Side Effects of Wegovy

Wegovy is a new injectable weight loss treatment. Wegovy contains the active ingredient semaglutide, which makes you feel fuller. This makes it easier to reduce your daily calorie intake and lose weight.

Like all medications, Wegovy does have some side effects, although not everyone who uses it will get them. Many side effects are mild and are easily managed at home. When taking any medication, it is important to read about the side effects, so you know what to look out for.

Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Development

Medically reviewed by

Dr Babak Ashrafi

Last reviewed: 09 Feb 2024

What are the common side effects of Wegovy?

Wegovy has some common side effects that usually happen within the first month of treatment. These are often mild and will go away as your body adjusts to the medication.

Very common side effects (affecting more than 1 in 10 people) include:

  • diarrhoea
  • headaches
  • constipation
  • stomach pain
  • weakness or tiredness
  • nausea and vomiting (feeling or being sick)

Common side effects (affecting between 1 in 100 people and 1 in 10 people) include:

  • gallstones
  • hair loss
  • bloating
  • upset stomach or indigestion
  • dizziness
  • burping or gas (flatulence)
  • heartburn or acid reflux
  • skin reactions at the injection site, such as itching, redness, soreness, and swelling
  • hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), usually in patients who have diabetes
  • an inflamed stomach (gastritis)

You can treat most of these side effects at home with over-the-counter medication, like paracetamol for headaches. You should also make sure you’re hydrated if you’re getting side effects like diarrhoea or vomiting.

What are the less common side effects of Wegovy?

Wegovy also has some less common side effects, which can affect up to 1 in 100 people who take it.

Uncommon side effects (between 1 in 1000 people and 1 in 100 people) include:

  • an increase in pancreatic enzymes, which can be seen in blood test results
  • a fast heartbeat

How long will Wegovy side effects last?

Many of the side effects of Wegovy last a few days to a few weeks. Side effects are often mild and should not bother you too much. While you increase your dosage, you may find some side effects, such as dizziness, headaches, and nausea will get worse, although as your body adjusts to the dosage they should gradually get better.

You may find that side effects can affect you at different times throughout the day, such as just after eating or after taking your dose.

In rarer cases, side effects can last 2 weeks or more, although they should start to get better as time goes on.

Will side effects go away if I stop taking Wegovy?

If you stop taking Wegovy, your side effects should go away within a few weeks. This depends on how long you have been taking Wegovy, as your body will need to readjust.

If your side effects are severe or impacting your day-to-day life, speak to your doctor.

Will side effects get worse when I increase my dose?

Side effects may get worse briefly when you change dose. This is while your body adjusts to the higher dose. Your dose is increased slowly to reduce this effect and give your body more time to get used to the medication. If your side effects worsen to a point where they’re unmanageable, speak to your doctor.

How can I manage the side effects of Wegovy?

Wegovy has some common side effects which can be managed at home.

One of the most common side effects is nausea. If you get nausea whilst taking Wegovy, you should:

  • eat small, plain meals
  • get plenty of fresh air
  • sit upright after eating and avoid eating just before bed
  • sip cold water and avoid fizzy or caffeinated drinks
  • avoid greasy, fatty, and spicy foods
  • drink ginger tea or eat foods containing ginger
  • eat slowly
  • keep hydrated

Many of these tips can also help if you have diarrhoea, stomach pain, or indigestion.

Headaches can be treated as you usually would at home, with plenty of fluids and over-the-counter painkillers. If you get constipation try increasing the amount of fibre in your diet, fluids that you drink, and staying active. Your doctor may recommend a laxative if your constipation is severe or persistent.

Side effects like weakness and tiredness will lessen over time, but you can manage these by:

  • getting good-quality sleep
  • not limiting your calorie intake too much (a 600 calorie deficit is a safe and healthy way to lose weight without overstraining your body)
  • remaining active with 1 or 2 rest days each week

Manage side effects like bloating, indigestion, or reflux with over-the-counter medications, such as antacids. To reduce the chance of injection site reactions, use a different injection site each week. You can still inject in the same area, but use a different section of the skin.

