What is Wegovy?

Wegovy (semaglutide) is also a weight loss medication from Novo Nordisk, but there are some key differences between the two. Wegovy was originally created to help treat type 2 diabetes, but clinical trials revealed that patients also presented having lost weight. Seeing the opportunity, Novo managed to get their diabetes medication licensed for weight loss in the US in 2021.

Wegovy works in a similar way to Saxenda – both are GLP-1 receptor agonists, meaning they regulate appetite by making you feel fuller for longer and slow digestion.

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Saxenda vs Wegovy

 

Both Saxenda and Wegovy are injectable weight management medications. They contain similar active ingredients, but there are some differences. The active ingredient in Saxenda is liraglutide, and Wegovy contains semaglutide instead. 

 

These medications help you to lose weight by reducing the rate at which your stomach empties. This helps you to feel more full and reduces your appetite. When your appetite is reduced, you should find it easier to lose weight. 

 

As both Wegovy and Saxenda work in a similar way, they also have similar associated side effects. Side effects can include gallbladder problems, digestive changes, nausea, vomiting and low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). It has been reported that patients experience fewer side effects on Wegovy than Saxenda, which may be attributed to differences in the dosing schedule.

 

The key difference between Saxenda and Wegovy is that Saxenda is injected daily, whereas Wegovy is a weekly injection. A weekly injection may be more convenient for some people, but if you struggle to keep track of your medication, you may prefer a daily injection to help you get into the habit of taking your treatment. People who experience side effects may prefer a weekly injection.

 

Why Switch From Saxenda to Wegovy?

 

There are many reasons why someone may want to switch medication, including reducing side effects, improving results and a more convenient dosing schedule. 

 

Wegovy is a once-weekly injection, whereas Saxenda is injected every day – this may make it more convenient to take Wegovy. However, it can make it harder for some people to remember to take their medication at the same time each week, rather than daily.

 

The once-weekly injection may also help to reduce side effects; however, if you experience side effects shortly after taking the medication, those side effects could be more severe on Wegovy as you take a higher dose of medicine in one go. 

 

There are currently no clinical trials that directly compare the body weight loss outcomes between Saxenda and Wegovy, however, Wegovy is thought to deliver better long term weight loss than Saxenda.

 

Most importantly, the manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, aims to phase Saxenda out of production, to be replaced entirely with Wegovy. This means that current Saxenda patients should be prepared to make the switch, if they wish to continue with this treatment long-term. 

 

While Saxenda production has been lowered in recent months, there is still some being produced; however, this is mostly to allow existing patients to continue their treatment until Wegovy is widely available.

 

How to Switch From Saxenda to Wegovy

 

Always speak to your doctor first before attempting to stop or switch medication. Simple Online Pharmacy recommends a one-week break between stopping Saxenda and starting Wegovy.

 

How to Stop Taking Saxenda

 

There is currently no official guidance on exactly how to stop taking Saxenda. Your doctor may recommend that you stop straight away, or that you reduce your dose more slowly. Saxenda is not associated with withdrawal effects, but some patients may be advised to reduce their dose slowly to avoid side effects, especially in relation to their blood sugar levels. If you need to reduce your dose gradually, your doctor will help you to devise a schedule for this. It is likely that you will decrease your dose from 3.0mg per day to zero over several weeks.

 

How to Start Wegovy

 

Similarly to Saxenda, you also start Wegovy on a low dose and build up to the daily maintenance dose. You will start taking Wegovy at a dose of 0.25mg. You will continue this dose for 4 weeks, then you increase the dose to 0.5mg. The dose increases every 4 weeks until week 17 gradually increasing to the maximum dose of 2.4mg. If all is going well, you will continue to take this 2.4 mg dose for the rest of your treatment period. If you experience particularly challenging side effects, your doctor may advise you to reduce your dose.

 

Summary

 

 

    • Saxenda is a daily injection, whereas Wegovy is only injected once a week

 

    • Both Saxenda and Wegovy work best in conjunction with diet and exercise

 

    • Wegovy is considered to have fewer side effects than Saxenda

 

    • Clinical studies suggest Wegovy may have better weight loss outcomes than Saxenda, but there are not enough trials active to say for certain.

 

    • The manufacturer plans to phase Saxenda out of production in favour of Wegovy
      Speak to your doctor for advice if you want to switch from Saxenda to Wegovy.