Wegovy and Ozempic are two injectable drugs with the same active ingredient, Semaglutide.
However, one is prescribed for weight loss (Wegovy), while the other is for diabetes (Ozempic). Let’s understand why and shed light on the similarities and differences between these two drugs.

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Related article: Wegovy Vs. Mounjaro: Understanding The Differences In Weight Loss & Diabetes Therapies.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy (semaglutide) was approved by the FDA in 2021. It is an injectable prescription medicine indicated for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol). Wegovy is not approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy, is a GLP-1 agonist drug. It primarily works by mimicking a hormone in the body (GLP-1), targeting areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake.
Wegovy injections help decrease feelings of hunger, increase satiety (feeling of fullness), and slow stomach emptying, ultimately reducing calorie intake and promoting weight loss. To be an effective weight management treatment, Wegovy must be taken with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
Wegovy is administered weekly by subcutaneous injection (just under the skin). Patients are responsible for self-injecting the medicine in the comfort of their homes.
It comes in easy-to-use, prefilled, single-dose injector pens containing different doses of semaglutide: 0.25 mg (green pen), 0.5 mg (red pen), 1 mg (brown pen), 1.7 mg (blue pen), 2.4 mg (black pen).
The typical dosing schedule starts with 0.25 mg once a week. The dose is then gradually increased throughout 16 to 20 weeks until you reach the 2.4 mg strength. However, dosage may vary depending on your individual needs. Always follow your doctor’s prescription.
Related articleWegovy Vs. Saxenda, Comparing Two Weight-Loss Injections.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic (semaglutide) was approved by the FDA in 2017. It is an injectable prescription medicine indicated for adults with type 2 diabetes. It helps improve blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease. Ozempic is not approved for weight loss management.
Ozempic contains the same active ingredient as Wegovy: semaglutide. It works by mimicking the GLP-1 hormone. This hormone is normally released after a meal. It has multiple effects on the body that help control blood sugar levels, including stimulating insulin release, slowing gastric emptying, and suppressing appetite.
Like Wegovy, Ozempic is administered once a week by subcutaneous injection (just under the skin). The treatment starts at 0.25 mg for 4 weeks and increases gradually to a maintenance dose of 0.5 mg or 1.0 mg of semaglutide.
Ozempic also comes in prefilled autoinjector pens containing 4 doses of semaglutide (one month's worth of medicine). They are available in different strengths (0.5 mg, 1 mg, or 2 mg).
Many GLP-1 agonist drugs are used to treat either weight issues or diabetes, including Wegovy, OzempicTrulicityVictozaSaxenda, and Byetta. Each has its own particularities, and the choice between them depends on many factors that must be evaluated by a professional healthcare provider. Every patient responds differently to medicine. What works well for one person may not work for another. Always ask for your doctor's advice; never take these medicines without a medical prescription or supervision.
Related article: Mounjaro Vs. Ozempic: Comparison in Weight Loss Efficacy.

Wegovy Vs. Ozempic: Comparison

While Ozempic and Wegovy contain the same active drug (semaglutide), they are not the same medicine. They share many similarities but also differ in many ways. Here's an overview of how Wegovy and Ozempic compare across different dimensions:

FDA-approvals: weight loss vs. diabetes

As mentioned above, Wegovy and Ozempic contain the exact same drug but are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for different purposes.
Wegovy is a semaglutide injection approved for chronic weight management. It is not approved for type 2 diabetes.
On the other hand, Ozempic is a semaglutide injection approved for type 2 diabetes treatment. It is not approved for weight loss.
That difference in approvals and uses is mainly due to different doses of semaglutide and specific clinical trials conducted for each drug. While Ozempic was specifically studied for treating type 2 diabetes, Wegovy was studied for weight loss purposes. Specific results of the clinical trials led to them being approved for different purposes. This reflects how a single substance can have multiple applications in medicine, depending on how it's used.

Related article: Does Insulin Need to Be Refrigerated? How to Store Your Pens Correctly?

Same administration, different dosages

Both Wegovy and Ozempic are administered once a week by subcutaneous injection (just under the skin). The patient self-injects their medicine at home thanks to easy-to-use prefilled injector pens.
However, the dosage is one of the main differences between Ozempic pens and Wegovy pens. Wegovy contains a higher dose of semaglutide than Ozempic and can be delivered in 2.4 mg strength, while the maximum dose for Ozempic is 1 mg weekly.
Another difference between the two injector pens is that Wegovy pens are single doses (you need a new one every week), while Ozempic pens contain 4 weekly doses (one month’s worth of semaglutide injections).

