How Long Do The Side Effects of Wegovy Last?

Jun 28, 2024 | Weight Loss

Wegovy is an injectable medication that promotes weight loss in people with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 or those with a BMI of 27 and weight-related medical problems. However, like any medication, it has side effects. But how long do the side effects of Wegovy last?

Read on to learn more about the most common side effects of Wegovy, how long they last, and how to manage them.

 

What Is Wegovy?

Wegovy (semaglutide) is a weight-loss medication approved for adults and children 12 years of age and older who are obese or overweight and have weight-related issues such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Wegovy is an injection administered once weekly under the skin in your upper arm, thigh, or abdomen. You administer the shot on the same day every week, with or without food.

When you visit us, we will educate you on administering the shot at home at your convenience.

Most people find the injection painless because it’s administered with a very thin needle.

Wegovy has the active ingredient semaglutide, which is also in Ozempic, a medication used to treat diabetes. Semaglutide mimics the hormone that controls appetite and food cravings.

Wegovy was also given FDA approval in March 2024 to be used in adults with cardiovascular disease (heart, blood vessel disease) and who are either obese or overweight to assist in lowering their risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, and stroke.

 

How Does Wegovy Work for Weight Loss?

The active component in Wegovy is semaglutide, also referred to as a GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist). Wegovy works by imitating the GLP-1 hormone that is naturally released into the digestive tract when we eat food.

The GLP-1 hormone slows stomach emptying, allowing you to feel fuller for longer. It also works on the brain’s reward system, reducing cravings between meals. Wegovy also helps you lower your set point safely to support your continued weight loss efforts.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Wegovy as a weight loss treatment in 2021 after three clinical trials showed that semaglutide significantly outperformed other drugs and the placebo in weight loss.

Patients treated with Wegovy lost an average of 15-20% of their body weight after 16 months.

 

When Do You Begin to Feel the Side Effects of Wegovy?

The side effects of Wegovy may start as soon as you take the first dose or a few weeks later. They frequently show up at the start of treatment or following a dosage increase when patients stick to the Wegovy dosing schedule. If you’re experiencing side effects, you can reduce your dosage or extend your current dose, but you should always consult your doctor first.

Some people may not feel the side effects of Wegovy right away because healthcare professionals start at a lower dose and gradually increase it over several weeks to allow the body to adjust to the weight loss medication.

 

How Long Do Wegovy Side Effects Last?

Most of Wegovy’s side effects are mild to moderate, lasting a few days to weeks on average. They may get worse in the days that follow an increase in your weekly injection dosage.

Less than 7% of participants in clinical studies felt their adverse effects were severe enough to make them stop Wegovy. Usually, the side effects go away after the medication is stopped completely.

 

What Are the Common Side Effects of Wegovy?

Wegovy works partly by delaying stomach emptying, which might reduce hunger and promote weight loss. However, because of this delayed digesting process, you may experience some gastrointestinal symptoms.

Most of Wegovy’s common side effects, or those that affect more than 5% of people, are intestinal problems like:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Dizziness
  • Injection site reaction

 

Nausea

Nausea is one of the most common side effects reported by 44% of Wegovy users. It typically occurs when starting the medication or when increasing the dosage. Nausea is often a result of Wegovy slowing down the stomach’s emptying process, which can cause feelings of fullness and discomfort.

To manage nausea caused by Wegovy, gradually increase your dose as per your healthcare provider’s instructions to help your body adjust. Eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of large ones can help prevent overwhelming your stomach. Avoiding rich, spicy, and greasy foods can also help reduce nausea triggers.

Taking natural remedies like ginger tea or peppermint can also effectively calm nausea. Staying hydrated by sipping water throughout the day rather than drinking large amounts at once can also help.

 

Diarrhea

30% of people report episodes of diarrhea when taking Wegovy. This can be mild to moderate and is usually temporary as your body adjusts to the medication. To manage it, stay hydrated with fluids that contain electrolytes to prevent dehydration. Reducing the intake of high-fat, fried, and spicy foods can also help.

Choosing bland, easy-to-digest foods like bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT diet) can also help ease your symptoms.

 

Vomiting

Some users may experience vomiting, especially if the nausea is severe. This can be more common when starting the medication or during dosage increases. Eating smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding rich or spicy foods, similar to managing nausea, can help reduce the likelihood of vomiting.

Also, identify and avoid specific foods or habits that trigger vomiting and limit them as your body adjusts to Wegovy.

 

Constipation

While diarrhea is common, some people may experience the opposite effect: constipation. Constipation affects 24% of people using Wegovy. It can be caused by the slow digestion that comes with Wegovy.

