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Wegovy is an injectable medication that doctors prescribe for people with obesity or overweight and a related condition. It helps regulate appetite and costs around $1,350 per package without insurance.
Wegovy has become very popular recently, with shortages of the drug developing across the United States. This is because it is a very effective weight loss drug — a
Currently, there is a shortage of drugs like Wegovy that contain the active ingredient semaglutide. For this reason, people may wish to seek an alternative.
For those who cannot get Wegovy or want to try a different drug, alternatives are available. This article examines Wegovy’s availability, alternative options, and where to get them.
- PlushCare for Orlistat | Doctor-led weight-loss, in network with many service providers | Skip to review
- PlushCare for Contrave | Doctor-led weight-loss, in network with many service providers | Skip to review
- KHealth for Saxenda | Personalized treatment, will assist with insurance communication, medical weight management | Skip to review
- Walmart for Alli | In-person, over-the-counter option | Skip to review
Due to the drug’s popularity, the company has faced challenges in keeping pace with demand. However, in 2023, Novo Nordisk, Wegovy’s supplier, announced that it established new production sites to increase supply.
Although all doses are available at pharmacies, Novo Nordisk writes that it currently produces limited amounts of the lower doses, including 0.25, 0.5, and 1 milligram (mg) options.
The company advises people to discuss their treatment plans with a doctor and organize their Wegovy prescription refills a few weeks ahead to have the best chance of keeping up with their treatment plan.
In 2023, there was a Wegovy shortage due to high demand for the drug. This prompted some individuals to find an alternative treatment.
There is no generic form of Wegovy, which makes the product expensive. Some people may be unable to afford this as a long-term treatment, especially for off-label use. Therefore, an alternative drug may be preferred.
Some people may experience unpleasant side effects when taking Wegovy. If this occurs, a doctor may suggest trying an alternative medication.
Doctors do not recommend that certain people take Wegovy. For example, those with a family or personal history of thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2) are advised to avoid Wegovy.
Additionally, some people may be uncomfortable with the idea of injectable medications. In this situation, a doctor may recommend an alternative non-injectable drug.
Some people may want to consider alternatives to Wegovy if they cannot get their desired dose or if Wegovy is unsuitable.
Some alternatives we cover in further detail in the section below include:
- Orlistat: This is available in capsule form, making it most suited to those who feel uncomfortable injecting medications.
- Contrave: Contrave is an oral extended-release drug, which may make its effects last longer.
- Saxenda: A similar medication to Wegovy, Saxenda involves injecting the drug for long-term weight management.
- Qsymia: Another oral medication, Qsymia also works by suppressing appetite and improving satiety. However, it is currently very difficult to obtain Qsymia and many of the previous stockists no longer carry it.
- Alli: Alli is an over-the-counter alternative to Wegovy for those without a prescription.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Orlistat belongs to a class of medications called lipase inhibitors and is FDA approved for weight management. It
Orlistat is available as a capsule.
The study also notes that healthcare professionals may not recommend orlistat to people who are pregnant or have:
Pharmacies and telehealth companies stock orlistat. These include:
- Blink Health
- CVS Pharmacy
Contrave is an FDA-approved medication that contains two active drugs: naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, and bupropion, an antidepressant. It aims to reduce hunger and cravings. As an oral extended-release drug, it releases the medication slowly, and its effects can last longer.
According to the National Library of Medicine, individuals can take two tablets daily but not with a high fat meal. It can cause several side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, and excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis).
The doctor may have to adjust the dose if a person takes other medications, including:
Contrave is available from:
- CVS Pharmacy
- Blink Health
Saxenda is an
- CVS Pharmacy
Alli is the branded version of Orlistat and is the only over-the-counter medication with
The manufacturer warns that it may not be a suitable drug for people who have had an organ transplant. It may also be unsuitable for people with:
Where to get Alli over the counter
A person can get Alli without a prescription from the following suppliers:
Below is a comparison of all the above medications, including Wegovy.
|Price without insurance
|How it’s taken
|Common side effects
|around $1,350 per package
|• 0.25 mg
• 0.5 mg
• 1 mg
• 1.7 mg
• 2.4 mg
• abdominal pain
|around $1,349.02 for 30-day supply
|• 0.6 mg
• 1.2 mg
• 1.8 mg
• 2.4 mg
• 3 mg
• injection site reaction
• low blood sugar
|around $730 for 90 capsules
|capsule, three times daily
|• abdominal pain
• back pain
• bowel changes
|capsule, once daily
|• abdominal pain
• back pain
• bowel changes
|tablet, one four times daily
|8 mg/90 mg
|tablet, one-four times daily
|• bowel movement difficulties
There are a range of diabetes medications that may result in some weight loss. These include:
These drugs do not hold FDA approval for weight loss or management. However, healthcare professionals may prescribe them off-label sometimes as part of a weight management treatment plan.
Off-label use means that a doctor
People with diabetes rely on these drugs to regulate their blood sugar, and people should not use them for weight loss unless a doctor has recommended it.
Some people choose to come off Wegovy because they have achieved their health goals on the drug, they do not like the side effects it can produce, or they cannot obtain the drug due to shortages.
It is not necessary to come off Wegovy slowly. However, a person should notify a doctor before coming off Wegovy so they can support them as they adjust to being off the drug. For instance, people may regain some of their lost weight after stopping Wegovy, their appetite and cravings may return, and their blood sugar levels may change.
One study found that people who stopped using semaglutide for a year gained back
These changes can be distressing for some people, and support from a healthcare professional is important.
People should speak with a doctor about their weight loss goals, including their reasons for losing weight, and how they would like to lose it.
- How do weight loss medications work?
- Do weight loss medications cause side effects?
- What makes me a good candidate for weight management medication?
- Does medication lead to weight loss without exercising?
- How long does it take to notice improvement?
- Does insurance cover the cost of medication?
Below, we answer some frequently asked questions about Wegovy alternatives.
Orlistat may be a more affordable option than Wegovy. People can get it for $500–$800, while Wegovy can cost around $1,500.
Additionally, many manufacturers offer saving cards and patience assistance programs (PAPs). If a person meets the eligibility criteria, they can receive medication at a reduced cost, or in some cases, for free.
Alli (orlistat) is an over-the-counter weight loss medication that people can consider if they do not want to use Wegovy.
Ozempic and Wegovy are not interchangeable drugs.
Ozempic helps improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It contains semaglutide and mimics GLP-1, so it may also lead to weight loss. However, it is only FDA approved for managing diabetes.
Wegovy, although it contains semaglutide like Ozempic, is only FDA approved for weight management.
Like with Ozempic, Mounjaro and Wegovy are not interchangeable drugs. Even though Mounjaro may help with weight loss, it only has FDA approval for diabetes management. However, it is possible a doctor may prescribe Mounjaro off-label.
Both drugs may be beneficial for weight loss. The effectiveness will vary between individuals based on their needs. A person should consult with a healthcare professional to see which medication may be best for them.
Saxenda is a drug that does not contain semaglutide. Instead, it contains an ingredient called liraglutide. However, this drug is still a GLP-1 receptor and works in the same way as Wegovy and similar medications.
Wegovy is a prescription weight management medication for people with obesity or overweight in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise. There is a Wegovy shortage in the United States, so people may consider alternatives such as Saxenda, Alli, or Contrave.
People should always discuss weight loss with a doctor and ensure that weight loss medication is safe for them to use.