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Weight Loss

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How to get Wegovy for weight loss — from start to finish

Written by Patricia Weiser, PharmD

Published: May 20, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sheelu Bhatnagar

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Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent weight-related medical conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or even an early death. Keep reading to learn how Wegovy works, how much it costs, how to get prescribed Wegovy for weight loss, and if using Wegovy may be a good idea for you.

If you’re considering medications, like Wegovy, for weight loss, don’t wait to find a specialist. Connect with a weight loss provider on Klarity today and have an appointment in as little as 24 hours.

Find out if a prescription for Wegovy is right for you.

How to get Wegovy for weight loss

With the surge in media coverage about weight loss success, many people are curious about how to get Wegovy for weight loss. One of the first things to consider is determining if you qualify for Wegovy based on its approved uses.

Wegovy is U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved for weight loss and long-term weight maintenance in adults and children ages 12 and older with obesity. It’s also approved for weight loss and long-term weight maintenance in adults who are overweight and have at least one weight-related condition such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or high blood pressure among others. 

In March 2024, an additional indication was approved by the FDA. Wegovy is now approved to reduce the risk of a major cardiovascular event, such as heart attack or stroke, in obese or overweight adults with heart disease. 

For all uses, Wegovy should be used with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

How do you know if you qualify as overweight or obese? BMI is a measurement calculated using a person’s height and weight. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases cites being overweight as having a BMI of 25 to 29.9 and being obese as having a BMI greater than 30. 

Wegovy is a prescription medication, meaning that a licensed healthcare provider must prescribe it to you before you can use it — it isn’t available over the counter. Once you receive a prescription from a healthcare provider, you can fill it at a pharmacy. 

Use these tips to ask your provider for weight loss medication.

  • Book an appointment with your healthcare provider to talk to them about your weight loss goals
  • Share your medical history with your provider, including any conditions you have and medications you take 
  • Get lab work, if your provider needs it
  • Get a prescription for Wegovy — your provider will likely send the prescription right to your pharmacy of choice
  • Begin taking Wegovy according to your provider’s instructions
  • Increase your dosage according to the recommended dosing schedule your provider gives you
  • Follow up with your provider to discuss your progress and address concerns if they arise

Who can prescribe Wegovy for weight loss?

Now that we’ve covered how to get prescribed Wegovy for weight loss, we need to discuss who can prescribe it. The short answer is that Wegovy can be prescribed by any licensed healthcare provider (such as a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or physician associate) — as long as it’s in their scope of practice. For example, a dentist is a licensed healthcare provider. They can prescribe medications for dental health, but it’s not within their scope of practice to prescribe weight loss medications.

What does Wegovy cost?

So how much does Wegovy cost? And will insurance cover it? 

Wegovy isn’t cheap. According to drugs.com, the retail price for Wegovy is $1,430 for a 4-week supply.

It’s hard to say if insurance will cover the cost of Wegovy because each plan is different. Depending on your coverage and your insurance provider, your plan may cover Wegovy, or perhaps another weight loss medication in the same class. You can also pay out of pocket for Wegovy. 

Some insurance plans require prior authorization for Wegovy before they cover it. Prior authorization is a process your insurance company uses to make sure a medication or treatment is medically necessary. It typically requires extra documentation from you and your provider before your plan will cover some or all of the cost.

Where to find Wegovy

Wegovy can be filled at a local pharmacy or you can get Wegovy online from a mail-order pharmacy that ships it to you. With the growing popularity of Wegovy, there are national shortages of the medication and it may be hard for some pharmacies to keep their stock full. The FDA currently reports Wegovy shortages in the 0.25-, 0.5-, and 1-milligram strengths as of the date of publication.

Some pharmacies in the U.S. purchase the ingredients necessary to make semaglutide injections. This practice is known as compounding. It’s completely legal for licensed pharmacies to compound drugs, and the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) allows states to oversee and regulate them to ensure safety. Any pharmacy with a state license can legally compound medications, though not every pharmacy does it. 

There are different types of compounding pharmacies. 503A compounding pharmacies only compound for individual patients with valid prescriptions — not in bulk. A 503B pharmacy, on the other hand, can prepare compounded medications in bulk to supply a clinic or other healthcare facility. Pharmacies can also pursue accreditation by participating in specialized training, inspections, and additional standards for compounding pharmacies. If you’re looking to get compounded medications, consider limiting your search to accredited, U.S.-based pharmacies.  

Wegovy doses for weight loss and how to use it

Wegovy is available in 5 different doses — 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 1.7, and 2.4 milligrams. All strengths of the medication are weight loss injections given once weekly. Your provider will start you on the lowest dose (0.25 milligrams) and gradually increase your dose every 4 weeks until you reach your maximum tolerated dose, which is the highest you can take without having substantial side effects from the medication. This titration schedule reduces the risk of side effects, particularly upset stomach and other gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms associated with the use of Wegovy. 

