And now, Wegovy has made its way to Singapore. This new drug was recently approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in March 2023 and has quickly become one of the most popular weight loss drugs on the market.
But what exactly is Wegovy, and how does it compare to other weight loss drugs available in Singapore, like Panbesy and Duromine? Sire is a leading medical clinic in Singapore dedicated to providing specialised solutions for common men’s health problems. We stay on top of the latest research and advancements in men’s health.
In this article, Sire takes a comprehensive look at Wegovy and compares it to other weight loss drugs, so you can decide which one is right for you.
All you need to know about Wegovy in Singapore
(Wegovy Pen. Photo credit: Wegovy)
What is Wegovy?
Wegovy’s active ingredient is Semaglutide, a synthetic version of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that regulates blood sugar levels and reduces appetite.
When injected once a week, Semaglutide helps to reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness, leading to reduced food intake and weight loss.
It is available in Singapore in five different dosages 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 1.7 mg and 2.4 mg/ dose solution for injection in a pre-filled pen.
In Singapore, Wegovy can only be supplied upon a valid prescription.
How effective is Wegovy (in Singapore)?
Clinical trials have shown that Wegovy plus lifestyle interventions can help people lose an average of 15% of their body weight over a period of 16 to 68 weeks. This is significantly more weight loss than other weight loss drugs or lifestyle interventions alone.
In addition, Wegovy has also been shown to improve other health markers, such as blood sugar control and blood pressure.
How is Wegovy used in Singapore?
Wegovy is self-administered by a subcutaneous injection in a pre-filled pen to the abdomen, thigh or upper arm once weekly. A different spot should be used every week.
The initial dose is 0.25 mg once weekly for four weeks. It is increased at four-week intervals to the recommended dose of 2.4 mg once weekly.
Always use Wegovy exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to.
What are the side effects of Wegovy I should know about?
As with other Semaglutide-containing medications, Wegovy has some potential side effects. The most common side effects of Wegovy include nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain.
These side effects are usually mild to moderate and clinical studies demonstrated that they improve over time for most people. It is important to talk to a healthcare professional if you experience any persistent or severe symptoms.
In rare cases, Wegovy can cause more serious side effects such as pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, kidney problems, and allergic reactions.
It is important to speak with your doctor right away if you experience severe abdominal pain, persistent nausea or vomiting, or difficulty urinating.
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I heard Wegovy can cause cancer in Singapore! Is this true?
Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy, has been found to cause thyroid C-cell tumours in rodents during animal studies of the medication. It is currently unknown if it has the same effect in humans.
Wegovy should not be taken by people with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
If you have a history of these conditions, or if you experience any symptoms of thyroid cancer such as a lump or swelling in the neck, difficulty swallowing, or hoarseness, you should inform your healthcare provider immediately.
How do I get a prescription for Wegovy in Singapore?
Wegovy is approved for chronic weight management in patients who have a BMI of 30 or more and those with a lower BMI of 27 or more, with at least one weight-related medical problem (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol).
In Singapore, you will need a thorough assessment by a doctor to ensure Wegovy is the best medication for your weight loss.
Start your weight management journey with Sire today HERE!
What is the actual cost of Wegovy in Singapore?
Depending on the dosage prescribed, Wegovy ranges from SGD 300-500 for a month’s worth of supply.
Are there other medications containing Semaglutide? How do they compare?
The active ingredient in Wegovy – Semaglutide – can be found in two other medications: Ozempic and Rybelsus. Here we highlight the similarities and differences between them.
Sire stays on top of the latest medical advances relating to men’s health. We believe in providing you comprehensive information and empowering you with knowledge to make an informed decision.
Same active ingredient, different uses
Rybelsus, Ozempic and Wegovy are all developed by the same company – Novo Nordisk.
Rybelsus and Ozempic are approved by the US FDA only for the treatment of type 2 diabetes while Wegovy is approved by the US FDA only for chronic weight management in patients who have a BMI of 30 or more and those with a lower BMI of 27 or more, with at least one weight-related medical problem (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol).
Do Rybelsus, Ozempic and Wegovy work in the same way? What is their mechanism of action?
The Semaglutide family of medications: Rybelsus, Ozempic and Wegovy work by mimicking the action of the incretin hormone found in the gastrointestinal system, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels in the body.
