Wegovy shortage: 5 Wegovy alternatives

If you’ve been considering Wegovy for weight loss, you may wonder how you can obtain the medication, especially when there is a shortage of Wegovy. You can discuss alternative options with your healthcare provider and also inquire about suggestions for individuals who are already on the medication.

When individuals with overweight or obesity begin using Wegovy, they typically experience an average weight loss of approximately 15% of their total body weight within a period of eighteen months. Wegovy, a prescription injectable medication, is known to be highly efficient in promoting weight loss when used in conjunction with regular exercise and a calorie-restricted diet.

Taking Wegovy, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, can result in weight loss and a quicker feeling of fullness. It works by slowing digestion, which leads to the rapid emptying of your stomach and may even change your appetite for certain foods, as suggested by some research. Wegovy mimics GLP-1, a naturally found hormone, and sends signals to your brain when you are full.

Wegovy may be prescribed for individuals with conditions like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia, including weight-related health issues, as well as those who are overweight (with a BMI of 27 or above) or individuals with obesity (with a BMI of 30 or above).

Every week, the highest amount of 2.4 mg is attained until you escalate the dose every four weeks. Health practitioners usually prescribe a lower 0.25 milligram (mg) amount of Wegovy once per week. You administer a solitary dosage of the medication, which is present in each pen of Wegovy, once weekly subcutaneously in your abdomen, thigh, or upper arm.

Wegovy, during the initial stages of treatment with Wegovy, may have a higher occurrence rate and are the most prevalent adverse reactions associated with Wegovy, such as queasiness, retching, and loose stools. Individuals who have kidney or gallbladder issues, pancreatitis, or type 2 diabetes, including those affected by these conditions, might have a higher likelihood of experiencing side effects while utilizing Wegovy. Individuals with a personal or family medical history of thyroid cancer should refrain from taking Wegovy, although it is not suitable for everyone. The majority of individuals, although not applicable to everyone, tolerate and use Wegovy without any adverse effects.

Is there a Wegovy shortage?

Currently, there is a shortage of the 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, and 1 mg strengths of Wegovy. However, the 1.7 mg and 2.4 mg strengths are not experiencing any supply disruptions. The makers of Wegovy, Novo Nordisk, have warned that the shortage is expected to continue until the end of the summer due to high demand surpassing the available supply. They are taking steps to increase production. The shortage of Wegovy was initially announced by Novo Nordisk in early May and is projected to persist until September 2023.

People who are considering starting Wegovy may have a tougher time beginning treatment at the prescribed initial dosage strengths due to the shortage. What does this mean for you?

To ensure safety, Novo Nordisk suggests reaching out to your pharmacy for a prescription renewal at least 1-2 weeks prior to your usual schedule. In order to avoid any potential issues with obtaining their medication, individuals who have been using Wegovy might have already raised their dosage to either 1.7 mg or 2.4 mg.

Irrespective of your situation, it could be advisable to contact your medical practitioner to talk about the possible consequences of the Wegovy scarcity on you.

Wegovy alternatives

There are several alternative medications that you can take instead of Wegovy, including other FDA-approved drugs for type 2 diabetes and appetite suppressants that may be prescribed off-label for weight loss, as well as other GLP-1 drugs for type 2 diabetes.

1. Saxenda (liraglutide)

Wegovy is administered on a weekly basis, while Saxenda is taken daily. Both of these medications have comparable gastrointestinal adverse effects and operate in a similar manner since Saxenda (liraglutide) is also a GLP-1 receptor agonist, similar to Wegovy.

Wegovy, which is used less often than Saxenda, has fewer side effects and can help people lose a significant amount of weight, about 5% to 7.5% of their body weight in the first year. In large-scale randomized controlled trials, people who took the highest dose of Wegovy (4.2 mg) consistently outperformed those taking the highest dose of Saxenda (3.0 mg) when it came to weight loss. In fact, those taking Wegovy lost twice as much weight as those taking Saxenda.

