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At what dose does Wegovy start working?

Plus, what doses you'll likely cycle through during your weight loss journey.

At What Dose Does Wegovy Start Working? | Juniper

When you've been on the diet bandwagon for years, there's no better feeling than finally finding something that will actually work for you.

For many, weight loss medications are that vessel of hope, with clinical evidence showing those on semaglutide can lose about 15% of their body weight after 17 weeks — and in many cases, keep it off for good [1].

If you've recently been prescribed the medication Wegovy, you're likely eager to know when you'll start to see the weight on the scales shift.

The good news is, many people report that they start noticing positive changes in how they look and feel very early on.

However, it's important to know that reaching the therapeutic dose of Wegovy or other weight loss treatments is a gradual process. By knowing what to expect, you can maintain a positive mindset and stay on track with your lifestyle modifications.

Read on for everything you need to know about starting treatment, including the various doses you'll likely cycle through during your weight loss journey.

How does Wegovy work?

Wegovy belongs to a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists.

Containing the active ingredient semaglutide, these pharmaceuticals were initially created to treat type-2 diabetes, as they stimulate insulin production and help regulate blood sugar levels.

However, they also work for weight loss and accompanying health issues like high blood pressure, in a number of ways.

GLP-1 medications simulate a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1, which is naturally released in the gastrointestinal tract when we eat.

This helps slow the emptying of food from the stomach, which can help keep you full for longer [2].

Wegovy is also effective for regulating appetite and cravings — with many reporting it reduces the 'food noise' they experience on a daily basis. Working together, these factors lead to a reduced calorie intake and ultimately, weight loss.

While both are GLP-1 medications, Wegovy is different to Ozempic in that it is FDA-approved for weight loss.

As such, it is available at a higher dose, with the therapeutic dosage being 2.5 mg compared to 1 mg for Ozempic [3].

In the UK, Wegovy can be prescribed to adults with a BMI (body mass index) of over 30; or over 27 for those with weight-related medical problems [4].

Wegovy dosing schedule

Wegovy comes in 5 different doses, which are administered weekly via subcutaneous injection (under the skin). Working with a healthcare professional, you will gradually increase this dose over time [5]. Generally:

  • From weeks 1 to 4 (month 1), you'll take the starting dose of 0.25 mg each week.
  • From weeks 5 to 8 (month 2), this weekly dose is typically increased to 0.50 mg
  • Weeks 9 to 12 (month 3) will see you take 1 mg per week, followed by 1.7 mg from weeks 13 to 16 or longer (month 4)
  • Finally, the maintenance dose of Wegovy is 2.4 mg per week, which you'll take from week 17 onwards

However, in some cases such as people who are particularly sensitive to the medication, you may continue on a lower dose for maintenance.

Can I start Wegovy at 1.7 mg?

Your healthcare provider will give you dosing instructions when prescribing Wegovy, and for your own safety, it's important to follow these carefully.

Typically, this will involve starting at the 0.25 mg dose and working your way up, unless you have taken the medication before.

The Wegovy dosing schedule takes a slow and steady approach, and for good reason — your body needs time to build up a tolerance to the medication.

Can I start Wegovy at 2.4 mg?

No, as the full maintenance dose, 2.4 mg is the highest possible dosage you can take of Wegovy.

If you attempt to start on a high dose, it's very likely that you will experience unpleasant side effects, as your body is not accustomed to the medication.

What are the side effects of Wegovy?

Like any prescription medication, Wegovy has a range of potential side effects [6] that you should be aware of. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Indigestion
  • Flatulence

Less common side effects include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), belching, hypoglycemia (especially in people with type 2 diabetes) and increased heart rate.

The good news is, by starting with a low dose and only increasing as your body builds tolerance, you can reduce the frequency and severity of the side effects.

How long does it take for Wegovy to start working?

As everyone's lifestyle and medical history is different, there's no hard and fast question to the question "How much weight will I lose on Wegovy, and how quickly?"