The table below summarizes the Wegovy dosing schedule.

WeekDose
Weeks 1–40.25 mg once weekly
Weeks 5–8 0.5 mg once weekly
Weeks 9–121.0 mg once weekly
Weeks 13–161.7 mg once weekly 💉
Weeks 17+2.4 mg once weekly 💉
💉 potential maintenance dose

Wegovy doses are given as subcutaneous injections (just under the skin) ​​into the upper abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Your provider will show you how to do this. Be sure to rotate the injection site each week. Using the same spot repeatedly may cause skin lumps or pitting. Because Wegovy is injected once weekly, pick the day you’ll inject Wegovy and stick to it each week. If you need to change the day of the week to take Wegovy, you can switch the day as long as your last dose of Wegovy was given 2 or more days before.

If you miss a dose of Wegovy, take the missed dose as soon as possible within 2 days. But, if you miss a dose of Wegovy and your next scheduled dose is less than 2 days away, just skip the missed one and take the next regular dose. If you miss Wegovy for longer than 2 weeks (2 doses), consult a healthcare professional for advice.

How does Wegovy work for weight loss?

Wegovy belongs to a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. GLP-1 is a hormone naturally produced in your body that delays gastric emptying and increases insulin production to lower blood sugar after eating. GLP-1 agonists work by mimicking the effect of GLP-1 in the body to help you feel fuller quicker and longer. When you’re not as hungry, you’ll likely eat less which can lead to weight loss. When combined with increased exercise and a reduced-calorie diet, GLP-1 agonist medications, like Wegovy, are highly effective for weight loss.

How effective is Wegovy for weight loss?

With all of the hype surrounding Wegovy, you may wonder if it works. Fortunately, scientific evidence supports its effectiveness for weight loss.

A 2021 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine set out to determine if a 2.4 milligram once weekly dose of semaglutide (the active ingredient in Wegovy) could help people lose weight over the course of 68 weeks, alongside diet and exercise. This study split 1,961 participants into a placebo group and a group treated with Wegovy. Those in the Wegovy group lost an average of 14.9% of their body weight throughout the trial while those in the placebo lost only 2.4%. Those in the Wegovy groups also had greater improvement in cardiovascular risk factors (based on labs, blood pressure, and other health markers) than those in the placebo group.

The STEP 5 trial published in Nature in 2022 yielded similar results when studying the safety and efficacy of Wegovy. There were 304 obese or overweight participants randomly assigned to receive semaglutide or placebo for 104 weeks. In the semaglutide group, the average weight loss was 15.2% while the placebo group only lost an average of 2.6%. A weight loss reduction of 5% was more common in the semaglutide group. However, mild to moderate gastrointestinal side effects were also more common in the semaglutide group.

Side effects of Wegovy for weight loss

The side effects of Wegovy are mainly gastrointestinal symptoms. Common side effects listed in the FDA label include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), if used with insulin or certain diabetes medications
  • Gas
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Injection site reactions

Boxed warning, contraindications, and precautions for Wegovy for weight loss

Wegovy carries a boxed warning (the highest FDA warning) for those with a family or personal history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2. While these effects haven’t been seen in humans, they were seen in animal studies. 

There are other precautions to consider before taking Wegovy. Caution should be used if you have acute pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, hypoglycemia, acute kidney injury, diabetic retinopathy, rapid heart beat, and suicidal behavior or ideation. Consult your healthcare provider and be sure to disclose your entire medical history to ensure Wegovy is safe for you.

Key takeaways

Wegovy (semaglutide) is a weekly injectable medication that’s available by prescription. It’s FDA-approved for weight loss and long-term weight maintenance in adults and children 12 and older with obesity, as well as adults who are overweight with at least one weight-related condition. It’s also approved to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events in obese or overweight adults with heart disease. Wegovy is used alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Wegovy is given via weekly subcutaneous injections, gradually increasing in dose over time. It works to support weight loss by helping you feel full quicker and longer after you eat. Clinical studies show significant weight loss with Wegovy. Common side effects include gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, such as nausea and upset stomach. Caution is advised for certain medical conditions, with a boxed warning for the risk of thyroid tumors. 

The first step to get Wegovy is to schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider. If they think that the medication would benefit you, they can prescribe it for you. You can then fill your Wegovy prescription at a local or mail order pharmacy. 

With a retail price of $1,430 for a month’s supply, Wegovy is expensive, and insurance coverage varies. There are also ongoing shortages of Wegovy, so you may need to wait until it’s in stock. Another option to consider is compounded semaglutide. 

