Getting Started on Wegovy the Right Way
When you first prescribe Wegovy to your patients for weight loss, be sure to coach them through a go-slow approach that gives them time to figure out any upset tummy reactions that may pop up when they first start using this med.
Start with just a drop in the vial at 0.25mg per week and up the dose every four weeks, turning it up in gradual and controlled increments.
If patients come back saying their stomachs can’t handle a given strength dose, give them a time out pass for 4 weeks before trying again. And if even the max prescribed 2.4mg dose causes trouble, scale back down to 1.7mg for up to 4 weeks to let things settle.
Now about those missed doses. As long as patients rejoin the Wegovy journey within 2 weeks, just pick back up where they left off. But warn patients that mixing this med with other pills can sometimes cause delays getting the full benefit, so advise spacing doses apart as much as possible. The good news is, your patients will thank you for taking the time to get them started right.
Directing Proper Use of Wegovy
To ensure safe and effective use of Wegovy, it’s important to understand its approved uses and limits. Wegovy is approved to help with long-term weight management in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher and those with a BMI of 27 or greater who have a weight-related health condition. It is also indicated for children ages 12 and up whose BMI is at or above the 95th percentile for age and sex.
However, note that Wegovy’s safety and effectiveness have not been established when combined with other weight loss products. As such, it should not be administered with other drugs containing semaglutide or with any other GLP-1 receptor agonists.
Monitor blood glucose levels before and during treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes. Significant or rapid weight loss can increase the risk of gallstones, and the incidence of acute gallbladder disease is higher in Wegovy patients compared to placebo patients, even accounting for degree of weight loss.
Therefore, healthcare professionals should carefully consider the BMI criteria and pediatric use when prescribing Wegovy and inform patients of potential hazards and limitations involved with its use. Adherence to approved indications and risk mitigation strategies helps optimize outcomes for patients prescribed Wegovy.
Important Details for Prescribing Wegovy
Monitoring blood sugar levels is important before and during Wegovy treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes. Wegovy can affect blood sugar and may require adjusting diabetes medications.
You should also be aware of the potential, although small, risk of thyroid tumors with Wegovy use. While thyroid tumors were seen only in rodents given clinically relevant doses, counsel patients on thyroid tumor symptoms and consider routine calcitonin blood tests or thyroid ultrasounds.
A dosing and administration summary table provides a quick at-a-glance guide to Wegovy’s dose escalation schedule, important considerations and warnings, and patients who should not take Wegovy due to risk factors.
Following the dose escalation schedule, testing blood sugar as needed, monitoring for side effects and limiting use to appropriate patients allows you to safely prescribe Wegovy to qualified patients seeking a medically supervised weight loss option.
|Start with once-weekly 0.25mg and escalate every 4 weeks
|Delay dose escalation for 4 weeks if patient does not tolerate a dose
|Temporary dose decrease
|Temporarily decrease dose to 1.7mg once weekly for maximum of 4 weeks if patient does not tolerate maintenance 2.4mg dose
|Caution exercised when any oral medications are given along with Wegovy due to delay in gastric emptying
|Wegovy contraindicated in patients with personal or family history of MTC or in patients with MEN 2
Watch for Issues When Starting Wegovy
To make sure patients stay safe on Wegovy, keep these 3 things top of mind:
- Some patients shouldn’t take Wegovy at all. Warn patients not to use it if there’s a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN 2).
- Explain the potential – but small – risk of MTC to patients before they start. The last thing you want is an angry patient who says you didn’t warn them!
- Blood tests and thyroid scans aren’t great detectors of early MTC in Wegovy patients, so don’t rely on just that.
By filling patients in on these risks up front and keeping a watchful eye afterward, you’ll help ensure Wegovy works its weight loss magic without causing trouble along the way. Your job is to catch potential side effects before they become full-blown problems, so make sure to remind your patients to be more mindful and observant.
Wegovy Dosage Guide: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the recommended weekly dose of Wegovy, and at what time of day should it be taken?
The initial weekly dose of Wegovy, the prescription drug for weight management, is 0.25 mg. The dose should be gradually increased every four weeks until the maintenance dose of 2.4 mg is reached. It’s advised to take Wegovy at the same time of day each week, regardless of when you have a meal.
What are some common side effects of Wegovy, and can it cause abdominal pain?
Some common side effects of Wegovy include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. The active ingredient, semaglutide, may cause other adverse reactions, such as allergic reactions, in some individuals. It’s important to consult your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms.
How does physical activity and a low-calorie diet factor into a successful weight management plan while taking Wegovy?
Combining Wegovy with regular physical activity and a reduced-calorie diet is crucial for achieving the best results. Clinical trials have shown that individuals who adhered to a balanced diet and exercise regimen while taking Wegovy experienced more significant weight loss compared to those who relied on the medication alone.
What is the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors and endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 associated with Wegovy?
Wegovy carries a warning about the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Patients with a personal or family history of MTC or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 should not use Wegovy, as these conditions increase the risk of developing thyroid C-cell tumors.
How can I identify and manage allergic reactions to Wegovy?
Allergic reactions to Wegovy may include symptoms such as rash, itching, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect an allergic reaction, discontinue Wegovy immediately and seek medical attention. It’s essential to discuss any known allergies to the active ingredient, semaglutide, or any other components of the medication with your healthcare provider before starting treatment.
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