Ozempic vs Victoza: Differences & Similarities

GLP-1 receptor agonists are gaining popularity as treatments for type 2 diabetes. 

Not only can GLP-1 receptor agonists help lower your blood sugar, but they might also help you lose weight. 

Let’s compare two popular medications in this drug class – Ozempic vs Victoza.

What is Victoza (Liraglutide)?

Victoza is a brand name for the medication liraglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Victoza in 2010 for use in people with type 2 diabetes who are ten years of age and older. People with type 1 diabetes aren’t meant to use Victoza.

Victoza is a once-daily injectable medication and comes in prefilled injection pens. Victoza injector pens can administer doses of 0.6 milligrams, 1.2 milligrams, or 1.8 milligrams, with typical doses being 1.2 and 1.8 milligrams. Even though it’s injectable, Victoza isn’t the same as insulin. 

The typical starting dose of Victoza is 0.6 milligrams daily for at least one week, increasing to 1.2 milligrams daily for at least one week. Based on your tolerance and blood sugar response, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose up to a maximum dose of 1.8 milligrams daily.

What is Ozempic (Semaglutide)?

Ozempic is a brand name for an injectable form of semaglutide, a different type of GLP-1 receptor agonist. THE FDA approved Ozempic to treat type 2 diabetes in 2017, seven years after Victoza was approved for use.

The typical starting dose of Ozempic is 0.25 milligrams once weekly for four weeks, then 0.5 milligrams weekly for at least four weeks. If blood sugar targets aren’t met with 0.5 milligrams weekly, the dose can gradually increase to 2 milligrams weekly.

Like Victoza and other injectable diabetes medications, Ozempic should be injected under your skin, typically in your abdomen, thigh, or back of your arms. Ozempic shouldn’t be injected into your muscle or anywhere you don’t have much fat (subcutaneous tissue).

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How do Victoza and Ozempic work?

GLP-1 is a hormone that increases insulin secretion and slows stomach emptying. GLP-1 receptors in your pancreas help increase insulin secretion while reducing glucagon secretion, a hormone that raises blood sugar levels. Therefore, GLP-1 receptor agonists like Victoza and Ozempic activate these receptors to help lower blood sugar levels.

The hormone GLP-1 also plays a role in regulating appetite. Studies show that appetite hormones can be altered in people who are overweight or obese, which means they might feel more hungry compared to leaner people. 

In obese subjects, GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic and Victoza appear to restore a hormone activation pattern more similar to lean patients, which is one of the ways it might help you lose weight.

GLP-1 receptor agonists can also offer cardioprotective benefits, so they help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. The likely reason is due to improvements in blood sugar levels, reduction in weight, and improved blood pressure levels that you can obtain from using drugs like Ozempic and Victoza.

Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is especially important if you have diabetes since you’re two-to four-times more likely to have CVD than if you didn’t have diabetes.

Are Victoza and Ozempic the same?

As of 2022, seven GLP-1 receptor agonists are on the market to treat diabetes.

Victoza and Ozempic are both GLP-1 receptor agonists, but they aren’t the same. 

GLP-1 receptor agonist drug names (not the brand names) end in -ide, which is one way you can identify them.

Victoza vs Ozempic effectiveness

Victoza and Ozempic can effectively improve blood sugar control and promote weight loss. Weight loss can further improve insulin resistance and lower blood sugar, adding to the potential benefit of lowering blood sugar.


According to a 52-week study, Victoza reduced participants’ A1cs (mean baseline value of 8.2%) by 0.84% with a dose of 1.2 milligrams and by 1.14% with a dose of 1.8 milligrams. 

A review of 13 randomized controlled trials was done in 2011. The results showed that Victoza, when used alone or in combination with other diabetes medications, lowered hemoglobin A1c values by 0.84%-1.5%. In addition, Victoza promoted a 34% to 118% increase in insulin release among patients using it.

In terms of Victoza and weight loss: According to a study on patients without diabetes, Victoza resulted in an average weight loss of 11–16 pounds over 20 weeks, which was more than the patients receiving orlistat, a weight loss medication. 

Based on five randomized, placebo-controlled trials using Victoza for weight management, Victoza consistently resulted in a 4-6 kilogram (~9-13 pound weight loss). Most patients lost at least 5-10% of their initial body weight compared to the placebo.


According to clinical studies, Ozempic lowered A1c levels by around 1.5% after 30 weeks. A significant reduction of your A1c by over 1% represents improved glycemic control.

According to two different studies, most people taking Ozempic were able to get their hemoglobin A1c below 7%, which indicates good blood sugar control.

In a 40-week study, 0.5 milligrams of Ozempic weekly lowered average baseline A1c levels (8.3%) by 1.4%. A higher dose of 1 milligram weekly lowered the mean A1c levels (8.2%) by 1.6%.

Ozempic has also been proven to be effective at promoting weight loss. In a study of over 1,900 people without diabetes who were considered overweight or obese, the mean weight loss was 15% with 2.4 milligrams weekly of Ozempic compared to 2.4% with the placebo group over 68 weeks.

According to a 40-week trial on people with type 2 diabetes, people taking 0.5 milligrams of Ozempic weekly lost an average of 9.3 pounds (the average starting weight was 213 pounds), or about 4% of their body weight. 

