- What is Ozempic?
- What is Wegovy?
- Is Ozempic the same as Wegovy?
- Wegovy vs Ozempic effectiveness
- Which is better for weight loss – Wegovy or Ozempic?
- Is Wegovy stronger than Ozempic?
- Benefits of Wegovy vs Ozempic
- Which medication has fewer side effects?
- Which medication is cheaper?
- Can you take Wegovy and Ozempic together?
- Are there any natural alternatives to Wegovy and Ozempic?
There are over 20,000 prescription drug products that the Food and Drug Administration has approved.
With dozens of new drugs gaining FDA approval each year, it can get tricky to keep track of the newest ones on the market.
Wegovy and Ozempic are both FDA-approved prescription drugs.
They share the same drug name, which might make it all even more confusing.
If they’re the same medication, why do they have different names?
We’ll guide you through the comparison of Wegovy vs Ozempic and answer all your questions.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a brand name for the generic medication semaglutide, which the FDA approved in 2017. Ozmepic is in a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists.
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. This is a hormone that raises blood sugar levels. GLP-1 receptor agonists activate these receptors to help control blood sugar levels.
Ozempic is a non-insulin injectable medication to treat type 2 diabetes. Ozempic isn’t for people with type 1 diabetes.
The typical dose of Ozempic is 0.25 milligrams once weekly for four weeks, then 0.5 milligrams weekly for at least four weeks.
If you don’t meet your blood sugar targets with 0.5 milligrams weekly, your doctor could gradually increase your dose to a maximum of 2 milligrams weekly.
What is Wegovy?
Wegovy is a different brand name for the same medication as Ozempic (semaglutide). Even though it’s the same medication, Wegovy is intended for different use and has different dosages than Ozempic.
Wegovy was approved by the FDA in 2021 to be used for weight management and weight loss. Unlike Ozempic, Wegovy can be used in people without diabetes.
Wegovy dosages start at 0.25 milligrams per week and increase to a maximum of 2.4 milligrams per week. Wegovy is meant for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or higher.
You might notice you’re less hungry while eating less than you did before taking Wegovy. Wegovy works to promote weight loss by slowing down digestion time and altering hormones that impact your appetite.
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Is Ozempic the same as Wegovy?
Ozempic and Wegovy are the same drug (semaglutide), but have different brand names, dosages, and FDA-approved intended uses.
Wegovy vs Ozempic effectiveness
Losing 5-10% of your initial body weight can help improve insulin sensitivity and may reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Both Wegovy and Ozempic have shown to be very effective at promoting weight loss.
Ozempic has been studied for its ability to improve blood sugars since it’s intended to treat diabetes, not to be used as a weight-loss drug.
Because these two drugs are intended for different purposes, comparing their efficacy is difficult. Here are some of the statistics regarding both medications:
Ozempic and weight loss
In a study of over 1,900 people (without diabetes) considered overweight or obese, taking 2.4 milligrams of Ozempic weekly resulted in an average weight loss of nearly 15% compared to 2.4% with the placebo group (1).
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.
Ozempic and blood sugar
According to clinical studies, Ozempic lowered A1c levels (indication of blood sugar control) by around 1.5% after 30 weeks. According to two different studies, most people taking Ozempic were able to get their hemoglobin A1c below 7%, indicating good blood sugar control.
Wegovy and weight loss
A study was done on almost 2,000 overweight or obese adults without diabetes. Participants taking Wegovy lost an average of 35 pounds over the 68-week study, about 15% of their starting body weight. Overall, 83% of people taking Wegovy lost at least 5% of their body weight.
Which is better for weight loss – Wegovy or Ozempic?
As you might have noticed from the numbers above, Wegovy has been shown to elicit more significant weight loss, according to studies.
Keep in mind that the studies on Wegovy were on people without diabetes. Having diabetes can make it more difficult to lose weight due to insulin resistance. This is one factor that could impact the significance of weight loss observed in the studies.
