Wegovy: A New Hope for Diabetes and Weight Management
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A diabetes diagnosis might not be life-threatening, but it is life-changing. From constant checkups to a complete overhaul of your exercise routine, living with diabetes can be stressful.
You might constantly struggle with administering your daily insulin dose, all while keeping up with your dietary and lifestyle adjustments. Wegovy meets the need for convenience in managing diabetes without sacrificing on the level of efficacy.
Wegovy (the only FDA-approved version of semaglutide for weight loss) has had groundbreaking effects in managing diabetes and as a weight loss medication. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Wegovy to make an informed decision.
Wegovy, pharmaceutically known as semaglutide, is one of the multiple prescription drugs available on the market to treat diabetes.
Launched in 2021 by Novo Nordisk, semaglutide was initially explored as an alternative treatment option in managing Type 2 diabetes.
However, during the clinical trials, there were obvious signs that the drug positively influenced the participants’ attempts to lose weight. This led to more research on its effects on body weight and its potential as a weight loss drug.
Wegovy achieved profound success in both managing blood sugar levels and excess weight. Consequently, Wegovy soon got approval from several managing bodies, including the American Food and Drug Administration, and was well on its way to joining other prescription drugs administered by healthcare professionals.
Glucose levels in the body are under tight regulation by several hormones, the most important being insulin and glucagon. In diabetes, Insulin function is either impaired or absent resulting in hyperglycemia (elevated glucose levels).
Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy, acts on glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptors as an agonist. This overall effect is the receptor activation that triggers downstream effects that reduce circulating sugar levels.
The GLP-1 receptor acts on cells in your pancreas (beta cells) to secrete insulin that helps to reduce blood sugar. Activation of the receptor also inhibits glucagon release, preventing blood sugar elevation.
The effect of Wegovy makes it an ideal candidate for achieving low blood sugar in medical conditions such as diabetes. Wegovy should not be used as a substitute for physical activity.
As weight loss medication, the actions of semaglutide are expressed principally in the brain.
GLP-1 receptors in the central nervous system are important modulators of hunger, satiety, and thirst. Wegovy helps you lose weight by limiting the intensity of hunger pangs while initiating a feeling of satiety earlier than normal.
Known as the master gland of the human body, the hypothalamus is a region in the brain that is sensitive to circulating levels of substances in blood.
GLP produced in your gut after a meal is transported in blood to the brain to complete the negative feedback loop that inhibits your appetite causing the feeling of fullness that stops you from eating further. Activation of GLP-1 receptors in the hypothalamus by Wegovy has the same effect.
Wegovy inhibits hunger while upregulating satiety. In your gut, Wegovy causes delayed emptying of the contents of your stomach after meals, ensuring you remain full between meals.
Why should you choose Wegovy? The answer lies in the health benefits.
Below are some of the benefits of Wegovy:
Excessive weight is associated with several health problems, from high cholesterol that predisposes you to heart attacks to kidney problems and even gallbladder problems. Losing weight helps you avoid downstream health complications.
Wegovy can help you lose weight permanently, with a reduced risk of other adverse conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, kidney issues, neuropathy, as well as delayed wound healing.
Circulating glucose has high osmotic potential, which means you might develop hypertension during your life. Wegovy is known to lower blood pressure, among the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease.
High blood pressure also poses an increased risk of stroke and vasculitis, both of which can be fatal.
While there might not be a substitute for exercise and a regulated diet for weight loss, weight loss medications are beneficial in mediating the metabolic processes that increase the total body weight.
Wegovy helps you reach your weight loss goals, positively impacting your self-esteem and mental well-being, which has ripple effects, including heart benefits and reduced gastrointestinal disorders.
Your healthcare professional will determine the maximum dose of Wegovy, but for most patients, a once-weekly dose is enough to achieve therapeutic benefits.
This has the net effect of improving adherence rates among patients compared to others.
From the onset of diabetes, patients have been known to experience a feeling of pins and needles (associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy that is more pronounced in hands and feet), impaired wound healing and ulcerations, retinopathy, atherosclerosis and other conditions.
Routine use of Wegovy and other medications frees you from the effects of diabetes, letting you lead a healthy and normal life.
Other benefits of Wegovy use include:
Despite being approved by the FDA’s center for drug evaluation and research, Wegovy still has some adverse side effects, most of which are associated with underlying illnesses. When seeking medical help from your healthcare provider, you should provide them with your medical history so they can advise you accordingly.
The side effects of Wegovy range from mild to severe and, in some rare cases, can even be fatal. It is, therefore, critical to perform an in-depth drug evaluation before starting treatment with semaglutide.
Some of the significant side effects of Wegovy include
Animal trials allude to the potential of developing thyroid C-cell tumors with prolonged use of Wegovy. Medullary thyroid cancers are mostly benign, but there is a risk of malignancy.
No case has been reported in humans, and the effects of the drug on human cancer cells haven’t been sufficiently studied.
For patients who have existing gallstones or have had gallstones in the past, Wegovy might cause recurrence or worsen the existing condition.
It has also been implicated in rare cases as the chief trigger in the onset of gallstones and other biliary tree complications.
Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) rarely results from Wegovy, except in some patients who may develop immune responses against the activated GLP-1 receptors.
The inflammation manifests as pain in the abdomen radiating to the back and may be associated with nausea and vomiting. Watch out for changes in your respiratory rate and urine consistency for early pancreatitis detection.
Pancreatitis may quickly progress from mild to severe and thus should be monitored accordingly when negative effects of Wegovy are suspected.
Pregnant and lactating mothers should steer clear from Wegovy use as it remains unclear whether or not the drug can cross the placenta during pregnancy or be passed in breast milk during breastfeeding. The side effects of Wegovy on infants are unknown.
In addition to the rare complications highlighted above, there are other more common side effects of using Wegovy for weight management or diabetic therapy. These include:
These symptoms usually begin at the onset of treatment but reduce in intensity or disappear entirely as treatment progresses. You must discuss any complications that may arise during the use of Wegovy with your healthcare provider.
Wegovy interacts differently with different drugs, diseases, and physiological conditions. You must do a drug evaluation with your physician to assess the risks you incur by choosing to use Wegovy for weight loss.
Diabetes medications are known to be a double-edged sword, some of which come with adverse effects.
Due to the metabolic activity of the drug, some patients are advised against using Wegovy. Ultimately, your doctor will determine whether or not you are eligible to use the drug, but individuals with the following conditions should avoid Wegovy:
Wegovy differs slightly from other drugs that utilize the GLP-1 receptor as their target. Other drugs in the same class include:
Administered once weekly, like Wegovy, Bydureon has a similar efficacy and dosage. However, Wegovy shows a more significant weight reduction during clinical trials when compared to Bydureon.
This disparity increases in managing hyperglycemia since Wegovy is far superior.
Ozempic and Wegovy share the exact dosage and utilize the same active ingredient (semaglutide). At higher doses, however, Wegovy has more pronounced therapeutic effects than its counterpart.
Wegovy is an incredibly effective drug that continues to promote the health and well-being of patients with diabetes or obesity and is a welcome weapon in the arsenal of physicians when combatting weight-related complications.
The decision on whether or not to use Wegovy should be determined by thorough research and a qualified physician's advice. You should maintain physical activity and follow dietary recommendations when using Wegovy for the best results.