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Dr Ruch Karunadasa

Authored on 24 January 2024 by Dr Ruch Karunadasa,

Reviewed 24 January 2024 by Dr Adeel Arshad.

A Doctor's Guide to Everything You Need To Know About Wegovy


Wegovy has now be released in the UK by Novo Nordisk, in this article, Dr Ruch Karunadasa (MBBS Bsc MRCGP), Chief Medical Director at PrivateDoc, explains everything you need to know about the new treatment. The piece takes a more in-depth look at how Wegovy works, whilst also dispelling any myths surrounding the treatment.

Wegovy packshot
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How Wegovy works

Wegovy is an injectable treatment that can aid weight loss by significantly reducing appetite in many people and contains the active ingredient Semaglutide. Our weight depends on the balance of calories consumed versus calories used; the so-called 'calorie balance'. A reduced appetite cuts the number of calories consumed and therefore helps tilt this balance in favour of weight loss, creating what is often called a 'calorie deficit'.

How Wegovy works

When taking Wegovy, many patients notice a large reduction in their appetite, paired with a reduction in cravings, which can aid significant weight loss. The effect of any medication on each person can vary. As the dose of Wegovy injection is increased towards its ‘treatment' dose, the number of calories consumed can drop to levels similar to patients that have had gastric surgery. This makes Wegovy an exciting new treatment in the management of obesity by providing outcomes that, in some cases, are comparable to traditional surgical options. Though the use of any medication can carry risks, the hope is that many patients on Wegovy will be able to lose a significant amount of body weight without the need for surgery and its associated risks.

The benefits of Wegovy vs other brands available on the market

Wegovy is a once-weekly treatment and is expected to be very popular as a result. The older weight loss treatments available may need to be taken daily or even multiple times per day.

The most popular injection used for losing weight at the current time is Saxenda and this is injected daily. It is made by the same drug developer as Wegovy, Novo Nordisk, and many patients are expected to transition to the newer Wegovy. The studies and data demonstrate a higher level of expected weight loss with Wegovy than Saxenda, though results will vary from person to person.

In one medical trial, comparing patients treated with Wegovy versus those without Wegovy, the patients taking Wegovy lost an average 35lbs (2 and a half stone) compared to 6lbs without treatment (the patients in the trial had similar starting weights).

There are several weight loss medications developed to aid weight management and support patients on their journey available in the UK. Your doctor can work with you to help you identify the most appropriate treatment for you.

Who can take Wegovy?

Wegovy is a suitable weight loss treatment that is available for patients who are obese or overweight, who suffer with certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or issues with joints, that are potentially worsened by carrying excessive weight. However, it is important to seek appropriate guidance from a doctor in the first instance as there are some instances where Wegovy may not be the most suitable treatment. Patients with type 2 diabetes are generally not suitable for treatment with Wegovy.

Wegovy aims to help patients achieve meaningful weight loss, allowing them to lead healthier lives – but this can take time. It may not be practical to set a realistic weight loss goal of a few weeks or months. Before considering weight loss treatment, such as Wegovy, it is important that patients have attempted to modify their diets, levels of activity and lifestyle. Continuing with these changes whilst on treatment will help patients achieve the most from their treatment.

The process that should be followed if you're considering weight loss injections such as Wegovy

Wegovy is a treatment option for patients who have committed to making healthier lifestyle choices – such as increasing their activity levels and revising their diet – but are struggling to reach their weight loss goals. Before embarking on weight loss treatments, patients should always consult with a doctor to discuss any existing medical conditions that may mean treatment is not suitable. For instance, Wegovy is not recommended as a treatment option if there is history of medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome, type 2 diabetes or with certain types of medication.

Before any weight loss treatment, patients should consider setting themselves a realistic target weight – for some, this might be to move from being in the obese category (as defined by the BMI - body mass index system ) to the overweight category, or it might be to achieve a specific clothing size, or to achieve a certain activity. The goal should be specific and meaningful and will hopefully help provide motivation for the weight loss journey ahead.

How Wegovy works
How Wegovy works

As Wegovy is a once-weekly injection which should be taken on the same day each week, patients should consider how they can fit this into their existing schedule and try to keep to a set routine.

How to get the best results from Wegovy

As with all weight loss medication, Wegovy should always be combined with an overall plan to improve the patient's health and wellbeing. Whilst weight loss can be difficult, patients that commit to a calorie-controlled diet, as well as an increased level of activity, may often see greater results whilst taking Wegovy to aid weight loss.

Wegovy graph

Consistency is the key for long-term weight loss. People can often lose a significant amount of weight using different methods, only to gain it all back again. Consistent use of medication is important to maximise the benefits of treatment. However, there will come a time when a target weight has been reached and treatment is no longer required.

The improvements and changes in diet must continue long after coming off treatment, in order to maintain the new level of weight, and to avoid a rebound. Planning for this time is just as important as when using treatment. The return to a more normal calorie intake and diet should be gradual and will take ongoing discipline.

It is important to follow the dosing guidance specifically, which will involve increasing the dose gradually over a period of a few weeks to reach the recommended treatment dose.

Potential side effects of Wegovy

Wegovy side effects

The most common Wegovy side effects that patients report are feelings of nausea and sickness, with sometimes vomiting and upset bowels reported (both diarrheoa and constipation). This can often be helped by eating smaller meals more frequently rather than a traditional three larger meals a day approach. Additional very common side effects can include headache and feeling more fatigued. These side effects are more common when you are just starting treatment and often settle with time as your body adjusts to the medication.

As with many medications, there are potentially serious side effects of Wegovy treatment, which is why it is particularly important that you consult with a qualified medical professional before considering any treatment. Side effects such as complications with gallstones, infections to the gallbladder and pancreatitis have also been reported. Wegovy reduces general blood sugar levels.

For women considering Wegovy, it is particularly important that you also consider your contraception requirements as Wegovy can potentially be harmful to an unborn baby. Women wanting to take Wedgovy should make sure they are using a regular and reliable form of contraception during their treatment and for a few months after their treatment has completed.


If you would like to find out more information about Wegovy or to discuss if Wegovy is an appropriate treatment for your weight loss journey, book an online consultation with one of our GMC registered doctors today. PrivateDoc offers safe and convenient treatment plans for a number of lifestyle conditions. So why not join PrivateDoc today and be part of an online group of thousands of patients that have chosen our medical professionals to look after their health from the comfort of their own home.

Dr Ruch Karunadasa

Dr Ruch Karunadasa is a qualified General Practitioner with over 20 years of clinical practice, his career spans both NHS and private sectors, where he has been instrumental in patient care and healthcare innovation. Dr Ruch holds a BSc in Neuroscience and specialises in wellness coaching, stress management, and actively works to improve healthcare access in both public and private healthcare systems.

As Chief Medical Director at PrivateDoc, Dr Ruch is dedicated to enhancing patient care, focusing on personalised treatment and accessibility. He advocates for a holistic approach to physical and mental health care, aiming to bridge gaps in healthcare provision.

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Did you know?

Over 40% of the population has tried to lose weight at some point in the last 5 years – so you're certainly not alone