Is Wegovy stronger than Ozempic?
Wegovy’s maximum dose is 2.4 milligrams weekly compared to Ozempic’s maximum dose of 2 milligrams weekly, making it stronger than Ozempic. This may be one of the reasons Wegovy causes more significant weight loss compared to weight loss with Ozempic.
Benefits of Wegovy vs Ozempic
Benefits of Wegovy:
- You can use it even if you don’t have diabetes.
- It seems to be more effective at promoting weight loss compared to Ozempic.
Benefits of Ozempic:
- It can promote weight loss and help manage type 2 diabetes.
- It is less expensive than Wegovy.
Which medication has fewer side effects?
Because Wegovy and Ozempic are the same drug, they have identical risks and side effects. Wegovy is available in a slightly higher dosage than Ozempic, so you might be more likely to experience side effects on Wegovy only for that reason.
Some of the most common side effects of taking Ozempic and Wegovy include:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms like upset stomach (nausea and vomiting), stomach pain, loss of appetite, heartburn, burping, gas, and bloating
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Injection site pain
- Low blood sugar (especially if you’re taking another diabetes medication like insulin or sulfonylureas)
Thyroid cancer risk
The FDA has issued a black box warning for both Ozempic and Wegovy for their potential to cause thyroid cancer.
Semaglutide has caused thyroid cancer in rodents. There is a chance that Ozempic and Wegovy may cause thyroid cancer, but it isn’t clear if taking these medications increases your thyroid cancer risk.
You shouldn’t take Ozempic or Wegovy if you have a history of thyroid cancer or a thyroid tumor. You should also avoid taking them if anyone in your family has a history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), a type of thyroid cancer.
Moreover, you should avoid taking Ozempic and Wegovy if you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2). MEN2 is a rare disorder that causes tumors to form on glands that make hormones, such as the thyroid.
If you experience any of these symptoms while taking Ozempic or Wegovy, you should alert your healthcare provider immediately:
- A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
- Swelling in the neck
- Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
- Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- A constant cough that is not due to a cold
Which medication is cheaper?
Ozempic and Wegovy are newer medications, which means they are more expensive than some of the older drugs like metformin for diabetes.
Ozempic is less expensive than Wegovy, but it’s still pricey, especially if you’re paying out of pocket.
According to GoodRx, a prefilled pen containing 2 milligrams of Ozempic is in the $800-$900 range without prescription coverage. 4 prefilled pens with 0.25 milligrams each of Wegovy (a total of 2 milligrams) start at $1300 according to GoodRx.
It might be more difficult to get your insurance to cover Wegovy since it’s for weight loss. Insurance companies typically have set standards for what they will or won’t cover for weight management.
If you have diabetes and it hasn’t been well-managed with other medications, insurance companies may be more likely to cover Ozempic, making it more affordable.
Can you take Wegovy and Ozempic together?
No. Wegovy and Ozempic shouldn’t be taken together since that would likely lead to an overdose of the medication.
If you take Ozempic for diabetes and want to use Wegovy to lose weight, ask your healthcare provider about increasing your Ozempic dose to the maximum of 2 milligrams weekly.
Are there any natural alternatives to Wegovy and Ozempic?
Wegovy and Ozempic help boost levels of GLP-1, a hormone responsible for increasing insulin release and slowing gastric emptying.
According to a 2021 study in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, berberine, tea, curcumin, cinnamon, wheat, soybean, resveratrol, and gardenia may all naturally boost GLP-1 concentrations and act as natural alternatives to Wegovy and Ozempic (2).
Wegovy and Ozempic are the same drug but are manufactured under different brand names with different intended uses. Wegovy’s dose is slightly higher than Ozempic’s, which is one reason it may elicit more weight loss in studies compared to Ozempic.
Both medications promote weight loss in overweight and obese people, but only Ozempic is approved to treat type 2 diabetes.