How to inject Wegovy: tips to take Wegovy
LAST UPDATED: Jul 28, 2023
6 MIN READ
HERE'S WHAT WE'LL COVER
Wegovy is a once-weekly injection healthcare providers can prescribe to help people with weight loss. The thought of injecting yourself can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before, but there are ways to make the process quick and easy.
Keep reading to learn more about Wegovy (semaglutide) and how to administer it safely and effectively.
Get access to GLP-1 medication (if prescribed) and 1:1 support to meet your weight goals
What is Wegovy?
Wegovy is a brand-name prescription drug. It contains the active ingredient semaglutide. Wegovy belongs to a popular class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists. To take Wegovy, you inject it under the skin (subcutaneously) once per week.
Semaglutide was originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat type 2 diabetes and was shown to help people lose weight. Wegovy is FDA-approved for chronic weight management in combination with diet and exercise. Specifically, the FDA approves Wegovy for people meeting the following criteria:
Adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater
Adults with an initial BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater who have at least one medical condition in which weight loss typically leads to better long-term health outcomes, such as:
Children aged 12 years or older with an initial BMI at the 95th percentile or greater for their age and sex
Wegovy acts just like a natural hormone in the body called GLP-1. Like GLP-1, Wegovy works in three main ways:
Whenever your blood sugar levels go up, it binds to GLP-1 receptors in your body, which stimulates insulin release. Insulin is the hormone responsible for driving sugar—an important source of energy—out of the blood and into your body’s cells.
GLP-1 also slows or prevents the breakdown of glucagon by the liver. When the liver breaks down glucagon, sugar (glucose) gets released into your blood.
Wegovy also slows the movement of stomach contents into the small intestine (gastric emptying). By slowing this process, Wegovy can aid in weight loss by helping you feel fuller and less hungry after you’ve eaten.
Wegovy commonly causes gastrointestinal (GI) side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, especially when you first start treatment. Healthcare providers initiate Wegovy treatment at a low dose and increase it slowly over time to help prevent or minimize GI side effects.
Wegovy Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.
How should I inject Wegovy?
Wegovy comes as a single-use injector pen with a built-in needle. Unopened Wegovy pens can be stored in the refrigerator until the expiration date shown on the packaging. Or you can keep Wegovy at room temperature for up to 28 days. Keep Wegovy away from extreme temperatures—avoid freezing it, leaving it in your car, or storing it in direct sunlight.
Wegovy pens are prefilled with a single dose and have an attached needle—no assembly is required. Before injecting Wegovy, get ready by washing your hands and cleaning the injection site with soap and water or an alcohol swab. (Wegovy injection sites are explained in detail in the next section below: Where should I inject Wegovy?)
After the injection site is clean and dry, follow these steps:
Find the pen window showing the liquid solution inside the pen. Confirm that it looks clear and colorless.
Remove the pen cap by pulling it straight away from the pen without twisting it. This reveals a needle cover, which hides a tiny needle inside.
Place the pen against your skin at the injection site.
Press and hold the pen firmly to this spot. A yellow bar should begin to appear in the pen window. If it doesn’t, press the pen more firmly on the selected spot
You’ll hear a click when the injection starts automatically. You’ll hear a second click as the pen delivers the dose under your skin.
When the injection is complete, as shown by the yellow bar reaching the end of the window, slowly remove the pen from your skin. The needle cover will lock when you remove the pen from your skin.
Each Wegovy pen is used only once. After Wegovy is used or expired, discard it using a sharps container. Do not throw Wegovy into the regular household garbage or recycling. You can get a sharps container from a pharmacy or medical supply retailer, or you may use another container if it meets the FDA requirements for a sharps container. These include containers that are:
Made of heavy plastic,
Able to close tightly with a lid,
Stable in an upright position during use,
Labeled with a warning of the hazardous waste inside the container.
Where should I inject Wegovy?
Wegovy is a subcutaneous injection. “Subcutaneous” refers to the tissue layer just beneath your skin's outer layer. To ensure the drug absorbs properly, choose an injection site located at one of three areas of your body:
Lower abdomen, at least two inches away from your belly button
Upper leg, on the front of your thigh
You should choose a different injection site each time you inject Wegovy. Skin irritation or other skin reactions may occur if you use the same spot for every dose. Since Wegovy is taken just once a week, consider keeping a log of your injection sites in case you forget.
Rotating injection sites is especially important if you take other subcutaneously injected medications, such as insulin. If you also use insulin, inject Wegovy in the same general region of your body (upper arm, lower abdomen, or upper leg) but stay at least a few inches away from the insulin injection site.