Talk to a provider about Wegovy for weight loss

If you’re interested in losing weight with Wegovy or another weight loss medication, set up an appointment to speak with a licensed healthcare professional. With Klarity, you can meet with a provider from the comfort of your own home to discuss getting a prescription for weight loss medication. Find a weight loss provider on Klarity today and have an appointment in as little as 24 hours.

FAQs about Wegovy for weight loss

How do I get a prescription for Wegovy?

To get a prescription for Wegovy, make an appointment with a healthcare provider and discuss your desire to lose weight. They’ll likely do a physical exam and may recommend lab tests to assess your overall health. Be sure to tell your provider about your medical history and any medications you’re taking. If your provider thinks you’ll benefit from Wegovy, they can give you a prescription for the medication or send the prescription to your preferred pharmacy. 

What are the requirements to qualify for Wegovy?

Wegovy is approved for weight loss and weight maintenance in adults and children ages 12 and older with obesity or in overweight adults with at least one weight-related condition such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure among others. Wegovy has a second indication for use as well — it’s approved to reduce the risk of experiencing a major cardiovascular event, including heart attack or stroke, in obese or overweight adults with heart disease. 

Will insurance cover Wegovy for weight loss?

It’s possible. Insurance coverage for Wegovy differs depending on your plan. Call the customer service line on the back of your insurance ID card and ask if your plan covers Wegovy. You may be required to submit a prior authorization request. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to navigate this process. 

What are the steps to get Wegovy prescribed for weight loss?

  1. Connect with a weight loss specialist. Your journey begins with a virtual or in-person appointment with a provider who specializes in weight management. The Klarity platform makes it easy to schedule that first, vital step.
  2. Personalized medication plan. After a comprehensive evaluation, your provider works with you to tailor a treatment plan that fits your specific weight loss needs, considering your health history, lifestyle, and weight loss goals.
  3. Begin your medical weight loss program. Once your weight management program is in place, your prescribed weight loss medication is sent to your preferred pharmacy, so you can start treatment as soon as possible.
  4. Follow up and adjust as needed. Keep your follow-up appointments, so your provider can monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your medication regimen.

How to get Wegovy for weight loss fast 

To get Wegovy for weight loss fast, set up an appointment with a weight loss provider on Klarity. You could have an appointment in as little as 24 hours.

How do I pay $25 on Wegovy?

It may be possible to get Wegovy at a discount with the Wegovy Savings Card program. You can check your eligibility on Novo Nordisk’s website. Additionally, Wegovy coupons are available on various prescription drug discount sites, such as GoodRx, Optum Perks, WellRx, SingleCareRx, and drugs.com, helping to make Wegovy more affordable.

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Adult Obesity Facts, May 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

Congress, H.R.3204 — 113th Congress (2013–2014), Nov. 2013, https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/3204

DailyMed, Ozempic-semaglutide injection, solution, Sept. 2023, https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=adec4fd2-6858-4c99-91d4-531f5f2a2d79&audience=consumer

DailyMed, Rybelsus- oral semaglutide tablet, Jan. 2024, https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=27f15fac-7d98-4114-a2ec-92494a91da98&audience=consumer

DailyMed, Wegovy-semaglutide injection, solution, Mar. 2024, https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=ee06186f-2aa3-4990-a760-757579d8f77b&audience=consumer

Drugs.com. Wegovy Prices, Coupons and Patient Assistance Programs, Apr. 2024, https://www.drugs.com/price-guide/wegovy 

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Overweight & Obesity Statistic, Sept. 2021, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity

Nature, Two-Year Effects Of Semaglutide In Adults With Overweight Or Obesity: The Step 5 Trial, Oct. 2022, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-02026-4

New England Journal of Medicine, Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity, Feb. 2021, https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2032183

Novo Nordisk. Wegovy Dosing Schedule, Apr. 2024, https://www.Wegovy.com/taking-Wegovy/dosing-schedule.html

StatPearls, Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists, Logan Collins, Ryan A. Costello. Jan. 2023, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551568/

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Approves First Treatment to Reduce Risk of Serious Heart Problems Specifically in Adults with Obesity or Overweight, Mar. 2024, https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-treatment-reduce-risk-serious-heart-problems-specifically-adults-obesity-or

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Drug Shortages, Apr. 2024, https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/drugshortages/dsp_ActiveIngredientDetails.cfm?AI=Semaglutide%20Injection&st=c 

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Section 503A of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Jun. 2018, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/human-drug-compounding/section-503a-federal-food-drug-and-cosmetic-act

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

How we reviewed this article: This article goes through rigorous fact-checking by a team of medical reviewers. Reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the author.

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