The approval of Wegovy and Ozempic has significantly impacted the management of type 2 diabetes and obesity. But are these medications the same? We discuss the similarities and differences as well as review other similar medications.
Wegovy and Ozempic contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide, but are FDA approved for different conditions.
Wegovy is used for weight loss and used at a dosage of 2.4 mg weekly, whereas Ozempic is for type 2 diabetes at doses of 0.5 to 1 mg weekly.
Rybelsus is a recently approved oral form of semaglutide, the first in its class.
Overall, Wegovy and Ozempic may be the most effective and safest GLP-1 receptor activators for treating weight loss and type 2 diabetes.
Wegovy vs. Ozempic: Are they the same?
Wegovy and Ozempic are brand names for the same generic medication, semaglutide, and are produced by the same manufacturer Novo Nordisk. They work by activating the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor in the body, allowing the body to secrete the right amount of insulin needed to reduce blood sugar while preventing the body from producing its own glucose. Additionally, they can reduce appetite and slow food movement through the intestines.
However, the two brand names are not the same and have different uses. Let's discuss the main differences between them.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Wegovy for treating obesity in patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. It can be used in overweight people (BMI > 27) with health conditions related to being overweight. It is taken at a dose of 2.4 mg, higher than the dosages used by Ozempic.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Ozempic for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus. It is typically prescribed in a dosage of either 0.5 mg or 1 mg, but even at these doses, it can produce some weight loss, just not as significantly as Wegovy. It effectively improves glucose control without causing significant episodes of low blood sugar.
|FDA-approved purpose||Weight loss in patients with BMI > 30 or >27 with health-related conditions||Type 2 diabetes mellitus|
|Dosage||2.4 mg weekly||0.5 to 1 mg weekly|
|Cost||$1349.02 per month||$935.77 per month|
|Insurance coverage||Depends on the plan||Typically, but refer to the plan's details|
Is Wegovy better than Ozempic?
When comparing Wegovy and Ozempic, it is difficult to say one is better than the other, because in actuality, they are the same medication. Although they are used for different reasons and dosages, they work similarly. Clinical research has confirmed they are both effective in treating the diseases the FDA has approved.
Which is better for weight loss: Wegovy or Ozempic?
Yes. Wegovy has been shown to produce more weight loss than Ozempic. In clinical studies, semaglutide at a dosage of 2.4 mg once a week produced a significantly greater weight loss than when used at the lower doses of 0.5 mg and 1 mg weekly. This is why the FDA approved semaglutide at a dosage of 2.4 mg (Wegovy) for weight loss.
However, to be fair, Ozempic does produce weight loss when taken at the 0.5 and 1 mg doses, but again, just not as much weight loss. Also, clinical trials have not compared the maximum dose of Ozempic, 2 mg, to Wegovy's 2.4 mg.
How much do Wegovy and Ozempic cost?
This is another important difference between these medications. For instance, not all insurance companies cover Wegovy, making it significantly more expensive than Ozempic. Without insurance Wegovy will cost about $1,349.02/package for a one-month supply. Ozempic, on the other hand, costs approximately $935.77/month without insurance.
If you have been having trouble affording Wegovy or Ozempic, check out the Novo Nordisk Patient Assistance Program, as it may be able to get you these medications at a reduced cost or no cost to you.
What are the side effects of Wegovy and Ozempic?
Many of the side effects of Wegovy and Ozempic are due to their action on the gastrointestinal tract. The common side effects reported are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, stomach upset, bloating, and gas. In addition to gastrointestinal complaints, headache, dizziness, and fatigue have been reported to occur when taking these medications.
In the media, it's been stated that Ozempic is associated with losing too much fat in the face, and have nicknamed this occurrence Ozempic face. However, this is likely due to the rapid and dramatic weight loss associated with these medications, and this complaint has not been reported in clinical trials.
