Unsurprisingly, there’s been a difficult shortage of the prescription weight loss drug Wegovy. It’s true, Wegovy availability has been mighty limited in the United States. The manufacturer, Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, couldn’t keep up with the skyrocketing demand and failed to foresee this when it prepared for the drug’s release.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the once-weekly injection for weight control in 2021, and interest soared when people learned about the unprecedented weight loss results.
This shortfall was partly due to the enormous presence Wegovy had on social media. Its success in weight management spread like wildfire on TikTok and Instagram reels, with celebrities praising it. Influencers and people just like us needing it also joined in—making demand even higher. Consequently, this sparked a year-long Wegovy supply problem.
The supply chain couldn’t keep up, leaving empty shelves at pharmacies and, more importantly, leaving those with obesity or overweight who used Wegovy or needed a Wegovy prescription scrambling for other options.
So, if you’re here, you’re most definitely asking when Wegovy will be available. We’re here to help answer that. Let’s dive in.
Novo Nordisk announced around New Year last year that it’d have Wegovy available by the end of 2022, but that prediction fell a little short. However, on December 28, 2022, the manufacturer announced all dose strengths of Wegovy are available in pharmacies nationwide. Keep in mind that its availability depends on where you live and if there’s a local distribution center.
The short answer: yes. Wegovy availability has proven to be up in the air, but other options are available.
What’s especially effective about Wegovy is how it functions. It’s a part of the medication class called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1s). GLP-1s work by mimicking the naturally occurring GLP-1 hormone in your body that increases insulin secretions, helping lower blood sugar levels, and slowing digestion, keeping you feeling full longer. All of these factors contribute to helping you lose weight.
But, Wegovy isn’t the only drug in the GLP-1 medication class. Ozempic and Rybelsus are also GLP-1s and are both FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes. Health care professionals can prescribe these drugs off-label for weight loss — they share the same active ingredient as Wegovy, semaglutide.
Liraglutide, known under its brand nameSaxenda, is another GLP-1 FDA-approved for chronic weight management in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or greater with at least one weight-related medical problem or those with a BMI of 30 or greater.
Then there’s tirzepatide, which goes by the brand names Mounjaro and Zepbound and is the first-ever GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist drug. Mounjaro is only FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes. However, Zepbound has received FDA approval for weight loss.
Sources say it’s likely to be approved by the end of 2023 or early 2024. Today, health care providers prescribe tirzepatide off-label for weight loss. In a 2022 press release, Lilly shared that study participants a 15-mg weekly tirzepatide dose, lost up to 22.5 percent of their body weight over the 72-week trial.
Found will launch GLP-1s soon, but other effective weight loss medications are available now. Once you meet with a Found health care provider, they will work with you to determine the best course of treatment for you individually.
As an alternative to GLP-1s, people with overweight or obesity can use bupropion (marketed as Wellbutrin or Zyban) and naltrexone off-label for weight management.
Dr. Rekha Kumar, Chief Medical Officer at Found explains that “Naltrexone and bupropion is a well studied off-label combination which helps treat binging and cravings and is also helpful for people who feel ‘addicted to food.’” Meaning the two can be prescribed off-label, and they’re effective.
Of course, when prescribing a new drug, your health care provider will account for your medical history, current medications, and lifestyle to address any side effects and determine the best fit for you.
To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.
GLP-1 prescriptions, filled through your local pharmacy, are now available as part of Found's weight-loss toolkit. While GLP-1s are effective for weight loss, they are not clinically appropriate for everyone. Eligibility for a GLP-1 is based on a thorough evaluation of your medical history, eating behavior, lab work, and insurance coverage. If a GLP-1 is not appropriate for you, our providers will work with you to determine an effective medication for your health profile.
Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, serving more than 200,000 members to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.