coffee
  • corn
  • ice cream
  • green leafy vegetables
  • milk
  • peas
  • peppers

Under your doctor’s supervision, several over-the-counter medications, such as bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate) and loperamide (Imodium), can provide relief.

3. Constipation

Constipation is another gastrointestinal side effect that can result from dehydration. It refers to difficulty passing stools or infrequent bowel movements, often resulting in hard, dry stools. Here are general tips on managing constipation:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to help soften stools and promote bowel movements.
  • Increase your intake of dietary fiber to promote regular bowel movements.
  • Engage in regular physical activity to stimulate bowel function and improve digestive motility.
  • Try to establish a regular bowel movement routine.

4. Abdominal Pain

Here are some general tips on managing abdominal pain:

  • Keep a food diary to track your diet and identify triggers for abdominal pain.
  • Avoid spicy, fatty, dairy (if lactose intolerant), and high-fiber foods if you have digestive conditions like IBS.
  • Choose smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Manage stress with techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or regular exercise to reduce abdominal pain.
  • Use a heating pad or warm compress on your abdomen to relax muscles and ease discomfort.

Note that persistent abdominal pain, especially if radiating to the back and accompanied by vomiting, can be a sign of pancreatitis. If you experience these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately for evaluation and appropriate management.

5. Headache

Make sure you drink enough water during the day to stay hydrated, as dehydration can sometimes cause headaches. You can also try over-the-counter pain relievers, but talk to your healthcare provider first.

6. Fatigue

Managing fatigue while undergoing Wegovy treatment may involve several strategies:

  • Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Avoid excessive calorie restriction, as it may contribute to fatigue.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  • If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can impact energy levels.
  • Practice deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness to alleviate stress and fatigue.
  • While caffeine can provide a temporary energy boost, excessive consumption can lead to fatigue later in the day. Similarly, alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to fatigue.

If fatigue persists or worsens, consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation and support. Fatigue is a prevalent symptom among individuals with depression, characterized by constant tiredness and low energy levels, regardless of adequate sleep.

7. Abdominal Distension, Eructation, Flatulence, Gastroenteritis, and Dyspepsia

General tips on managing abdominal distension, eructation, flatulence, gastroenteritis, and dyspepsia include:

  • Limit intake of gas-producing foods like beans, lentils, cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower), onions, and carbonated beverages.
  • Instead of consuming large meals, opt for smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Take your time while eating and avoid rushing through meals.
  • Stay hydrated and opt for still water or herbal teas instead of carbonated beverages.
  • Incorporate probiotics found in foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing, especially around the waist, which can restrict airflow and contribute to abdominal discomfort and bloating.
  • Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

8. Dizziness

Monitoring your blood sugar levels closely is essential if you have diabetes, especially while taking Wegovy, as it can impact these levels and potentially lead to dizziness. To minimize dizziness, avoid sudden movements, and move slowly when transitioning from sitting or lying to standing to prevent feeling lightheaded. If you do experience dizziness, it’s best to lie down and rest until the sensation subsides. Additionally, refrain from engaging in activities that demand concentration or coordination until you feel better.

9. Hypoglycemia

Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, especially when starting Wegovy treatment or adjusting your dosage. Always have fast-acting glucose nearby. This could be glucose tablets, juice, or hard candy. Use these to raise your blood sugar levels quickly if hypoglycemia happens. You may also want to wear a medical alert bracelet.

10. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

GERD is a condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation. Symptoms can include heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and chest pain. Some people may also experience coughing, wheezing, or hoarseness.

Managing GERD symptoms while undergoing Wegovy treatment involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medication management, and potentially dietary adjustments. Here are some strategies you can try:

  • Avoid lying down or going to bed immediately after eating.
  • Elevate the head of your bed to reduce nighttime reflux.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on your abdomen.
  • Avoid trigger foods and drinks such as spicy, fatty, or acidic foods, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than large meals.
  • Quit smoking, as it can worsen GERD symptoms.
  • Consider keeping a food diary to identify specific foods that trigger your GERD symptoms, and then try to eliminate or reduce them from your diet.
  • Stress can exacerbate GERD symptoms, so relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga may help.
  • Regular physical activity can help manage weight and improve digestion, potentially reducing GERD symptoms.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help dilute stomach acid and prevent reflux.

Over-the-counter antacids like Tums, Maalox, or Mylanta can provide temporary relief from heartburn and acid reflux symptoms. Additionally, histamine-2 (H2) blockers like ranitidine (Zantac), famotidine (Pepcid), or cimetidine (Tagamet) can reduce stomach acid production and alleviate GERD symptoms.

Stronger acid-reducing medications, such as omeprazole (Prilosec), esomeprazole (Nexium), or lansoprazole (Prevacid), may also be prescribed if antacids and H2 blockers are not effective enough. Before taking any of these medications, consult your healthcare provider to ensure compatibility and safety.

If GERD symptoms persist or worsen, your healthcare provider may adjust your dosage or switch to an alternative medication such as Saxenda and Zepbound.

11. Nasopharyngitis

Nasopharyngitis, commonly known as the common cold, is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. It primarily affects the nose and throat, causing symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, coughing, mild body aches, and sometimes a low-grade fever.

Management for nasopharyngitis is usually focused on relieving symptoms and supporting the body’s immune response. This can include rest, staying hydrated, using over-the-counter medications like pain relievers and decongestants, and using remedies like saline nasal sprays or gargling with warm salt water to ease symptoms.