Rare side effects such as pancreatitis and retinopathy, have been reported with the use of these medications. If you have a history of thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia 2 (MEN2), you should not take Ozempic or Wegovy.
Wegovy and Ozempic dosage
The maximum dose of Wegovy is 2.4 mg once a week. However, when starting this medication, the initial dose begins at 0.25 mg once a week for four weeks. Then for four months, it is gradually increased, and at month five, you will start taking the 2.4 mg dosage.
Similarly, Ozempic starts at a dosage of 0.25 mg once a week for four weeks, then increases to 0.5 mg once a week. If you still require better control of your blood sugar levels, it can be increased to 1 mg once a week and ultimately up to 2 mg.
Wegovy and Ozempic compared to other drugs
Wegovy and Ozempic are not the only medications within the class of activators of the glucagon-like protein 1 receptor. Thus, it is important to discuss additional options and how they may compare to Wegovy and Ozempic.
Saxenda is the brand name for liraglutide, which works like Wegovy and Ozempic. However, compared head-to-head with Wegovy, it achieved a significantly better reduction in weight loss. Wegovy, when combined with diet and exercise, was able to achieve a 15.8% weight reduction, whereas Saxenda achieved a 6.4% reduction.
In addition, Saxenda has to be injected once a day compared to the once-weekly dosing associated with Wegovy and Ozempic. Regarding blood sugar control, semaglutide has been shown to be better than liraglutide.
Mounjaro, or tirzepatide, is another GLP-1 receptor activator that works similarly to Wegovy and Ozempic. There has been one head-to-head trial between Ozempic and Mounjaro in which patients on Mourjaro lost 12 pounds more than those taking Ozempic after 40 weeks of use. However, this trial did not use the 2.4 mg weekly dose of Wegovy but rather compared the weight-loss dose of Mourjarno vs. the Ozempic 1 mg dose for Type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, more patients discontinued using Mourjaro due to side effects than the Ozempic group. Considering all the information available, Wegovy may be able to produce a similar degree of weight loss to Mourjaro in a more tolerable, safer manner.
Rybelsus contains the same active ingredient as Wegovy and Ozempic (semaglutide). Rybelsus has been shown to produce similar results in lowering blood sugar levels and reducing weight as its injectable counterparts. However, rather than a subcutaneous injection, Rybelsus is an oral pill taken once daily rather than weekly. This may be an advantage for people with phobias or difficulty administering an injection.
Are Ozempic and Wegovy the same medication?
Yes. Ozempic and Wegovy are both brand-name versions of semaglutide. However, Ozempic is used at lower doses, 0.5 to 1 mg, for treating type 2 diabetes, and Wegovy is used at 2.4 mg doses for treating obesity.
How much weight can you lose in a month with Wegovy?
Wegovy has been shown to produce an average weight loss of 35 pounds when used for two years. Similar amounts of weight loss can be seen with shorter durations of therapy (68 weeks of use). It is advised to supplement Wegovy with diet and exercise to increase weight loss.
Can a non-diabetic take Ozempic for weight loss?
Yes. Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, can be used for weight loss even if you do not have type 2 diabetes. Although Ozempic is only available in a max dose of 2 mg, this dosage can be used off-label to produce significant weight loss.
- Journal of Investigative Medicine. Wegovy (semaglutide): a new weight loss drug for chronic weight management.
- NovoCare. What is the list price for Wegovy and will it impact me?
- NovoCare. Find out the cost for Ozempic.
- Nature Medicine. Two-year effects of semaglutide in adults with overweight or obesity: the STEP 5 trial.
- JAMA. Effect of Weekly Subcutaneous Semaglutide vs Daily Liraglutide on Body Weight in Adults With Overweight or Obesity Without Diabetes.
Show all references
- The New England Journal of Medicine. Tirzepatide versus Semaglutide Once Weekly in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.
- Frontiers in Endocrinology. Efficacy of Semaglutide in a Subcutaneous and an Oral Formulation.