Wegovy vs Ozempic: Which is better for weight loss?

Wegovy vs Ozempic
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mandy Liedeman

Overview

Wegovy and Ozempic share the active ingredient semaglutide but have different approved purposes. Ozempic is prescribed for managing type 2 diabetes, while Wegovy primarily functions as a weight loss medication.

Ozempic is prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes, whereas Wegovy is primarily a weight loss medication. Wegovy is specifically designed to address overweight and obesity concerns and has been approved for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher or a BMI of 27 or higher in combination with weight-related conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. 

Both drugs suppress appetite and delay stomach emptying, resulting in decreased food intake and, eventually, weight loss. Moreover, choosing the best medication for you as a part of a treatment plan involves individual health needs and is discussed thoroughly with a healthcare provider.

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Demystifying the differences

“When dealing with similar medications, navigating pharmaceutical options can be difficult. Wegovy and Ozempic are two medications containing the active component semaglutide but have different authorized uses. Wegovy is better as a weight loss medicine, whereas Ozempic is focused on type 2 diabetes.” says Dr. Mandy Liedeman.

Based on the doctor’s valuable insights, this article explores indications, mechanisms of action, and possible side effects for Wegovy and Ozempic.

wegovy vs ozempic major differences

Are Wegovy and Ozempic the same drug?

Wegovy and Ozempic are two different brand names for the active ingredient, semaglutide. Despite the same active ingredient, these medications are tailored for distinct user groups. Ozempic is used for individuals dealing with type 2 diabetes, whereas Wegovy primarily serves as a medication for weight loss.

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How do these medications work?

Ozempic and Wegovy work by decreasing appetite, delaying stomach emptying, reducing hunger, and diminishing food intake. People eat less because they feel less hungry and their stomachs empty more slowly. They are administered as weekly injections, and these medications may induce some undesirable gastrointestinal side effects. Moreover, the dosages contained in the pens vary depending on the intended user.

Weighing the applications

Finding your way among the two options can be particularly challenging when dealing with medications that share active ingredients. Ozempic and Wegovy both medications have the same effect of decreasing hunger and slowing stomach emptying, but they serve different medical purposes.

Approved uses: Ozempic vs. Wegovy

Ozempic is a medication adults with type 2 diabetes can use to manage their blood sugar levels better and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. The FDA has approved it. Weight management with Wegovy is safe and effective for adults and children over 12.

Although both medications contain the same active ingredient, they are intended for use by different groups of people. Ozempic is usually prescribed at lower doses than Wegovy. 

Both drugs are administered once a week and may cause unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms. Doctors can prescribe Ozempic off-label for weight loss, but only Wegovy has FDA approval. The table below clearly highlights the differences and similarities between the two drugs:

FeatureOzempicWegovy
Brand NameOzempicWegovy
Active IngredientSemaglutideSemaglutide
FDA ApprovalType 2 Diabetes ManagementWeight Management (12 years and older)
Additional FDA ApprovalLowering Heart Disease Risk (Type 2 Diabetes)N/A
Targeted User GroupsAdults with Type 2 DiabetesAdults and Children (12 years and older)
DosageNormally, a lower dosage than WegovyNormally, a higher dosage than Ozempic
Prescription UsageType 2 diabetes management, off-label for weight lossWeight management
AdministrationWeekly injectionsWeekly injections
Gastrointestinal EffectsPotential side effectsPotential side effects
Off-Label Usage for Weight LossYesNo (FDA-approved for weight management)
Approved uses: Ozempic vs. Wegovy
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Recent safety concerns and risk assessment

Recent safety considerations and risk assessments for using Ozempic and Wegovy (semaglutide) include several key areas. Pancreatic safety has been a focus, with studies linking semaglutide use to pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Similarly, there have been concerns about thyroid cancer even though clinical trials have found no increased risk. Gallbladder events, such as gallstones and cholecystitis, have been linked to semaglutide.

While semaglutide has shown cardiovascular benefits in some studies, there are still concerns about potential side effects. Acute kidney injury has also been linked to semaglutide use, though the associated risk is not fully understood.

Diabetic retinopathy events have been reported in some trials, but the overall risk is not fully understood. There have also been reports of gastrointestinal side effects ranging from mild to moderate and transient disturbances, as well as injection-site reactions and allergic responses.

Given these factors, individuals must thoroughly discuss with their healthcare providers before beginning semaglutide treatment, carefully weighing the potential risks and benefits. Healthcare professionals, in turn, should closely monitor patients for adverse events and make changes to the treatment plan as needed.

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Side effects comparison: Wegovy vs. Ozempic

Wegovy contains a higher dose of semaglutide; its side effects can be more severe than those of Ozempic. Both medications have been associated with pancreatitis, gallbladder events, and acute kidney injury.

The table below summarizes the differences between Wegovy and Ozempic based on their side effects, severity, associated conditions, the importance of patient-provider discussion, and the need to monitor adverse events.