Wrap-Up

Like any medication, Wegovy has potential side effects. These side effects can vary in severity, and while some are relatively mild and temporary, others can be more serious. Some of the more common side effects of Wegovy may include gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. These side effects often subside over time as the body adjusts to the medication.

On the other hand, individuals need to be aware of rarer but more serious side effects associated with Wegovy. These may include pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, kidney problems, and an increased risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. It’s important for individuals to understand the potential risks and to monitor for any signs or symptoms that may indicate a problem.

Certain individuals may be at higher risk of experiencing complications from Wegovy treatment. This includes those with a history of pancreatitis, diabetic retinopathy, renal impairment, or thyroid cancer, as well as individuals with a family history of these conditions.

Given the potential risks and benefits of Wegovy, individuals must have open and thorough discussions with their healthcare provider before starting the medication. This allows for a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s medical history, risk factors, and treatment goals to determine if Wegovy is the right choice and to monitor for any adverse effects during treatment.

? Related readings:

Explore more articles on Pharma Giant comparing Wegovy to other popular weight loss drugs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the side effects of Wegovy go away?

Yes, common side effects of Wegovy often subside over time, lasting a few days to weeks, as the body adjusts to the medication.

When do Wegovy side effects start?

The onset of side effects from Wegovy can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience side effects shortly after starting the medication, while others may not experience any side effects until later on in their treatment.

You might find it helpful to explore Reddit discussions where individuals share their experiences with Wegovy treatment, including any side effects they’ve encountered and when they began noticing them. These firsthand accounts offer valuable insights and perspectives that complement your understanding of the medication’s potential effects.

Is Wegovy safe?

As with any medication, there are potential risks and side effects associated with Wegovy, and its safety should be evaluated on an individual basis in consultation with a healthcare professional.

Who should not take Wegovy?

It is advisable to refrain from using Wegovy if you:

  • Have a personal or family history of thyroid cancer.
  • Have experienced severe reactions, such as swelling or breathing difficulties, to Wegovy or any of the inactive ingredients in this medication.
  • Have a history of suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding, as the risks to developing fetuses are not well understood.
  • Are planning to conceive within the next two months.

How long do the side effects of Wegovy last?

Side effects of Wegovy often subside over time, lasting only a few days to weeks, as the body adjusts to the medication.

Will Wegovy side effects worsen with alcohol consumption?

Drinking alcohol while on Wegovy treatment may exacerbate certain side effects of the medication. For instance, you might experience intensified headaches, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting. It’s important to be mindful of this potential interaction and consider moderating alcohol consumption while on Wegovy to help manage these side effects effectively.

Are the side effects of Wegovy 1.7 mg different from the side effects of Wegovy 2.4 mg?

In a study involving 401 overweight or obese patients, the safety of weekly injections of Wegovy 1.7 mg was examined over 68 weeks. The side effects observed were comparable to those seen with Wegovy 2.4 mg.

Who manufactures Wegovy?

Wegovy is produced by Novo Nordisk, a multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Denmark.

Where is Wegovy available?

To save on Wegovy, consider purchasing from Pharma Giant, a Canadian mail-order pharmacy. They offer up to 90% savings on prescription drugs such as Saxenda and Wegovy. New customers can use the coupon code FIRST10 for a 10% discount on their initial order. Moreover, Pharma Giant ensures prompt delivery within 3-5 business days and employs stringent measures to package temperature-sensitive medications securely.

How often is Wegovy taken?

Wegovy (semaglutide) is taken once weekly as a subcutaneous injection.

How much is Wegovy without insurance?

Wegovy has a list price of $1,349.02 per package.

What drugs can you not take with Wegovy?

Wegovy can interact with drugs like insulin, sulfonylureas, and meglitinides, potentially causing low blood sugar. It may also affect how oral medications are absorbed due to its mechanism of slowing gastric emptying. Combining Wegovy with other injectable and oral weight management medications like Saxenda, Zepbound, Contrave, and Qsymia is not recommended.

Can discontinuing Wegovy lead to withdrawal symptoms?

Discontinuing Wegovy or attempting self-tapering could result in withdrawal symptoms, including weight regain. Several Wegovy clinical trials monitored individuals’ post-medication cessation. In the STEP 1 trial, participants regained approximately two-thirds of the lost weight within a year after stopping Wegovy. Similarly, in the STEP 4 trial, those transitioning from Wegovy to a placebo injection regained nearly 7% of their body weight within 48 weeks.

How much weight can you lose on Wegovy?

In the STEP programs, which looked at how well Wegovy works and its safety, participants lost an average of 15.65 lbs to 37.04 lbs (across STEP 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Also, in these studies, between 68.8% and 88.7% of Wegovy-treated patients lost more than 5% of their body weight.

Sources

FDA. (2023). Highlights Of Prescribing Information of Wegovy. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2023/215256s007lbl.pdf

Novo Care. (NA). Wegovy Pricing Information. https://www.novocare.com/obesity/products/wegovy/let-us-help/explaining-list-price.html

McDermid, E. (2021, Feb). A quick guide to the STEP trials. Medicine Matters. https://diabetes.medicinematters.com/semaglutide/obesity/quick-guide-step-trials/18854832

Wilding et al. (2021). Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. New England Journal of Medicine/?the ?New England Journal of Medicine, 384(11), 989–1002. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmoa2032183

D. Rubino et al. (2021). Effect of Continued Weekly Subcutaneous Semaglutide vs Placebo on Weight Loss Maintenance in Adults With Overweight or Obesity. JAMA, 325(14), 1414. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2021.3224