However, Wegovy typically works fairly quickly, and most people will notice some weight loss in the first 4 weeks [7]. In fact, some people see a significant decrease in their appetite within just 1-3 days.

However, the real results surface when Wegovy is taken long term.

In one clinical trial, patients on Wegovy lost 15% of their initial body weight over the course of 68 weeks, compared to the placebo group who only lost 2.5% [8].

Plus, those results seem to be sustainable — as in the same study, an average weight loss of 10% was maintained over the course of 2 years.

How to see results from Wegovy faster

If you're keen to start achieving your weight loss goals on Wegovy, the good news is there are things you can take to maximise your results. These include:

Prioritise protein

You'll likely find you naturally reduce your food intake once you start taking Wegovy. While this might sound like a good thing, it does have its downsides. For one, it can mean you're less likely to hit your daily protein goals.

When patients lose excess weight on GLP-1 medications, up to 40% of that is muscle mass [8].

Not only can this result in a 'softer' look, but it can also cause the metabolism to slow down — which increases the likelihood of weight regain if you come off the medication.

It's for this reason that what you eat matters just as much as the quantity.

In order to keep your metabolism firing, try to make sure you're getting plenty of quality protein — around 1.5 to 1.6 grams of protein per kg of body weight is a good rule of thumb [9].

This might look like eating animal-based protein sources like eggs or meat, reaching for plant-based sources like tofu or nuts, or supplementing with protein shakes.

Nail your nutrition

Equally, you'll want to ensure you're still getting plenty of vitamins and nutrients — even if your portion sizes are smaller.

When you're on a weight loss medication like Wegovy, eating a balanced diet becomes more important than ever.

Filling up your plate with plenty of fruits, veggies and other antioxidant-rich foods will help give you the energy you need to fuel your lifestyle.

Eating plenty of dietary fibre is also extremely important, as many people find that they use the bathroom less on this medication. Staying regular will help you see that movement on the scales faster!

Drink up

It's no secret that drinking plenty of water is essential for our overall health. But, did you know that guzzling plenty of H20 can also help you see quicker weight loss?

While it might sound counterintuitive, dehydration can actually cause us to hold onto water weight to make up for the lack of incoming liquids [10].

So, while you may be shedding body fat, you may not necessarily see that reflected on the scale and in how your clothes fit. Around 2 litres of water is typically a good amount to shoot for — and more if you're exercising.

Sneak in movement

You don't necessarily have to exercise in order to achieve significant weight loss with Wegovy.

However, if you're looking to achieve a lean, strong physique, it's a good idea to make movement a priority so you can maintain as much muscle mass as possible.

Plus, getting active helps to increase your daily calorie expenditure, which can help speed up your results.

Your body burns the most fat when your heart rate sits around 60-70% of its maximum range, otherwise known as called Zone 2 [11].

Simply getting out for a brisk walk (or, getting a walking pad to use under your desk), riding a bike or going to a dance class with a friend can be enough to see the benefits.

At the end of the day, while Wegovy is extremely effective for losing weight, it's not a magic bullet. It needs to be combined with a reduced-calorie diet and physical activity in order to work.

The good news is, you don't have to do it alone. With Juniper's Weight Loss Programme, we combine weight loss medications like Wegovy with a nutrition and exercise plan, so you know exactly what to do for the best results.

We also have a library of protein-packed recipes to take the guesswork out of eating — especially when you don't feel like it.

Plus, we have a team of expert dieticians, psychologists and more you can consult with, to help you work through any challenges you're experiencing during your weight management journey. This holistic approach sets you up for sustained weight loss, rather than a quick-fix solution.

How long can you take Wegovy for?

While some people lose weight quickly on Wegovy, it's important to note it's designed to be used long term.

For this reason, your maintenance dose will ideally be taken indefinitely. However, if for any reason you do choose to go off Wegovy or other weight loss medications, there are steps you can take to help sustain your results long-term.

To learn more about how Juniper can help you find your 'forever' weight and support your long-term health journey, check your eligibility here.