<> <> <> <>
Health Hub

Can you get Wegovy on the NHS?

How you can get Wegovy to best navigate your weight loss journey.

Can You Get Wegovy On the NHS? | Juniper

If losing weight with just diet and exercise is proving challenging, you're not alone. Sometimes you just need an extra helping hand to reach your goal weight, safely.

Semgalutide and Wegovy are words that have been popping up more and more in the weight loss conversation lately. These medications have shown promising results, and the good news is that it's all backed by scientific research.

Using these medications alongside a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce appetite, and calorie consumption and help mitigate those unwanted cravings. With Wegovy recently being approved for the UK market, it can be difficult to know exactly who can get it, how they can get it, and if it will be available on the NHS.

We've put together a guide on all things Wegovy so that you can make an informed decision about the best way to navigate your weight loss journey.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy is a prescription drug that is administered with a pre-filled pen (much like an epi-pen). Taken through weekly injections, this medication is shown to be effective for both weight loss and weight management. Wegovy is the brand name for the weight loss medication containing the active ingredient, semaglutide.

While Wegovy was developed to treat obesity, it has also been proven to help overall health, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular and heart disease [1].

How does Wegovy assist with weight loss?

The active ingredient in Wegovy, semaglutide, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It works to mimic the naturally occurring hormones that are released by the digestive tract after food is eaten.

This hormone lowers blood sugar by triggering insulin release[2], and weight loss is achieved as this process helps you feel fuller for longer, which reduces calorie intake and unhealthy cravings.

Wegovy has some of the most impressive statistics when it comes to how much body weight can be lost, in part because of the increased amount of semaglutide contained in the injections. The highest maximum dose for a Wegovy pen is 2.4mg of semaglutide [3].

Clinical trials have shown that at 68 weeks into consistent semaglutide use, the average total body weight loss was 14.9% [4].

Wegovy, like any weight loss medication, should be used along with a reduced-calorie diet and a maintained routine of physical activity to lose weight effectively.

How do you qualify for Wegovy?

Wegovy has recently been approved for use in the UK and should be available later this year.

Typically, you will qualify for this prescription weight loss medication if you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above. You may still be considered if you have a lower BMI, around 27, depending on your ethnic background, and providing you are also currently experiencing one other weight-related health condition, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type two diabetes.

Wegovy will only be available as part of a specialist weight management programme from a service that provides multi-disciplinary input, such as a tier 3 weight management programme available at select high street chemists, or like our Juniper Weight Reset Programme. This means these providers offer not only weight loss drugs but also help with lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise [6].

Another important thing to remember is that Wegovy will only be prescribed for a maximum of 2 years.

Can you get Wegovy on the NHS?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has drafted guidance recommending Wegovy become available as a prescription drug available on the NHS for those with a body mass index of over 35.

Wegovy can currently be obtained, with a prescription, at select high street chemists in person or via online consultations. But, meeting the criteria for a prescription for Wegovy through the NHS may differ from that of getting a private prescription.

As referenced in the NICE release, the committee will need to consider the cost of the programme and the amount of taxpayer money they are able to fund the programme, hence it will not be available to everyone that is eligible to be prescribed the medication. To access Wegovy through the NHS, you will need a referral to an NHS specialist weight management service and complete the wait times to see if you are eligible.

Losing weight with Wegovy

When embarking on a weight loss journey, it can be difficult to find the right method that works for your body, your mind, and your lifestyle. If you feel like you've tried everything but still can't get your weight management under control, you're not alone.

Improving diet and increased physical activity are the obvious places to start, but sometimes that's not enough. Medications like the Wegovy are a great way to see tangible, lasting results.

This medication helps to regulate appetite, reduce cravings so you can make healthier choices, and coupled with a regular exercise routine, can make significant changes not only to your body but to your mind and overall well-being too.

Wanting to start your medicated weight-loss journey as soon as possible? Finding a holistic multi-tiered approach to weight loss and weight management helps to make sure you stay on track, feel supported, and are well connected to a like-minded community as well as healthcare professionals.

The good news is that Juniper's Weight Reset Programme is a holistic approach to weight loss and weight management that helps ensure you stay on track, feel supported, and have easy access to experienced healthcare professionals.  

By combining the clinically proven medication with dietitian-led health coaching and support from a group of like-minded individuals, Juniper gives you all the tools to reach your weight loss goals.

Image credit: Getty Images