Written on December 22, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, MS, RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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You may have heard about Wegovy®, or semaglutide, a weight loss drug that has been gaining a lot of popularity for its effectiveness in helping people lose weight. While Wegovy® is approved for weight loss purposes, some people wonder if it is effective for prediabetes. Read this article for everything you need to know.
Wegovy® is an FDA-approved prescription drug that contains the active ingredient semaglutide. It belongs to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. Recently, Wegovy® has been gaining a lot of traction for helping people with weight loss. This is because it causes a suppression of appetite by acting on the GLP-1 hormone. The GLP-1 hormone is responsible for sending signals to the brain that regulate hunger. Wegovy® suppresses this hormone, leading to less hunger, and as a result, weight loss.
It is worth noting that all medications come with side effects, Wegovy® included. While there are several GLP-1 drugs on the market, Wegovy® has shown weight loss effects in people with and without diabetes. Some of these effects are due to appetite suppression, but weight loss may also occur due to the gastrointestinal impacts that are common side effects of taking Wegovy®, like nausea and vomiting.
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are above normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. The good news is that prediabetes can often be corrected through dietary and lifestyle modifications, before medication is necessary.
Symptoms of prediabetes can include :
Because diet and lifestyle are two modifiable risk factors for prediabetes, it is important to work with a team of qualified healthcare providers to try to change your diet and lifestyle before beginning medication. Focus on the addition of advantageous foods like vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. If you are in need of more personalized recommendations, it is helpful to work with a registered dietitian.
While Wegovy® has historically been used to help people manage their weight, many people wonder if they can use Wegovy® for prediabetes. While it is always recommended to consult a qualified healthcare provider for personalized recommendations and before starting any new medication, Wegovy® could be helpful for those with prediabetes, as it may help with managing their blood sugar levels. In the UK, Wegovy® is approved for those who are obese, living with type 2 diabetes, or are prediabetic.
Because Wegovy® is a GLP-1 agonist, which is the class of medications that anti-diabetes drugs also fall under, there is no reason why Wegovy® couldn’t be used for people with prediabetes who have tried dietary and lifestyle adjustments and who cannot regulate their blood sugar levels. While Wegovy® is not typically the GLP-1 drug that is used for prediabetes, it may be effective and appropriate for some use cases.
If you are looking to manage prediabetes, and if you and a team of qualified healthcare providers think that you are a good fit for Wegovy®, you can take steps to get started. Wegovy® is a prescription-only drug, so a healthcare provider will need to prescribe it for you. From there, you can pick it up from a local pharmacy.
The cost of Wegovy® will vary based on insurance coverage, but some estimates are up to around $1,300 per month of out-of-pocket expenses. Because this is not used as a short-term weight loss or blood sugar management option, meaning that those who start Wegovy® will have to take it for many months or years, it is important to understand the cost before beginning.
You should also continue to work on dietary and lifestyle adjustments even if choosing to begin Wegovy® for blood sugar management. If you are able, making positive adjustments to your diet and movement routine in ways that help to optimize blood sugar can allow you to make more progress with your blood sugar levels and overall health goals. These adjustments may also allow for you to get off medication, if your blood sugar levels normalize and stabilize over time.
At Everlywell, we combine the best in modernized, rigorous lab testing with easy-to-access at-home medicine. We provide a range of blood tests, including our hemoglobin A1c test that you can take from the comfort of your home. Your results will be analyzed in CLIA-certified labs and an experienced healthcare provider will deliver your results. Take control of your blood sugar, fertility, and overall health today with Everlywell.