Semaglutide acts like a natural incretin hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).
GLP-1 helps to stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas, which in turn helps to lower blood sugar levels.
In addition to its blood sugar-lowering effects, Semaglutide also helps to reduce appetite, which can aid in weight loss.
This is due to the fact that GLP-1 also acts on the hypothalamus in the brain to increase feelings of fullness and reduce feelings of hunger.
Its popularity resulted in shortages in the supply of Wegovy.
Ozempic was quickly being pushed to be prescribed off-label for weight loss, although it is not labelled for it. This resulted in a shortage of Ozempic as well in the United States, Australia and Europe. Diabetic users of Ozempic in these countries went scrambling in search of the supply or turn to other alternatives.
Closer to home, Singapore’s HSA reported that four listings of Ozempic and Wegovy have to be removed from sellers on local e-commerce platforms since the start of 2023.
In Singapore, Rybelsus, Ozempic and Wegovy can only be supplied upon a valid prescription.
Furthermore, the long-term safety of the Semaglutide family of medications have not been fully established as the majority of clinical trials are less than four years in duration.
Are Rybelsus, Ozempic and Wegovy taken the same way?
While Rybelsus is a daily oral medication, both Ozempic and Wegovy are weekly injectable medications.
Ozempic is available in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg and 1 mg/dose solution for injection in a pre-filled pen.
Wegovy is also available in the same dosage 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg and 1 mg/dose solution for injection in a pre-filled pen. A higher dosage is also available of 1.7 mg and 2.4/dose solution for injection is also available as a higher dose has been shown to be effective for weight management.
Ozempic and Wegovy are self-administered by subcutaneous injection into the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm at any time of day on the same day each week, with or without food.
Can I use Ozempic for my weight loss instead of Wegovy?
Although they have similar dosages and are self-administered by a pre-filled pen, Novo Nordisk the company that developed these medications have released a statement that they are not interchangeable.
Overall, Wegovy is a promising new option for people struggling with obesity in Singapore. However, it’s important to use Wegovy under the guidance of a healthcare professional and in combination with a healthy diet and exercise program.
In the next sections of this article, we take a closer look at how Wegovy compares to other weight loss drugs available in Singapore.
What are the other weight loss medications in Singapore?
At Sire, we bring you comprehensive and accurate health information you can trust – be in control of your health!
In Singapore, there are currently four other weight loss medications, namely: Liraglutide, Phentermine, Orlistat and Bupropion/Naltrexone. They are available HERE.
We look into these medications in detail.
All you need to know about Liraglutide (Saxenda)
What is Liraglutide (Saxenda)?
Similar to Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy, Liraglutide is also a GLP-1 receptor agonist that works by reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness.
Is Liraglutide (Saxenda) available in Singapore?
Yes! Liraglutide is available in Singapore. Like Wegovy, Liraglutide is developed by Novo Nordisk under the brand name Saxenda.
It is approved by HSA in May 2022 for the treatment of obesity in adults who have a BMI of 30 or more and those with a lower BMI of 27 or more, with at least one weight-related medical problem (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol).
You will need a valid prescription from a doctor to obtain this medication. Liraglutide is available on Sire HERE.
How effective is Liraglutide (Saxenda)?
Clinical trials have shown that Liraglutide plus lifestyle interventions can help people lose an average of 6% of their body weight over a period of 56 weeks.
Liraglutide’s weight loss effects are typically more modest than those seen with Wegovy.
Similar to Wegovy, Liraglutide has also been shown to improve other health markers, such as blood sugar control and blood pressure.
How is Liraglutide (Saxenda) used?
Unlike Wegovy, Liraglutide is a daily injection.
Liraglutide is administered subcutaneously in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm once daily. The initial dose is 0.6 mg daily for one week. The dose is increased at weekly intervals to the recommended dose of 3 mg.
Treatment with Liraglutide should be re-evaluated after 12 weeks, it is recommended to discontinue the medication if you did not lose at least 4% of your BMI on the 3.0 mg/day or maximum tolerated dose.
Always use Liraglutide under close supervision of a healthcare professional, use the medication exactly as prescribed.
What is the actual cost of Liraglutide (Saxenda) in Singapore?