Some people also report feeling fuller faster on Wegovy and drinking less water, which might worsen constipation.

Increasing fiber intake with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help manage constipation. Staying hydrated is also important, as water helps fiber work more effectively.

Engaging in regular physical activity can also stimulate digestion. If necessary, consider fiber supplements or mild laxatives, but only after consulting with your healthcare provider.

 

Abdominal Pain

Some users report abdominal pain or discomfort, which can be related to the gastrointestinal changes caused by Wegovy. This involves discomfort, tenderness, and pain in the upper and lower abdomen.

To reduce abdominal pain, pay attention to your fullness cues, which can be changed on Wegovy. Stop eating when you’re full.

You can also use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, but it’s best to consult your doctor first to ensure it’s safe for you.

 

Headache

Headaches can occur, particularly in the initial stages of Wegovy treatment. According to some research, Wegovy may impact the vascular system, which may cause headaches. However, more studies are needed to explain this.

To manage headaches, ensure you stay hydrated, as dehydration is a common cause. Avoid skipping meals to prevent blood sugar drops that can trigger headaches.

Getting enough sleep and managing stress through relaxation techniques can also help. If the pain persists, you may use over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

 

Fatigue

Another reported side effect of Wegovy is feeling tired. This may be because the body is adjusting to this medication and the changes it induces in appetite and metabolism.

If you experience fatigue, eat a balanced diet to get all the nutrients. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, as adequate rest is essential.

Engaging in regular exercise, even light activities, can boost energy levels. Balance activity and rest throughout the day to avoid overexertion.

 

Indigestion

Indigestion or heartburn can also occur, often related to changes in how your stomach processes food.

Avoiding trigger foods such as spicy or fatty foods can help manage heartburn. Eating smaller, frequent meals can help ease digestion. It’s also important to avoid lying down immediately after eating; wait at least 2-3 hours before lying down.

 

Dizziness

Some people using Wegovy have reported dizziness. Eating less, drinking too little water, or losing fluids because of vomiting or diarrhea can cause dizziness. This is usually temporary and can go away on its own.

If you feel dizzy, sit or lie down until it passes. Staying hydrated is important, as dehydration can cause dizziness. Stand up or change positions slowly to avoid sudden drops in blood pressure.

 

Injection Site Reactions

Since Wegovy is administered via injection, some people may experience reactions at the injection site, such as redness, swelling, or irritation.

To minimize injection site reactions, rotate injection sites to avoid repeatedly using the same spot. Follow proper injection techniques to minimize irritation. Applying a cold compress can also help reduce swelling and redness.

 

Serious Side Effects of Wegovy

Most people experience mild side effects. However, Wegovy may have rare yet serious side effects, which include:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Allergic reactions
  • Increased heart rate
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Thyroid tumors
  • Severe gastrointestinal issues
  • Low blood sugar

 

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, is a serious side effect that requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms include severe abdominal pain that may radiate to your back, nausea, vomiting, fever, and a rapid pulse. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

 

Gallbladder Problems

While rare, Wegovy can increase the risk of gallbladder issues, including gallstones and gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis).

Symptoms to watch for include severe abdominal pain, particularly in the upper right or middle of the abdomen, pain that spreads to your shoulder or back, nausea, vomiting, and fever. If you experience these symptoms, stop using the medication and consult your healthcare provider.

 

Kidney Problems

Wegovy can affect kidney function, potentially leading to kidney problems or worsening existing kidney conditions.

Symptoms of kidney issues include reduced urine output, swelling in your legs or ankles, fatigue, and shortness of breath. It’s important to stay well-hydrated, monitor any changes in urination or swelling, and report these to your doctor.

 

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to Wegovy are rare but can range from mild to severe. Symptoms include itching, rash, swelling, especially of the face, lips, tongue, and throat, severe dizziness, and trouble breathing.

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that requires immediate emergency medical attention. If you suspect an allergic reaction, stop using the medication and seek medical help immediately.

 

Increased Heart Rate

Wegovy can cause an increase in heart rate, which may be noticeable as a racing or pounding heart. While a slight increase in heart rate may not be dangerous, a healthcare provider should evaluate a significant or persistent increase. Symptoms to watch for include palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

 

Depression or Suicidal Thoughts

While rare, some people may experience mood changes, including depression or suicidal thoughts, while taking Wegovy. It is important to monitor any changes in mood, behavior, or thoughts of self-harm. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, seek help from a healthcare provider immediately.