People who take Victoza typically experience a decrease of approximately 2% in their body weight within a year. While Victoza is primarily approved by the FDA to address type 2 diabetes, it may also be prescribed off-label for weight loss purposes. Victoza is essentially a marketed form of liraglutide, albeit with a lower dosage, which is the active component found in Saxenda.

2. Other GLP-1 medications

Alternatives encompass additional GLP-1 drugs, like Ozempic, which is recommended for type 2 diabetes and prescribed in marginally reduced quantities in contrast to Wegovy. These drugs, including Saxenda and Wegovy, are sanctioned by the FDA for shedding pounds, but other GLP-1 medications can also lead to weight reduction and might be prescribed off-label for this intention.

  • Mounjaro’s highest doses of Tirzepatide produced more weight loss than the highest doses of Ozempic.

  • In clinical trials involving individuals with type 2 diabetes and obesity or overweight, the weight loss observed with dulaglutide is approximately half of that seen with semaglutide, even at lower doses. Trulicity, similar to Wegovy, is a once-weekly injectable medication.

  • Albiglutide, included in this compilation, leads to a certain degree of weight reduction, although not as much as the other GLP-1s. Tanzeum (albiglutide) is available in a prescribed pen that necessitates weekly self-injection, similar to numerous GLP-1 treatments.

  • 3. Qsymia (phentermine/topiramate)

    When initiating Qsymia, research indicates that individuals typically experience a reduction of approximately 5% in their overall body weight over a period of five months when combined with a low-calorie diet and physical activity. Phentermine/topiramate, a stimulant that aids in the process of shedding pounds, is utilized.

    Qsymia should not be taken by individuals who are pregnant or have glaucoma or thyroid conditions. Common side effects include dry mouth, constipation, insomnia, changes in taste, dizziness, and prickling or tingling sensations. It is not recommended to take it at night due to its energizing and stimulant effects. Qsymia is an oral medication that should be taken once a day in the morning, with or without food.

    Qsymia, a controlled substance listed under Schedule IV, contains phentermine, which is one of the primary ingredients. This implies that the drug carries the risk of dependence and abuse as well.

    4. Contrave (naltrexone/bupropion)

    According to a study, Contrave generates a slightly lower reduction in weight compared to Qsymia: 2.6% versus 3.6% of body weight within a span of three months. The medication is consumed orally twice daily. Contrave (naltrexone/bupropion) is an additional weight loss pill that has been approved by the FDA.

    The effects of Contrave may differ for each individual. However, potential side effects such as depression, upset stomach, dehydration, difficulty speaking, sleeplessness, lightheadedness, throwing up, migraines, difficulty passing stool, or feeling sick may be more problematic when taking Contrave compared to Qsymia.

    Individuals who have uncontrolled high blood pressure, epilepsy, loss of appetite, or binge eating disorder should avoid using Contrave. It is not advisable for individuals who are currently taking specific medications, in combination with opioids, or those who have recently stopped using substances such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or alcohol to use Contrave.

    5. Xenical (orlistat)

    Xenical (orlistat) is effective in aiding weight loss by decreasing the body’s fat absorption. Over time, individuals taking Orlistat can experience a weight loss of 5% or more of their body weight, with an average loss of approximately 2% within five months.

    Xenical, like many other weight loss medications, can cause several gastrointestinal side effects including uncontrollable or frequent bowel movements, greasy or loose stool, and oily flatulence (sometimes accompanied by diarrhea and spotting). Therefore, individuals who are breastfeeding, pregnant, using certain medications, or have certain health conditions should not take Xenical.

    Similar to Qsymia and Contrave, Xenical is an oral drug. It is consumed thrice daily, along with a meal.

    If you have any concerns about the possible impact of the Wegovy shortage on your ability to obtain the medication, it is advisable to get in touch with your healthcare provider. Inquire about the various options available to you and discuss the suitability of alternative medications.