The price of a Saxenda pen ranges from SGD 130-160. Once you are on the full dose of 3.0 mg/day, each pen will last for 6 days.
What are the side effects of Liraglutide (Saxenda) I should know about?
The side effect profile of Liraglutide (Saxenda) is similar to Semaglutide (Wegovy). The precautions on cancer apply for Liraglutide as well.
All you need to know about Phentermine
What is Phentermine?
Phentermine remains the most widely prescribed weight loss drug. It was approved in 1959 for short-term use for weight loss.
Phentermine works by stimulating the hypothalamus gland in the brain to suppress appetite and increase metabolism.
Is Phentermine available in Singapore?
Yes! There are currently two brands of Phentermine in Singapore – Duromine and Panbesy.
It should be noted that the US FDA approves Phentermine only for short-term usage (up to 12 weeks) due to its side effect profile.
How is Phentermine used?
Both Duromine and Panbesy are available in Singapore in the form of 15 mg or 30 mg capsules, to be taken by mouth.
Duromine or Panbesy should be taken in the morning, before breakfast or 1 to 2 hours after breakfast. You should avoid taking Duromine or Panbesy late in the evening as it may cause insomnia (difficulty sleeping at night).
Duromine or Panbesy should be taken exactly as instructed by your doctor.
How much does Phentermine cost in Singapore?
One capsule of Duromine or Panbesy costs between SGD 3-5, including a GP’s consultation fees.
What are the side effects of Phentermine I should know about?
Phentermine works by increasing metabolism. This can increase heart rate and blood pressure and cause insomnia, dry mouth, constipation and nervousness.
The use of Duromine or Panbesy should be limited to 12 weeks and under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Also, people with coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and hyperthyroidism should not use Duromine or Panbesy.
Always discuss potential side effects with a doctor before starting either Duromine or Panbesy.
What is the difference between Duromine and Panbesy?
Duromine and Panbesy contain the active ingredient Phentermine. As such, they work similarly and have a similar side effect profile.
There are currently no studies available to compare the effectiveness of Duromine and Panbesy directly.
The main difference between Duromine and Panbesy is the type of Phentermine it contains.
Duromine contains Phentermine as an ion-exchange resin complex while Panbesy contains Phentermine hydrochloride.
As an ion-exchange resin complex, Duromine releases Phentermine continuously over a 10 to 14 hour period. In comparison, Panbesy is absorbed over 3-4.4 hours.
It is likely that Duromine provides a longer-lasting and constant appetite suppression throughout the day since it is released more slowly and over a longer period. With Panbesy, its effect on appetite suppression may not be as long-lasting.
Also, with Phentermine being slowly absorbed into the bloodstream in smaller amounts over a longer period, the risk of side effects with Duromine may be lower as compared to Panbesy.
Always discuss with your doctor to find out if Duromine or Panbesy is right for you.
All you need to know about Orlistat
What is Orlistat?
Orlistat is a weight loss medication that works by blocking the absorption of fat in the gut.
It reduces dietary fat absorption by approximately 30%.
Is Orlistat available in Singapore?
Yes! Orlistat has been approved by HSA since 1999.
Xenical is the original branded version of Orlistat. As its patent period is over, generic Orlistat is also available in Singapore under the name “Obelit”.
Currently, you do not need a prescription to obtain Orlistat in Singapore. It can be purchased in limited quantities from a pharmacist.
Orlistat is available for the long-term treatment of obesity (up to 4 years) and is provided in 120 mg capsules. The recommended dose of Orlistat is 120 mg three times daily during or up to 1 hour after each main meal containing fat.
The dose can be omitted if the meal is missed or contains no fat.
If you take multivitamins, always inform your healthcare professional for advice. Orlistat can reduce the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K. It may be necessary to take your multivitamins at bedtime.
Orlistat should be taken exactly as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist.
How much does Orlistat cost in Singapore?
One capsule of Orlistat costs between SGD 2-5 in Singapore.
What are the side effects of Orlistat I should know about?
Although the long-term safety and efficacy of Orlistat for weight loss has been established, it is less effective than GLP-1 agonist therapy like Wegovy and Saxenda. It is often poorly tolerated due to its gastrointestinal side effects.
