[Photo Credit : Novo Nordisk via AP]

Wegovy, a weight-loss medication developed by the creators of Ozempic, is set to launch in Canada on Monday, May 2/2024.

Novo Nordisk’s new weekly injection is designed for individuals diagnosed with obesity, offering a potential solution for those struggling with weight management.

In addition to obesity, Wegovy can be prescribed to patients dealing with significant overweight issues and at least one accompanying medical condition such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, or obstructive sleep apnea.

The introduction of weight-loss drugs like Wegovy prompts a reevaluation of the diet industry, traditionally focused on reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity.

Health Canada granted approval to Wegovy in November 2021, following studies showcasing its efficacy in promoting weight loss compared to a placebo.

Despite sharing the same active ingredient, semaglutide, with Ozempic, Wegovy boasts a higher weekly dose at 2.4 milligrams, contrasting with the 1 milligram in a single Ozempic dose.

Dr. Ehud Ur, an endocrinologist, notes that while Wegovy targets separate markets for obesity and diabetes, the conditions are closely interconnected.

The approval process for Wegovy was prolonged due to supply shortages of Ozempic, which is primarily indicated for Type 2 diabetes but often prescribed off-label for weight loss.

Wegovy’s mechanism involves mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), promoting insulin production and suppressing appetite.

Clinical trials affirm Wegovy’s safety and efficacy in weight loss, with positive impacts on related conditions such as cardiovascular health.

Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam of Obesity Canada emphasizes obesity as a medical condition, underscoring Wegovy’s significance as a treatment option.

Wegovy’s arrival prompts updates to medication guidelines by Obesity Canada, advocating its use alongside physical activity and dietary adjustments.

Prescribers are urged to exercise caution in selecting candidates for Wegovy, ensuring alignment with specific criteria and medical necessity.

Priti Chawla, executive director of Obesity Matters, views Wegovy’s launch as a pivotal moment, signaling greater recognition of obesity as a serious health concern requiring comprehensive solutions.

However, concerns regarding equitable access arise due to Wegovy’s high cost, potentially limiting accessibility for socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals.

Insurance coverage for Wegovy varies, necessitating clarity from insurance providers regarding coverage policies.

Common side effects of Wegovy include gastrointestinal issues like nausea and diarrhea, typically mitigated by gradual dosage adjustments.

While semaglutide has been associated with thyroid tumors in animal studies, there’s no evidence suggesting a similar risk in humans taking Ozempic or Wegovy.

Overall, the introduction of Wegovy offers a promising avenue for addressing obesity and related health conditions, though careful consideration is warranted in its prescription and usage. Always speak with your health provider to follow a treatment plan that’s best for you.


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