Are there any serious side effects from taking Wegovy?

Wegovy can cause some serious side effects that require medical attention. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical advice straight away by calling 111, or 999 if it’s an emergency.

Serious side effects of Wegovy include:

  • anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction), which can make it harder to breathe, cause sudden facial swelling (angioedema), and an increased heart rate
  • complications of diabetic retinopathy (diabetic eye disease), if you have this condition and notice changes in your vision, speak to your doctor straight away
  • acute pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas), which can cause intense and long-lasting pain in your stomach or back

If you get any serious side effects whilst taking Wegovy, you should stop treatment and speak to your doctor after seeking appropriate medical treatment.

Is Wegovy safe?

Yes, Wegovy is safe if prescribed to you by a doctor. Although Wegovy may have some serious side effects, they are no different to any other medication.

In a clinical trial from 2021, patients who received 3mg of semaglutide once a week mainly reported mild to moderate side effects such as nausea and vomiting. These side effects went away over time.

When should I speak to a doctor about my side effects?

You should speak to a doctor about your side effects if they are not going away and are interfering with your daily life. You should also speak to your doctor or call 111 or 999 if your side effects are severe and you need medical advice.

Will I get withdrawal symptoms when I stop taking Wegovy?

Wegovy is not an addictive medication so you shouldn’t get withdrawal symptoms. It is therefore safe to stop Wegovy whenever you need to without reducing your dose beforehand.

Where can I buy Wegovy?

Wegovy is now an approved weight loss medication in the UK but is not yet available. The manufacturer needs time to prepare for the increased demand and should be ready to launch Wegovy in late 2023. There is no official date yet, but we will keep you informed.

Once Wegovy is released in the UK, you will be able to buy it from regulated online doctor services, such as Superdrug Online Doctor.

Wegovy Side Effects FAQs

Will drinking alcohol make my side effects worse?

Drinking alcohol can make side effects worse, especially if you get low blood sugar, nausea, or headaches. It is best to limit or avoid alcohol whilst using Wegovy if you get side effects.

You can drink alcohol whilst taking Wegovy, but alcohol has a lot of empty calories which can interfere with your weight loss.

Can Wegovy cause long-term side effects?

Many of Wegovy’s side effects are not long-term and will stop on their own, or once you stop using the medication.

Wegovy can cause some rare long-term side effects, such as pancreatitis or swelling of the gallbladder. Speak to your doctor straight away if you think you have any of these side effects.

Will side effects prevent me from driving?

Wegovy is unlikely to prevent you from driving, but it can sometimes cause dizziness or tiredness. You should be careful driving if you feel dizzy or overly tired, and speak to your doctor if your side effects are making it difficult to drive.

Can Wegovy cause flu-like symptoms?

Wegovy is not likely to cause flu-like symptoms and this is not currently a listed side effect. Wegovy may make you feel generally unwell as it can cause headaches and weakness, but these will get better as you get used to the medication.

Will Wegovy make me tired?

Wegovy can make you feel tired, but this side effect often goes away on its own within a few weeks.

Can Wegovy cause depression?

There are no listed side effects for mood changes or depression whilst taking Wegovy.

Does Wegovy cause hair loss?

A common side effect of Wegovy is hair loss with around 3% of patients reporting it. This is usually temporary and mild, but speak to your doctor if you are taking Wegovy and notice sudden hair loss.

Can Wegovy cause acid reflux?

Yes, Wegovy can sometimes cause reflux symptoms, but these can be treated with over-the-counter medications. You can also speak to your doctor who can prescribe an acid reflux treatment.

To limit acid reflux symptoms, avoid spicy and high-fat foods, avoid eating just before bed, and eat smaller, more frequent meals.


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