Wegovy is a once-weekly injectable medication that can help people lose weight.
It has also been shown to help people manage their blood sugar levels and decrease their HbA1c.
There are five different dosages of Wegovy available. The dose you take depends on your health history and health goals, as well as your diet and lifestyle.
Figuring out how much Wegovy to take can take time. It should always be a decision made with your doctor or medical care team.
This article will describe everything you need to know about Wegovy dosing.
What is Wegovy?
Wegovy comes in an auto-injector pen which is designed to be easy to use, even for people who have never used an insulin pen or other injectable drug in the past.
Wegovy is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring hormone that works in the body in several ways at once.
It helps people reduce the amount of food they eat by decreasing their appetite and by slowing down the digestive process.
By delaying the emptying of food from your stomach into your small intestine, it helps you to keep feeling full for longer after each meal.
Wegovy also stimulates the pancreas to release insulin and slows down your liver’s production of glucagon.
What Wegovy dose do you typically start with?
Your doctor will want to start you off on a low dose if you’re new to Wegovy.
Starting with a low dose is a good way to minimize the side effects that Wegovy—and other semaglutide medications—may cause.
According to the manufacturer, a typical starting dose is 0.25 milligrams (mg) once per week for the first four weeks.
If you tolerate that dose well without side effects, your doctor is likely to increase your dose over time.
What are the different Wegovy pen doses?
Even though the pens may look similar, there are five different dose-sized Wegovy pens:
- A pen that contains a 0.25 mg dose is for the beginning of treatment. These pens usually have a teal label.
- A pen that contains a 0.50 mg dose. These pens usually have a pink label.
- A pen that contains a 1 mg dose. These pens usually have a brown or orange label.
- A pen that contains a 1.7 mg dose. These pens usually have a blue label.
- A pen that contains a 2.4 mg dose. These pens usually have a dark gray label.
Each pen operates the same as the others. The only difference between them is the different pre-measured dosing sizes. Each pen is designed to give only a single weekly dose.
It’s a good idea to make sure that the packaging and the pen are both clearly labeled with the dose option in mg that you were prescribed.
Pen colors or labels may change over time, so it’s important to verify that the dose is correctly listed.
Never take more Wegovy than you are prescribed by your doctor. If you overdose on Wegovy, you may experience adverse side effects.
What is a normal Wegovy dose?
It’s tough to say what a “normal” dose is.
Different people will tolerate a different maximum dose of Wegovy without side effects.
The FDA’s approval is for patients to start with a low dose of 0.25 mg per week and gradually escalate over time up to the maximum dose of 2.4 mg per week.
The 2.4 mg pen is the dose specifically designed for long-term maintenance. It is the dose that many people will arrive at during Wegovy therapy.
How and when can you increase your dose?
Your doctor or medical care team will help guide you through the gradual increases in your dose of Wegovy until you reach a maintenance level that works for you long-term.
If you’ve never taken a semaglutide medication in the past, it is very likely that your doctor will start you off at a dose of 0.25 mg once weekly for the first 4 weeks.
Then, in 4-week intervals, your dose will be slowly increased until a dose of 2.4 mg is reached.
A typical schedule looks like this:
- Weeks 1-4: a starting dose of 0.25 mg
- Weeks 5-8: a dose of 0.5 mg
- Weeks 9-12: a dose of 1.0 mg
- Weeks 13-16: a dose of 1.7 mg
- Week 17+: a maintenance dose of 2.4 mg
However, this typical schedule for increasing doses may need to be adjusted by your doctor.
If you are having side effects like persistent nausea after increasing your dose, you might need to continue taking your previous (lower) dose for several more weeks before trying to increase to the next dose.
The FDA’s approval is for all patients to eventually arrive at the 2.4 mg dose.
However, some people who experience side effects at that dose are kept at a lower amount by their doctors, even beyond the four-week timeline that the approval calls for.
It’s important to keep your doctor informed of any symptoms you’re experiencing so that they can help update your prescription and dose accordingly.
You should never take more Wegovy than your doctor prescribes you or try to increase your dose on your own without direction from your medical care team.
What do I do if I forget to take my dose of Wegovy?
If you miss a dose of Wegovy, take it as soon as possible within 5 days of your missed dose.
However, if the dose you missed should have been taken 5 days or more ago, then you need to skip that dose.
If that happens—meaning you’d normally take your next dose within two days—then don’t try to make up for the dose you missed.
Just take the medication on your next regularly scheduled day.
What is the largest dose of Wegovy?
The largest weekly dose of Wegovy comes in the 2.4-milligram dose pen. This pen usually has a dark gray label.
While a doctor might prescribe an “off-label” dose in some limited circumstances, the largest dose that is currently available is 2.4 milligrams per week.
Above this weekly dose, many people experience more noticeable side effects.
What are the side effects of Wegovy?
Many people who take Wegovy will experience some mild side effects. The most common side effects are:
- Stomach pain
- Gas or bloat
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of low blood sugar and know how to act to correct it.
Low blood sugar can be dangerous if untreated, so be on the lookout for the following:
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Sudden changes in your mood or perception
- A fast heartbeat
- Symptoms of hypoglycemia
There are also rare, but more serious, side effects and complications that you should be aware of:
- Thyroid tumors, including cancer
- Changes in vision
- Kidney problems
- Mental changes or depression
- Serious allergic reactions
The concern regarding thyroid tumors is based on the results of trials of semaglutide medications in rats and mice where some of the rodents developed thyroid tumors.
It is not yet known if this risk is significant in humans.
Your doctor should discuss all the potential side effects, from common to serious, and can answer the questions you have about the medication and its potential risks and benefits.
How much Wegovy do you need to take for weight loss?
Clinical trials of people who are overweight or obese and begin taking the active ingredient in Wegovy showed considerable weight loss, particularly at higher doses of the medication.
People who took the maximum 2.4 mg dose per week saw their average body weight drop by nearly 15%.
This was in comparison to just 2.4% with the placebo, despite both groups being given the same guidance to exercise and eat a restricted diet.