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Wegovy: Everything you need to know about the new weight-loss drug approved in Spain
Health

Wegovy: Everything you need to know about the new weight-loss drug approved in Spain

It will be available in pharmacies in May, but there is a strict process you must follow to get your hands on it

Almudena Nogués

Malaga

Tuesday, 30 April 2024, 09:49

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Spanish health authorities have given the seal of approval for the sale of a new weight-loss drug, Wegovy.

The Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (Aemps) approved the anti-glycaemic drug, meaning it will soon hit shelves at pharmacies across the country.

Manufactured by Danish company Novo Nordisk, its aim is to curb the supply issues of GLP-1 analogue drugs, authorised to improve glycaemic control in the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes that cannot be sufficiently controlled with diet and exercise. It is expected to go on sale in May.

Until now, only Saxenda was authorised to regulate weight, always in combination with healthy nutrition and increased physical activity, the health ministry added.

Wegovy belongs to the GLP-1 analogue family. It contains the active substance semaglutide, which it shares with Ozempic, derived from a naturally occurring hormone that is released from the gut after eating. According to its data sheet, it "works by acting on regions (receptors) in the brain that control appetite, causing you to feel fuller and less hungry, and to experience less craving for food". This results in the patient consuming less food and contributes to reduced body weight as a complement to a low-calorie diet and exercise.

Wegovy is used as an injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection) and not into a vein or muscle. The best areas for inoculation are the front of the upper arm, upper legs or stomach.

How can I get Wegovy in Spain?

The first thing to know is that you will need a prescription to buy it. It must be prescribed by a doctor based on certain requirements: patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30kg/m2 or greater than 27 kg/m² in cases where there are health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal levels of fats in the blood, respiratory disorders during sleep or history of heart attack, stroke or vascular pathologies. In adolescents over 12 years of age, it may be prescribed if there is obesity or a weight of over 60 kilos.

The price of Wegovy in Spain will depend on the dosage, but at a minimum it will cost about 200 euros.

The maintenance dose of this drug is 2.4 mg. However, to avoid possible adverse effects, it is recommended to start at 0.25 mg, which should be gradually increased over a period of 16 weeks. If it triggers gastrointestinal symptoms, consideration should be given to delaying dose escalation or reducing the dose until symptoms improve. Otherwise, treatment should be discontinued.

As with all medicines, Wegovy can have side effects. The most common side effects, which can affect up to one in ten people, are headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, stomach pain, feeling weak or fatigued.

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