The most common side effect is gastrointestinal discomfort, such as oily or fatty stools, increased flatulence and abdominal pain. These side effects can be minimised by following a low-fat diet while taking the medication.
Always discuss potential side effects with a doctor or pharmacist before starting Orlistat.
All you need to know about Bupropion/Naltrexone (Contrave)
What is Contrave?
Contrave is a combination of two medications: Bupropion and Naltrexone.
Bupropion is used for the treatment of depression and smoking cessation. Naltrexone is used to treat alcohol and opioid addiction.
Bupropion and Naltrexone can work together to reduce food cravings and increase feelings of fullness.
Always discuss potential side effects with a doctor or pharmacist before starting Contrave.
Medications play only a small role in weight management
In summary, weight loss medications that work in Singapore are only approved for use in adults with a BMI of 30 or more and those with a lower BMI of 27 or more, with at least one weight-related medical problem (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol).
Other than Orlistat, all other weight loss medications like Wegovy, Saxenda, Duromine, Panbesy and Contrave require a valid prescription to obtain the medication in Singapore.
Weight loss medications should not be treated as miracle pills and should be used together with a healthy diet and exercise regimen. It is recommended to have a follow-up appointment after 12 weeks of treatment to ensure that you are achieving the weight loss goals. Medications like Duromine and Panbesy are only for short-term use.
Losing weight can improve your health and quality of life, but it is not always easy.
At Sire, we understand why a comparison of weight loss drugs is so important. For people struggling with obesity, it can be especially challenging to make meaningful progress. That’s where weight loss drugs come in – they can help jumpstart your weight loss journey and provide you with the support you need to achieve your goals.
A: Most weight loss drugs are generally safe to use, but they may have side effects that you should be aware of. It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any weight loss drug and to follow their instructions carefully.
Q: Do I still need to exercise and eat a healthy diet if I’m taking weight loss drugs?
A: Yes, taking weight loss drugs alone is not enough to achieve sustainable weight loss. You still need to make healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, to support your weight loss goals.
Q: Can I take multiple weight loss drugs at the same time?
A: It’s not recommended to take multiple weight loss drugs at the same time unless specifically directed by your doctor. Combining weight loss drugs can increase the risk of side effects and may not provide any additional benefits for weight loss.
Q: How long should I take weight loss drugs for?
A: The length of time you should take weight loss drugs depends on your individual weight loss goals and medical history. Your doctor will recommend a specific duration for taking weight loss drugs and may adjust this based on your progress.
Q: Can weight loss drugs cure obesity?
A: Weight loss drugs can help you lose weight and manage obesity, but they are not a cure. Sustainable weight loss requires a long-term commitment to a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet.
Q: Can weight loss drugs cause hair loss?
A: Weight loss drugs, like any medication, can potentially cause side effects, including hair loss. However, hair loss is not a common side effect associated with most weight loss drugs. It is important to note that the occurrence of hair loss can vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience this side effect.
In clinical trials, 3-4% of patients receiving subcutaneous Semaglutide injection like Wegovy and Ozempic reported hair loss with its use. However, it has yet to be established if the hair loss is due to the medication or weight loss itself.
Many factors can contribute to hair loss – losing weight, a change of diet and stress are some examples that can contribute to a type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium. This type of hair loss is usually temporary and reversible.
It is important that weight loss drugs be taken under the guidance of a health care professional. A well-balanced dietary strategy with nutritional guidance coupled with an exercise programme supports your weight loss journey holistically.
If you have concerns about hair loss while taking weight loss drugs, it is best to discuss them with your healthcare provider for personalised advice and guidance.
Q: Is it safe to buy weight loss medications online?
Online pharmacies may sell counterfeit or expired drugs, which can be dangerous for your health. It is also difficult to verify the authenticity and safety of these medications when purchased online.
Moreover, most weight loss medications require a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider, and buying them online without a prescription is illegal. Additionally, online purchases may not come with the necessary instructions and warnings regarding dosage and side effects.
If you are considering using weight loss medications, it is recommended to consult with a licensed healthcare provider who can evaluate your health condition and prescribe the appropriate medication. This will ensure that you are using safe and effective medication for your weight loss journey.
At Sire, we only provide safe and accurate information to help you achieve all your health goals. Want to know what Sire has to offer? Enquire with us today!
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