Side EffectsWegovyOzempic
Gastrointestinal EffectsNausea,  gas, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, headache, fatigue, indigestion, dizziness, bloating, abdominal pain.Nausea,  gas, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, headache, fatigue, indigestion, dizziness, bloating, abdominal pain.
Severity of Side EffectsMore severe due to higher semaglutide doseGenerally less severe due to a lower semaglutide dose
Associated ConditionsPancreatitis, gallbladder events, acute kidney injury, thyroid cancer, diabetic retinopathyPancreatitis, gallbladder events, acute kidney injury, thyroid cancer, diabetic retinopathy
Monitoring for Adverse EventsCrucial for vigilant monitoringCrucial for vigilant monitoring
Side effects: Wegovy vs Ozempic

Finding your perfect fit

As you start your health journey, you can discuss with your healthcare providers for making personalized decisions. This comprehensive guide aims to help people navigate the complexities of Wegovy and Ozempic, allowing them to find the best fit for better health.

Concerned about side effects? Compare Wegovy and Ozempic with expert advice. Consult for a personalized risk assessment.

Who is eligible for Wegovy or Ozempic?

Wegovy Eligibility:

  • Primarily recommended for weight loss.
  • Obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above. In contrast, overweight is defined as a BMI of 27 or above and is associated with health problems like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Ozempic Eligibility:

  • For use by those who have type 2 diabetes and require controlling their blood sugar levels.
  • It helps certain adults with type 2 diabetes reduce their risk of cardiovascular complications.
  • Prescribed specifically for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
  • Additional Considerations.

Aside from the primary uses and potential side effects, there are other factors and considerations to consider when considering medications such as Wegovy and Ozempic. One critical consideration is the cost and insurance coverage for these medications.

The ease of administration influences medication adherence. Both Wegovy and Ozempic require weekly injections, and people may have preferences or concerns about the convenience and comfort of this method of administration. Discussing these practical considerations with healthcare providers can help ensure the treatment plan fits the individual’s lifestyle and preferences.

Individual responses to medications can also differ; some patients may have better results with one drug over another. For people who have comorbidities or are taking other medications, potential drug interactions should be thoroughly discussed to avoid side effects and ensure the overall safety of the treatment plan.

Have more questions about Wegovy and Ozempic? Get answers from our healthcare experts.

Dosing, forms, and administration explained

The dosing, forms, and administration of Wegovy and Ozempic (semaglutide) are as follows:

AspectOzempicWegovy
DosingInitial: After four weeks of 0.25 mg, the dosage was raised to 0.5 mg weekly. A weekly dose of 1 mg may help some people maintain a healthy blood sugar level.Recommended: 2.4 mg once weekly. Increased over 16 to 20 weeks to 2.4 mg once weekly
FormsInjection in prefilled, single-dose pens. Doses: 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, or 2.4 mg per injectionInjection in prefilled, single-dose pens. Doses: 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2.4 mg per injection
Administrationsubcutaneously (under the skin) once weekly.Site of injection: upper arm, thigh, or abdomen. After every dosage, change the location.Subcutaneously (under the skin) once weekly.Site of injection: upper arm, thigh, or abdomen. After every dosage, change the location.
Dosing, forms, and administration explained

Conclusion: Making an informed choice for your health

Sticking to your healthcare providers’ specific dosing and administration instructions on the medication’s packaging for Ozempic and Wegovy is important. People are encouraged to consult their doctors or pharmacists if they have any questions or concerns regarding the usage of these medications.

Ready to make an informed choice for your health? Connect with a healthcare provider for guidance on Ozempic or Wegovy.

Frequently asked questions

Do Wegovy and Ozempic users need to stay on the drugs forever for weight loss?

“No, Wegovy and Ozempic users do not necessarily need to stay on the drugs forever for weight loss. Consulting with your doctor is important to determine the treatment duration aligned with your needs and goals,” says Dr. Mandy Liedeman.

Both drugs require injections. Are there alternatives for people with needle phobias?

Yes, there are alternatives for individuals with needle phobias. Instead of subcutaneous injections like Wegovy and Ozempic, options include oral medications, transdermal patches, inhalers, and nasal sprays for weight loss and diabetes management. For example, Rybelsus (semaglutide) is available in oral form.

What is the current understanding of the potential retinopathy risk with these medications?

Yes, the use of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic, has been associated with an increased risk of diabetic retinopathy. Patients, especially those with a history of retinopathy, should be closely monitored for signs of new or worsening retinopathy when using these medications.

Are there any risks associated with abruptly stopping Wegovy or Ozempic?

Yes, discontinuing Wegovy or Ozempic has potential risks and side effects, including the worsening of underlying health problems like type 2 diabetes or heart disease and increasing the risk of serious events such as heart attacks or strokes. Studies suggest weight regain after stopping these medications, and side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and headaches may return or worsen.

Some users report facial slimming with Ozempic, leading to concerns about gauntness. Is this common, and are there ways to manage it?

No, it is not common; however, some people using Ozempic have reported a side effect known as “Ozempic face,” characterized by a loss of facial fat that can lead to a more aged appearance. This outcome is linked to the medication’s efficacy in promoting weight loss, resulting in reduced fat tissue in the face and potential effects on skin elasticity, including lines, wrinkles, and sagging.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Wojtara, Magda, Ashmita Mazumder, Yusra Syeda, and Nikodem Mozgała. “Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists for Chronic Weight Management.” Advances in Medicine 2023 (2023).
  • https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/2023/02/ozempic-or-wegovy-weight-loss-doctors-urge-caution
  • https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/difference-between-ozempic-wegovy-3565564/

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