41.9% of American adults are estimated to have obesity, and approximately 70% are overweight.
Unfortunately, diet and physical exercise aren’t always enough to fight chronic weight conditions. Prescription weight-loss drugs may be an effective treatment for those unsuccessfully trying to lose excess pounds.
In June 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Wegovy as one of the newest weight loss medications.
Wegovy is an injectable prescription drug that helps regulate appetite and reduce calorie intake, ultimately promoting weight loss. Its active ingredient, Semaglutide, is a biological drug. Therefore, Wegovy is very sensitive to heat and light, requiring refrigeration and specific storage conditions.
If you have recently started Wegovy injections, we recommend you read this article and ensure you know how to store your injector pens correctly. The efficacy of your treatment depends on it.
Related article: How to Properly Store and Refrigerate Ozempic in All Situations?
Keep Your Wegovy Pens Refrigerated with 4AllFamily's Travel Coolers
What is Wegovy?
Wegovy is an FDA-approved injectable prescription medication for weight loss. It is indicated for adults with obesity (Body Mass Index (BMI) > 30) or overweight (BMI > 27) and weight-related health problems, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. It may also be prescribed to children over 12 whose BMI is in the 95th percentile (considered obese).
The active ingredient in Wegovy is Semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist drug. It belongs to the same drug class as Ozempic, Trulicity, Victoza, Saxenda, and Byetta.
Our body naturally produces GLP-1 hormone in the intestines. But increasing these hormone levels leads to decreased hunger and an increased feeling of satiety (fullness) while regulating stomach emptying.
Ultimately, Wegovy injections help with long-term weight management by regulating appetite and reducing calorie intake. Clinical trials show that patients treated with Wegovy have a 15.2% body weight reduction compared to 2.6% for patients treated with a placebo.
Wegovy is administered once weekly through subcutaneous injection (under the skin). It should be used along with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. It comes in prefilled single-dose injector pens with different strengths (0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 1.7 mg, and 2.4 mg). Your doctor will decide your optimal dosage depending on your needs and medical situation.
Wegovy can cause mild and severe side effects, including nausea, low blood sugar, and pancreatitis, and may increase the risk of thyroid cancer. Talk to your doctor if you experience discomfort or health concerns while taking this weight-loss medication.
Is Wegovy the same as Ozempic?
Wegovy and Ozempic are preparations of the same drug (semaglutide). They are both manufactured by Novo Nordisk.
However, the FDA approved them for different purposes and health conditions. While Ozempic is approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes only, Wegovy can only be prescribed for weight loss.
Another difference between Wegovy and Ozempic is their strengths. Wegovy contains a higher dose of semaglutide than Ozempic and can be delivered in 2.4 mg strength, while the maximum dose for Ozempic is 1 mg.
Related article: Does Saxenda Need to Be Refrigerated?
How much does Wegovy cost?
Wegovy is a relatively expensive medication that costs about $1,200 per month without insurance coverage. It is not available as a generic yet. Many insurance companies refuse to cover anti-obesity and weight-loss medications like Wegovy or Saxenda.
Besides, it's essential to understand that this medication is not a quick fix for being overweight. Studies have shown that people who stop taking Wegovy often regain weight afterward. Therefore, it's meant to be a long-term treatment which cost must also be considered long-term.
Considering the cost of Wegovy, ensuring you know how to store and handle your injection pens is essential. Indeed, semaglutide (the active ingredient) is very sensitive to temperature and light. Therefore, inadequate storage conditions could deteriorate Wegovy and make you lose thousands of dollars worth of medicine.
Related article: Does Saxenda Need to be Refrigerated? How to Store Your Pens?
Does Wegovy Need to Be Refrigerated?
Yes, Wegovy is a medication that needs to be refrigerated. Storing your pens the right way is essential for your prescription to stay effective. Failure to follow the manufacturer's storage instructions could seriously impact your weight-loss treatment. Here’s why and how to store your Wegovy at home to maintain maximum efficiency.
Related article: A list of medications that require refrigeration.
Semaglutide, the active drug in Wegovy and Ozempic, is a biologic. While biologics, also called biological drugs or biopharmaceuticals, are at the cutting edge of biomedical research and some of the most potent therapies, they're incredibly fragile.