People taking 1 milligram of Ozempic weekly lost an average of 12.8 pounds (average starting weight of 211 pounds) or around 6% of their body weight.

Weight loss of 5-10% of your initial body weight can improve blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, so these results are considered significant.

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Ease of use & benefits of Victoza vs Ozempic

  • Victoza is a once-daily injection, whereas Ozempic is a once-weekly injection. For that main reason, Ozempic is considered easy to use by most people.
  • Because it stays in your system longer, some people might experience more side effects with Ozempic vs Victoza. However, this will vary among individuals.
  • Victoza is approved for use in children as young as ten, while Ozempic is meant for people 18 years of age and older. 

Similarities and differences between Ozempic and Victoza


  • Both are GLP-1 receptor agonists and work to lower blood sugar and promote weight loss in similar ways.
  • Both come in prefilled injector pens.
  • They have similar side effects.


  • Victoza is approved for kids as young as ten, while the minimum recommended age for Ozempic is 18.
  • Ozempic is a once-weekly injection, whereas Victoza requires daily injections.
  • Victoza stays in your system for a shorter time after injection. Victoza’s half-life (the time it takes for half of the medication to be cleared from your system) is around 13 hours compared to around seven days for Ozempic, which is why one is a weekly dose and one is daily.

Ozempic vs Victoza side effects

Victoza and Ozempic have similar side effects since they work in similar ways. Victoza and Ozempic both cause delayed stomach emptying, which is why the most common side effects include upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting.

Ozempic side effects

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like upset stomach (nausea and vomiting), stomach pain, loss of appetite, heartburn, burping, gas, and bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation 
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Injection site pain
  • Low blood sugar (especially if you’re taking another diabetes medication like insulin or sulfonylureas)

Victoza side effects

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation

Warnings for Ozempic and Victoza

Ozempic and Victoza have similar warnings from the FDA. Some of the rarer but serious complications that might arise from taking Ozempic and Victoza include:


Inflammation of your pancreas can occur when taking GLP-1 receptor agonists such as Ozempic and Victoza. Look for signs of pancreatitis, like severe abdominal pain, with or without vomiting.

Gallbladder problems

You might develop gallbladder problems when taking Ozempic or Victoza. Signs of gallbladder issues include middle upper stomach pain, fever, nausea and vomiting, and the yellowing of the whites of your eyes.

Kidney problems (kidney failure)

If you already have kidney problems, side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting can cause a loss of fluids (dehydration), which can worsen your kidney problems, such as diabetic nephropathy

Thyroid cancer risk

In animal studies, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Victoza caused thyroid cancer in some mice and rats. It’s unknown whether taking these medications increases your risk of thyroid cancer.

You should avoid taking Ozempic or Victoza if you or anyone in your family have had medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), a type of thyroid cancer. You also shouldn’t take Ozempic or Victoza if you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

Diabetic retinopathy

Some studies show an increased risk of diabetic retinopathy when taking Ozempic. This risk appears to be significantly greater than Victoza.

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Which is cheaper, Ozempic or Victoza?

According to GoodRx, a prefilled pen containing 2 milligrams of Ozempic is in the $800-$1000 range without prescription coverage. If you were taking 1 milligram weekly, that would last two weeks and up to a month on a dose of 0.5 milligrams weekly.

Also according to GoodRx, two prefilled pens of Victoza containing 18 milligrams each cost around $740 out-of-pocket. That would last you 30 days if you were taking 1.2 milligrams daily.

That makes Victoza cheaper than Ozempic when comparing 1 milligram weekly of Ozempic and 1.2 milligrams daily of Victoza.

Can I switch from Ozempic to Victoza?

You shouldn’t switch between Ozempic and Victoza on a regular basis. Ozempic stays in your system much longer than Victoza, so alternating between the two medications regularly could cause more of the medication to be in your system than is safe.

Your healthcare provider might recommend switching from Ozempic to Victoza or vice versa on a one-time basis if you aren’t achieving your target blood sugar levels on the initial medication.

8 natural alternatives to Victoza and Ozempic

According to a 2021 study, berberine, tea, curcumin, cinnamon, wheat, soybean, resveratrol, and gardenia may all naturally boost GLP-1 concentrations and act as natural alternatives to Victoza and Ozempic.


A 2020 review of 12 trials on over 700 participants concluded that cinnamon supplementation significantly reduced body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and fat mass. 

Weight loss was more significant in people with a body mass index of 30 or greater and people under age 50. The amount of cinnamon that resulted in the most weight loss was at least 2 grams per day for at least 12 weeks.


You’ve probably heard of resveratrol in relation to red wine. Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in the skins of grapes and has beneficial protective effects against cardiovascular disease.

A 2020 meta-analysis of 36 randomized controlled trials concluded that resveratrol supplementation significantly reduced body weight, BMI, fat mass, and waist circumference, especially in obese patients. Resveratrol didn’t appear to impact leptin, the appetite hormones that promote satiety.


Victoza and Ozempic are both GLP-1 receptor agonists. Victoza is a daily injectable, and Ozempic is a once-weekly injectable.

While it varies individually, Ozempic may lower blood sugar levels more significantly and promote more weight loss than Victoza. 

Ozempic tends to be more expensive than Victoza, but the cost will vary based on your dose and insurance coverage.

Side effects are similar for Victoza and Ozempic, but Ozempic carries a higher risk of diabetic retinopathy.

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