Wegovy is a synthetic version of a gut hormone that suppresses hunger and appetite. It is injected under the skin once a week
“Today’s approval offers adults with obesity or overweight a beneficial new treatment option to incorporate into a weight management program,” said John Sharretts, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Diabetes, Lipid Disorders, and Obesity in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
This is the first drug approved by the FDA since 2014.
Approximately 70% of American adults have obesity or overweight. Obesity is a serious health condition associated with some leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and is linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
Losing 5% to 10% of body weight through diet and exercise has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in adult patients with obesity or overweight.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Wegovy (semaglutide) injection (2.4 mg once weekly) for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol), for use in addition to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.
Wegovy works by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake.
The drug is indicated for chronic weight management in patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 kg/m2 or greater who have at least one weight-related ailment or in patients with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater.
According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2013–20142,3,4,5
- More than 1 in 3 adults were considered to be overweight.
- More than 2 in 3 adults were considered to be overweight or have obesity.
- More than 1 in 3 adults were considered to have obesity.
- About 1 in 13 adults were considered to have extreme obesity.
- About 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 were considered to have obesity.
Factors that may contribute to weight gain among adults and youth include genes, eating habits, physical inactivity, TV, computer, phone, and other screen time, sleep habits, medical conditions, or medications, and where and how people live, including their access to healthy foods and safe places to be active