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The Wegovy Shortage: Causes, Impact, and Solutions

Medically reviewed by: Melissa A. Delgado, MD, FACOG

Melissa A. Delgado, MD, FACOG is the founder and owner of The Chronic Pelvic Pain Center of Northern Virginia. Dr. Delgado is an experienced, board-certified OB/GYN and has spent the past 10 years dedicating her time to understanding complex and persistent pelvic pain.

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Image Source: Szabo Viktor via Unsplash

In recent years, Wegovy® — an injectible medication containing semaglutide — has become a popular weight-loss medication relied upon by many Americans. 

With this increased popularity has come a soaring demand for both Wegovy and Ozempic®, another semaglutide injection used to manage diabetes. Novo Nordisk, the company behind both medications, has struggled to keep pace with the surging demand, resulting in substantial supply shortages.

As a result, many patients have been left frustrated and unable to access the medication they need.


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In this article, we’ll look at the causes and consequences of this shortage — and, most importantly, alternative solutions for weight loss patients seeking answers during the national Wegovy shortage.

Wegovy Shortage Causes: More Than a Supply Chain Issue

The Wegovy shortage is rooted in the scarcity of semaglutide, the key active ingredient in both Ozempic and Wegovy. 

As the demand for semaglutide medications skyrocketed, it created a significant gap in the drug supply. Manufacturer Novo Nordisk reported that a 29% increase in sales triggered periodic supply constraints and drug shortage notifications. 

According to a CNBC statement, the demand for Wegovy continues to outpace increased production. And despite their best efforts to limit quantities of lower-dose versions for retail pharmacies, Novo Nordisk anticipates an ongoing supply disruption.

Compounding this issue are ongoing insurance complications. Unfortunately, many insurance providers do not cover these medications for weight-loss purposes, adding another layer of complexity for patients seeking treatment.

The Impact of the Shortage: Real Lives Affected

The Wegovy shortage has become more than just a statistic — it's a source of frustration and uncertainty for potential weight-loss patients and anyone seeking to refill their prescriptions. 

Here’s the problem: discontinuing Wegovy often leads to regaining weight, contributing to a cycle that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

But the Wegovy shortage can not only impact physical health — it can also take a toll on mental well-being. Without the medical support they've come to rely on, individuals may find themselves grappling with new challenges while navigating their weight-loss journey.

Patients may even find themselves turning to temporary alternatives like older GLP-1 weight loss medications, such as Saxenda®, with diminished effectiveness and potential new side effects.

Of course, it’s not always that simple. How well you tolerate the different types of GLP-1 weight loss medications, from Wegovy to Ozempic to Saxenda to Mounjaro®, depends heavily on your personal medical history, diet, lifestyle, and even biochemistry.

Navigating the Wegovy Shortage

To navigate these medication shortages effectively, it’s important to meet with your healthcare provider and discuss your best options.

For some people, finding an alternative or generic form of semaglutide that isn’t sold out yet could be the solution.

Ask your healthcare provider about potential alternative GLP-1 medications or semaglutide generics, or to keep you updated on the Wegovy shortage and to alert you as soon as the medication is back in stock again at a pharmacy near you.

Another Option: Compounded Semaglutide

Compounded semaglutide is made by combining the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic — semaglutide — with additional beneficial ingredients, like amino acids and vitamin B-12. These ingredients provide the benefits of vitamin supplementation and can help curb some of the side effects of semaglutide, like nausea and GI upset.

Because compounded semaglutide is not sold under the brand names Wegovy or Ozempic, it is often not subject to the same demand-driven shortages as Novo Nordisk's medications. Compounded semaglutide may be the right choice if you're concerned about delays or missed dosages due to the Wegovy shortage.


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