Semaglutide (Wegovy) 

 Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) receptor agonist drug which is given weekly by a tiny painless needle under the skin to help with weight loss. This drug is FDA approved under the trade name Wegovy and indicated as an adjunct to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of ≥ 30 kg/m2 (obesity) or ≥27 kg/m2 (overweight) in the presence of at least 1 weight-related comorbid condition (e.g., hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia).

GLP-1 is a naturally occurring brain peptide chemical that regulates appetite and caloric intake. Semaglutide (Wegovy) is the synthetic version of this peptide and works in the body the exact same way to reduces hunger and appetite. Semaglutide (Wegovy) stimulates insulin secretion as well and reduces glucagon secretion in a glucose-dependent manner. These effects can lead to a reduction of blood glucose (blood sugar). Weight loss is thought to occur from the lack of appetite and possibly delayed gastric emptying.

Semaglutide (Wegovy) is given once a week with a tiny painless needle under the skin for either 4 or 8 consecutive weekly increments. You will come in once a week, weighed, and assessed for side effects or problems prior to receiving your next dose. If you feel comfortable after your initial training on safe injection techniques, you may administer your weekly dose at home and participate in weekly virtual check ins and self-report data for the weight log.

Most frequent side effects are nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, decreased appetite, headache, flu-like symptoms, burping, hiccups, abdominal pain, fatigue, gastroesophageal reflux disease, abdominal distension, and flatulence. Injection site reactions can include itch, redness, inflammation, hardness, bleeding, bruising and irritation.

Rare But Possible Side Effects

Rare side effects have been reported with Semaglutide (Wegovy) use. These include: Pancreatitis, rarely even fatal, appendicitis, gallstones or gallbladder infections, acute kidney injury, dehydration, low blood sugar levels, dizziness, hair loss, antibody development making Semaglutide (Wegovy) inactive, increased heart rate, headache, hives, rash, allergic reaction, fetal abnormalities, miscarriage or fetal death, thyroid C-cell cancer and other potential yet unknown risks.

Who Should Get Clearance from their Primary Care Provider

I have been advised that TYPICAL weight loss seen with the use of Semaglutide (Wegovy) PLUS good nutrition and exercise is approximately 1-2+ lbs per week.

  • Concurrent use of other diabetic medications
  • Known allergies to Semaglutide (Wegovy) or any other similar GLP1 type drug
  • Concurrent use of another Semaglutide (Wegovy) drug or any other similar GLP1 type drug
  • Diabetic treatment(s) within the past 90 days
  • Gallstones or gallbladder infection within the past 6 months
  • Unintentional weight loss within the past 90 days
  • Treatment with any medication for obesity currently or within the past 90 days
  • Previous or planned obesity treatment with surgery or a weight loss device.

Who Can Not Receive Semaglutide (Wegovy)

  • History of pancreatitis
  • Personal or first-degree family history of medullary thyroid cancer
  • Current or history of diabetes
  • Current or history of kidney disease or decreased kidney function
  • Uncontrolled thyroid disease
  • Personal or first-degree relative(s) with a history of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 or medullary thyroid carcinoma.
  • Currently pregnant or planning to get pregnant within 90 days after treatment

Alternatives to Semaglutide (Wegovy):

There are alternatives to Semaglutide (Wegovy) use for weight loss. Traditionally, consuming less calories and exercising more is the combination standard recommended by the American Diabetic Association and the American Medical Association. Additionally, counseling services and support groups for learning lifestyle modification, surgical options, and other prescription medications are available as well. The use of Semaglutide (Wegovy) is strictly optional and not required for weight loss success.

How is Semaglutide (Wegovy) administered?

Semaglutide is given once a week with a tiny comfortable needle under the skin for either 4- or 8-week increments. You will come in once a week and be weighed and assessed for side effects or problems before receiving your next dose.  

How much does Wegovy (Semaglutide) cost?

Your first visit with the team at DCCM™ is a comprehensive physical. The cost of the physical is $300 and not covered by insurance; however, you may use your health savings account if you have one with your insurance company’s plan. Labs will be ordered and reviewed with you before initiating the prescription medication. Once the patient is deemed an appropriate candidate, the team at DCCM™ will review your short-term and long-term goals to ensure your overall success. This medication is not a quick fix for poor lifestyle choices. This medication can help you change your lifestyle habits while shedding stubborn pounds and regaining control. 

There is a $300 monthly membership fee for the Concierge Medical Weight loss Program; in comparison, most practices range from $495-$750 while. Tara has been offering concierge medicine in her boutique-style clinic for nearly ten years; therefore, her system is well organized and efficiently run, directly cutting costs to the consumer.  

If you have commercial health insurance coverage, call the number on the back of your insurance card to see if Wegovy covers you. We have discovered that many local employers such as; Wentworth Douglas Hospital, Hospital Corporation of America, Beth Israel Lahey Clinic Hospitals, and Liberty Mutual offer medical weight loss coverage and should be covered for medical weight loss prescription medicines.

The out-of-pocket cost for Wegovy is currently prohibitive – around $1500; the good news is that Novo Nordisk offers a program for this new medication that lowers the price to $25 per month for the first six months for those who have insurance which provides coverage for branded Anti-Obesity Medications. The team at DCCM™ will help you determine if you qualify. For those who do not allow it, we offer the active ingredient in Wegovy, available from a compounding pharmacy. The additional cost of this medication is $300 if your insurance will not cover the trade-named drug, Wegovy.  

Patients will be taught how to self-administer the medication at home after a thorough in-office training with the team at DCCM™. Patients have the option to have weekly check-ins virtually and or via email. It is essential to track your food intake and your weekly weight. We want to ensure your success with the program and gain the confidence you deserve.

If you’re thinking about Wegovy or other weight loss medications and wondering what options are suitable, contact the team at DCCM™ today. Tara Delle Chiaie, MSN, FNP-BC, APRN, and her team of experts will work with you to find the weight loss solution that best suits your individual needs.

Hampton NH office line – 603-783-1087

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