Different storage instructions

Both Wegovy and Ozempic must be kept refrigerated. Semaglutide is a temperature-sensitive medicine that quickly deteriorates when exposed to high temperatures and light.
But while Ozempic can be unrefrigerated for up to 56 days at room temperature, Wegovy can only stay for 28 days out of the fridge. That difference is due to different drug concentrations and the use of different preservatives.
Related article: Does Wegovy Need to Be Refrigerated? How to Store Your Pens?

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Same mechanisms of action

Again, Wegovy and Ozempic contain the active ingredient semaglutide, which mimics the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).
This hormone is normally released by the intestines after a meal and has several effects on the body:

  • It stimulates insulin production (helps lower blood sugar levels, Ozempic prescription)
  • It decreases glucagon production (helps lower blood sugar levels, Ozempic prescription)
  • It slows stomach emptying (helps lose weight, Wegovy prescription)
  • It regulates appetite (helps lose weight, Wegovy prescription)

Although Wegovy is used for weight loss, it also helps improve blood sugar levels. The reverse is also true: while Ozempic is used for diabetes, it also has weight loss benefits.

Related article: What is Saxenda & How to Use Its Injector Pen for Weight Loss?

Efficacy for weight loss

Wegovy and Ozempic are often compared regarding their efficacy for weight loss. Indeed, both Wegovy and Ozempic contain semaglutide and can aid in weight loss.
In a clinical trial, Wegovy demonstrated a significant effect on weight loss. In one study, people who took Wegovy lost an average of 12.4% of their initial body weight over 68 weeks compared to 6.4% for those on placebo.
Ozempic, on the other hand, is primarily approved to treat type 2 diabetes. However, weight loss can be a beneficial side effect of Ozempic. Clinical trials have shown that Ozempic can lead to an average weight loss of between 2.3kg and 6.4kg, depending on the dose used (0.5mg or 1.0mg) and the length of the treatment. However, Ozempic is not approved or marketed specifically for weight loss.
When comparing the two, it's important to remember that while both drugs can aid in weight loss, Wegovy is specifically designed for this purpose and used at a higher dose (2.4mg once weekly). In comparison, Ozempic primarily aims to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes and is used at lower doses (0.5mg or 1.0mg once weekly).
Weight loss from these medications also comes along with lifestyle changes, including a reduced-calorie diet and physical activity.
In any case, always consult a healthcare provider for the most personalized and up-to-date information and determine which medication (if any) is most appropriate for you.

Related article: How Does Mounjaro Work for Weight Loss and Diabetes?

Comparable side effects

Wegovy and Ozempic have similar side effects caused by semaglutide. The most common side effects of both drugs are gastrointestinal ones, like nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, and others.
Both Wegovy and Ozempic can cause serious side effects, including pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, kidney disorders, hypoglycemia, and others.
Both drugs carry a warning about the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma. They should not be used in people with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or in those with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
The higher dose of semaglutide in Wegovy (2.4 mg weekly compared to 0.5 or 1.0 mg weekly for Ozempic) could theoretically increase the risk or severity of side effects. However, the body's reaction to medications is complex and can't be predicted solely based on the dosage.
Based on the clinical trials leading to their approval, the rates of these side effects appear to be comparable for Ozempic and Wegovy.

Wegovy vs. Ozempic: Cost

Regarding costs, Wegovy is more expensive than Ozempic. Out-of-pocket costs of Wegovy are around $1,500 per month, while a one-month supply of Ozempic costs a bit less, with an average of $1,100.
However, the cost of these medications can vary greatly depending on health insurance coverage, pharmacy, and location.
Remember that each drug comes with its own benefits and potential side effects. Choosing between Wegovy, Ozempic, or other weight loss and diabetes drugs, like the new Mounjaro injections, will depend mainly on an individual's health needs and goals. While it's essential to understand the basic characteristics of each medication, the decision to use one over the other should always be made in close consultation with your doctor.
The goal of this article and its subsequent discussion is not to provide medical advice but to foster informed conversation about these important health topics.


June 19, 2023

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The information presented in this article and its comment section is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns or questions you may have.