What time of day should I take Wegovy?
You can take Wegovy at any time of day that works for your schedule. It is a once-weekly medication and should be given on the same day each week. For instance, every Sunday. When you start Wegovy, consider the day and time that is convenient for you each week. The timing of meals doesn’t affect Wegovy.
If you want, you can change your selected day of the week to administer Wegovy. To do this, just move your next scheduled dose up to the new desired day of the week—as long as at least 48 hours have passed since your most recent dose of Wegovy.
What if I miss a dose of Wegovy?
The typical dosing schedule of Wegovy looks like this:
0.25 milligram (mg) once weekly
0.5 mg once weekly
1 mg once weekly
1.7 mg once weekly
Weeks 17 and on
2.4 mg once weekly
If you miss a dose of Wegovy, you can still get back on track. Here’s what to do:
If you miss one dose and your next scheduled dose is more than 2 days away, go ahead and administer Wegovy now. There should always be at least 48 hours between doses of Wegovy.
If you missed one dose and your next scheduled dose is less than 2 days away, just skip the missed dose. Administer your usual dose on your next scheduled day.
If you miss two or more doses in a row, talk to your healthcare provider to discuss the next steps. They can advise you on restarting treatment at a lower dose to help prevent GI side effects like nausea and vomiting.
How to avoid missing your weekly Wegovy injection
Remembering to use Wegovy each week is essential. Missing doses may result in less effective treatment and side effect setbacks. In a study of a similar GLP-1 agonist drug called liraglutide (brand names: Saxenda, Victoza), people who took the medication consistently lost 6.5% more weight over one year than those who missed doses.
Several methods are proven to assist in remembering to take GLP-1 medications like Wegovy, such as:
Set up electronic or physical reminders to take Wegovy, such as a calendar notification or leaving yourself a note.
Make Wegovy part of a once-weekly routine. For instance, if you already complete another weekly task, such as taking out the recycling every Tuesday, consider administering Wegovy directly before or after this activity to help you remember.
Take Wegovy at the same time as other medications. If you take other medications, administering Wegovy at the same time may be helpful (but only once a week).
Also, attend scheduled visits with your healthcare provider and consider setting up refill reminders or automatic refills with your pharmacy. This helps ensure you won’t run out of medication and keeps you in touch with your care team to monitor your progress and encourage you on your path to a healthier weight.
Get access to GLP-1 medication (if prescribed) and 1:1 support to meet your weight goals
What happens when you stop taking Wegovy?
Wegovy is a drug for long-term use. Obesity is a chronic disease that needs ongoing treatment, just like other chronic medical conditions (think high blood pressure or diabetes). Still, some people choose to stop or have to stop taking Wegovy. For example, some people find the side effects intolerable. And sometimes, drug shortages force people to stop their medication abruptly, or take less than they used to.
When you stop taking Wegovy, you’ll get relief from any side effects you may have been experiencing, but you’ll also stop losing weight—and will likely regain at least some of the weight you’ve lost. The amount of weight gain depends on how long you were on the medication, how much weight you lost, and how long you stopped the medication.
If you’re concerned about Wegovy side effects, or drug shortages, talk to your healthcare provider about your options. They’ll likely be able to help you find an alternative, such as Saxenda, to help you reach your goals.
If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Fitch, A. & Ingersoll, A. B. (2020). Patient initiation and maintenance of GLP-1 RAs for treatment of obesity: a narrative review and practical considerations for primary care providers. Postgraduate Medicine, 133(3), 310-319. doi: 10.1080/00325481. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00325481.2020.1845534
Food and Drug Administration. (2021). Sharps disposal containers. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safely-using-sharps-needles-and-syringes-home-work-and-travel/sharps-disposal-containers
Novo Nordisk. (2023). Wegovy (semaglutide) prescribing information. Retrieved from https://www.novo-pi.com/wegovy.pdf
Tronieri, J. S., Fabricatore, A. N., Wadden, T. A., et al. (2020). Effects of dietary self-monitoring, physical activity, liraglutide 3.0mg, and placebo on weight loss in the SCALE IBT trial. Obesity Facts, 13, 6, 572-583. doi:10.1159/000511130. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7802504/
Wilding, J. P. H., Batterham, R. L., Calanna, S., et al. (2021). Once-weekly semaglutide in adults with overweight or obesity. New England Journal of Medicine, 384, 989-1002. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2032183. Retrieved from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2032183