These products are made from living sources, like a plant cell, an animal or human cell, or a microorganism. Therefore, they can quickly deteriorate when exposed to high temperatures or excessive light.
Semaglutide should be refrigerated between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C) until use. While Ozempic pens can be unrefrigerated for up to 56 days at room temperature, Wegovy can only stay for 28 days out of the fridge. That difference is due to different drug concentrations and preservative.
Wegovy storage instructions
According to Novo Nordisk, the company that manufactures it, Wegovy must be stored in the refrigerator (between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C).
Alternatively, when refrigeration is impossible, Wegovy can be kept out of the fridge for up to 28 days at room temperature not exceeding 86°F (30°C) and protected from light (with the opaque pen cap on).
Related article: At What Temperature Should You Keep Refrigerated Medications?
How Long Can Wegovy Stay Out of the Fridge?
As mentioned above, Wegovy pens can stay unrefrigerated for a maximum of 28 days. After that, the medicine inside is considered unstable and may quickly deteriorate.
During these 28 days out of the fridge, in no case should Wegovy be exposed to temperatures above 86°F (30°C). It must also be protected from light.
Related article: 10 Tips for Traveling with Your Saxenda Pens!
How to travel with Wegovy pens?
When the success of your medical treatment depends on strict storage conditions, traveling with refrigerated medications like Wegovy can seem challenging.
There are two situations where you need to take extra precautions when traveling with Wegovy pens:
- You’re traveling with Wegovy for less than 28 days. You do not need to keep your pens refrigerated. But if the outside temperature may get above 86°F (30°C), you must protect your pens from the heat.
- You’re traveling with Wegovy for more than 28 days. You must keep your pens refrigerated between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C) at all times.
In that case, most people choose to use a medical-grade portable travel fridge like the Voyager, the Nomad, the Rambler, or the Explorer, designed to maintain constant fridge temperature. Depending on your needs, they can refrigerate drugs for a few hours to an unlimited time, working either with biogel icepacks or USB power.
Related article: How to travel with refrigerated medications?
What happens if Wegovy (Semaglutide) is not refrigerated?
Wegovy (semaglutide) that stays unrefrigerated for more than 28 days isn’t safe for use anymore. Laboratory tests have shown that Wegovy starts losing efficiency after 28 days out of the fridge.
If your pen has been out for too long or exposed to temperatures above 86°F (30°C), even briefly, you must throw it away and get a new one from the refrigerator or the pharmacy.
Related article: How to Ship Refrigerated Medications?
How to tell if semaglutide is bad?
Semaglutide, the active drug in Wegovy, is a clear-looking colorless liquid. Do not use the pen if you notice any unusual appearance, cloudiness, change of color, or particles in it. These can be signs your medicine has gone bad. Throw the pen away and take a new one from the fridge.
Can you freeze semaglutide (Wegovy)?
Just like Ozempic, Wegovy should never be frozen. Wegovy is an aqueous solution in which semaglutide is dissolved in water. It freezes at 32°F (0°C) and becomes crystals.
When frozen, the crystals break the molecule. As a result, semaglutide loses its properties, and it won’t regain its efficiency even if thawed afterward.
Wegovy that has frozen, even temporarily, isn’t safe for use anymore. So, throw the pen away and get a new one.
To prevent Wegovy pens from freezing, do not place them near the freezer compartmentin your fridge. Never leave them in the car overnight. When living in or traveling to extremely cold destinations, always keep the pens in an inside pocket so that your body warmth protects them from the cold.
Related article: Can Insulin Freeze and What Happens if it Does?
When does Wegovy Expire?
Wegovy has two expiration dates:
- The one officially labeled on the pen usually occurs about one year after the purchase date. If your pens are properly stored in the fridge, and the cold chain has not been broken, they're good and safe for use until that date.
- The one that occurs 28 days after a Wegovy pen has been removed from the fridge. You must keep track of that date too!
Are you using Wegovy yourself? What are your thoughts on this weight loss medication? How do you store it at home?
 ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03693430. Two-year Research Study Investigating How Well Semaglutide Works in People Suffering From Overweight or Obesity (STEP 5) https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03693430?term=semaglutide+%2B+step&phase=2&draw=2