 

Thyroid Tumors

Wegovy has been associated with an increased risk of thyroid C-cell tumors in animal studies, though it is unclear if this risk applies to humans. Symptoms to be aware of include a lump or swelling in your neck, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, or shortness of breath. Report any of these symptoms to your doctor for further evaluation.

The FDA also warns against using GLP-1 agonists like Wegovy if you have a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (a type of thyroid cancer) or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

 

Severe Gastrointestinal Issues

While mild gastrointestinal issues like nausea and diarrhea are common, severe gastrointestinal problems can also occur. These include persistent vomiting or diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, and dehydration. If gastrointestinal symptoms are severe, contact your healthcare provider.

 

Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)

Wegovy can cause low blood sugar, particularly in people with type 2 diabetes who are also taking medications that lower blood sugar.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include dizziness, sweating, confusion, shakiness, hunger, and irritability. If you have diabetes, discuss with your doctor about changing the dosages of your other diabetes medications.

 

Is it Normal to Feel Sick After Eating on Wegovy?

Yes, it is common to feel sick after eating on Wegovy. This medication mimics the GLP-1 hormone, which targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake. While this can be highly effective for weight loss, it can also lead to gastrointestinal side effects, particularly nausea.

Wegovy slows down the emptying of the stomach, making you feel fuller for longer. This can help reduce calorie intake, but it can also result in feelings of nausea, especially after eating.

When food stays in the stomach longer than usual, it can create discomfort and lead to an upset stomach. Additionally, as Wegovy influences the brain’s hunger and satiety centers, it can sometimes cause a mismatch between how much food you eat and how your body processes it, leading to nausea and vomiting.

The intensity and frequency of nausea can vary from person to person. For some, the nausea might be mild and manageable, while for others, it can be more severe.

These side effects are most pronounced when you first start taking Wegovy or when your dose is increased. Over time, many people find that their bodies adjust to the medication, and nausea goes away or becomes more manageable.

 

How Do You Stop Feeling Sick On Wegovy?

When using Wegovy, it’s important to keep track of any symptoms, from minor to severe, in case you need to see your healthcare provider. However, several strategies can help minimize these side effects and improve your overall experience with the medication.

Here’s what you can do to manage and reduce nausea and sickness associated with Wegovy:

  • Increase your dosage gradually.
  • Eat small, frequent meals.
  • Avoid trigger foods.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Stay hydrated and up your fiber.
  • Try herbal teas like ginger and peppermint teas.
  • Experiment with taking Wegovy with or without food to see which method reduces nausea.
  • Stay upright for at least 30 minutes after eating.
  • Avoid lying down immediately after meals to reduce the risk of reflux and nausea.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.
  • Stick to a regular schedule and take your Wegovy injections on the same day each week.
  • Rotate your injection site.

 

Wegovy Side Effects FAQ

 

What are the most common side effects of Wegovy?

The most common side effects of Wegovy include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, headache, abdominal pain, fatigue, dizziness, indigestion, and injection site reactions. These side effects are mild to moderate and decrease as your body adjusts to the medication.

 

How can I reduce nausea while taking Wegovy?

To reduce nausea, try eating smaller, more frequent meals and avoid rich, spicy, and greasy foods. Staying hydrated by sipping water throughout the day and consuming ginger or peppermint products can also help. If nausea persists, consult your healthcare provider for additional tips or medications.

 

What should I do if I experience severe side effects from Wegovy?

If you experience severe side effects of Wegovy, seek medical attention immediately. Contact your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms and adjustments to your treatment plan.

 

Are there any foods or medications I should avoid while taking Wegovy?

While no specific foods or medications are contraindicated with Wegovy, it is important to avoid foods that worsen gastrointestinal side effects, such as spicy, greasy foods.

 

How NP2GO Can Help

At NP2GO, we understand that managing weight loss can be challenging, especially when dealing with the side effects of medications like Wegovy. Our weight loss clinic is dedicated to providing comprehensive support and personalized care to help you achieve your weight loss goals effectively and comfortably.

Our weight loss program starts you on a low dose of Wegovy, gradually increasing it to allow your body to adjust. This minimizes the risk and severity of side effects. Our experienced healthcare providers will work closely with you, adjusting your treatment plan to ensure the best possible outcomes.

We know that Wegovy may not be suitable for everyone. And that’s why we offer several medication alternatives tailored to your needs. We assess your medical history, health status, and weight loss goals to recommend the most appropriate and effective treatment options.

Contact NP2GO today to learn how we can help you manage Wegovy side effects and explore alternative weight loss options tailored to your needs.