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What is better for weight loss Ozempic or Wegovy?

What is better for weight loss Ozempic or Wegovy?

Stefano Mirabello NowPatientGreen tick
Medically reviewed by Stefano Mirabello, BPharm and written by Rajive Patel, BPharm - Updated on 8 Sep 2023
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OverviewKey information about WegovyKey information about OzempicWegovy vs. OzempicWhich one is more effective?Additional tips for weight lossSources

If you’re considering medication to help manage diabetes or weight loss, you may have heard of Wegovy and Ozempic. These two injectable prescription drugs are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to help reduce weight and stabilise blood sugar levels. However, even though they are similar, they are actually approved for different uses and populations. So, the question is – how do they differ? In this blog post, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between Wegovy and Ozempic, to help you make an informed decision about which medication may be right for you.

Initially, semaglutide was first approved in 2017 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a diabetes drug under the brand name Ozempic. In the UK Ozempic was approved for use in 2019. This year however, it has received further validation when its use as a weight loss medication resulted in an additional approval from authorities, this time under the brand name, Wegovy. Although both drugs can help patients achieve their ideal body size goals efficiently, there are some differences between them that should be discussed with your healthcare professional before being prescribed accordingly.

Key information about Wegovy

  • Active ingredient: Semaglutide
  • Route of administration: Subcutaneous injection
  • Dosing frequency: Once a week
  • Initial dose: 0.25 mg
  • Maintenance dosage: 2.4 mg

Key information about Ozempic

  • Active ingredient: Semaglutide
  • Route of administration: Subcutaneous injection
  • Dosing frequency: Once a week
  • Initial dose: 0.25 mg
  • Maintenance dosage: 1 mg
  • Maximum dosage: 2 mg

Wegovy vs. Ozempic

Wegovy and Ozempic are both brand-name injectable prescription drugs manufactured by Novo Nordisk. Ozempic is licensed as a diabetes medication and Wegovy is a new weight loss drug for chronic weight management. Other drugs in this class include Saxenda and Victoza. Let’s dive into the details and find out how Wegovy and Ozempic differ.

  • Class of drug

As mentioned, they both contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide which belongs to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists.

Both Wegovy and Ozempic are GLP-1 receptor agonists, which means that they bind to and activate the GLP-1 receptor in the body. They are structurally similar and their active ingredients are derived from the same molecule.

  • Mechanism of Action

Wegovy and Ozempic belong to the same class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. Both medications work by mimicking the hormone GLP-1, which is naturally produced in the body after a meal. The hormone stimulates insulin secretion, slows down the stomach-emptying process, and reduces appetite/cravings. This leads to a decrease in blood sugar levels and less food intake, resulting in weight loss. The key difference between Wegovy and Ozempic is the concentration of the active ingredient. Wegovy contains a higher dose of semaglutide than Ozempic.

  • Approved Uses

Wegovy is specifically approved for the treatment of obesity in adults with a:

  • Body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more
  • BMI of 27 or more, who have one weight-related medical condition, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol

Ozempic, on the other hand, is approved for:

  • Treatment of type 2 diabetes, to lower blood sugar levels and improve glycemic control. Ozempic is not for the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus

While Ozempic can lead to weight loss as a side effect, it is not approved for weight management alone. Nonetheless, some doctors may choose to prescribe Ozempic off-label to their patients as a weight loss aid. The effectiveness of off-label use of Ozempic for weight loss has not been extensively studied, but early results suggest it may have similar efficacy as Wegovy. It is important to note that patients considering off-label use of either medication should discuss the potential risks and benefits with their healthcare provider before beginning treatment. Safe prescribing by working with a doctor that understands the person, and the disease is really key.

  • Dosage and Administration

Wegovy and Ozempic are both injectable drugs that come in pre-filled pens. Both medications are given as a weekly injection subcutaneously, usually in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. However, the administration of these medications should always be under a healthcare provider’s supervision. Additionally, it’s recommended that you follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly and make lifestyle changes to ensure the best results.

  • Dosing of Ozempic and Wegovy

Below is an example of the dosing schedule for Wegovy and Ozempic:

Wegovy:

  • Month 1 (weeks 1-4) – 0.25mg each week
  • Month 2 (weeks 5-8) – 0.5mg each week
  • Month 3 (weeks 9-12) – 1mg each week
  • Month 4 (weeks 13-16) – 1.7mg each week
  • Month 5 (week 17 and onward) – 2.4mg each week

Ozempic:

  • Month 1 (weeks 1-4) – 0.25mg each week
  • Month 2 (weeks 5-8) – 0.5mg each week
  • Month 3 (weeks 9-12) – 0.5mg each week
  • Month 4 (weeks 13-16) – 0.5mg each week
  • Month 5 (week 17 and onward) – 0.5mg each week

If additional blood sugar control is needed, Ozempic 1mg or 2mg can be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

  • Side Effects

Both medications carry similar side effects, with gastrointestinal issues being the most common. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain and constipation are some of the most common side effects. Other less common side effects include pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), allergic reactions or kidney and gallbladder problems. Wegovy and Ozempic may also increase the risk of low blood glucose levels or hypoglycemia.

In rare cases, Wegovy has been associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer. Therefore, patients with a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 should avoid using Wegovy.

Which one is more effective?

The effectiveness of either medication depends on individual factors, such as your current weight, health condition, and medication history.

In general, studies show that Wegovy is more effective in helping people lose weight than Ozempic. In a clinical trial comparing semaglutide 1 mg and 2.4 mg (the maximum dose of Wegovy), 2.4mg caused more weight loss than semaglutide 1mg (the typical maintenance dose of Ozempic).

Participants who reached a weekly dose of 2.4 mg of semaglutide lost an average of 10.6% of their body weight over the 68-week treatment period. Those who reached a weekly dose of 1 mg lost an average of 7.0%.

However, this doesn’t mean that Ozempic is not a good option for weight loss. Ozempic is still an effective weight-loss drug, especially for people who are not severely overweight or obese. Your doctor should be able to recommend the best medication based on your individual needs.

Additional tips for weight loss

While Ozempic and Wegovy can aid in weight loss, they are not a one-stop solution for reaching your weight loss goals. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through lifestyle interventions such as regular physical activity, a balanced diet with an awareness of calorie intake, and stress management is crucial for long-term weight loss success. In doing so, you’ll reduce your risk for a variety of major health issues including cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke, as well as other weight-related causes of death. Seeking the help of a registered dietitian and a licensed personal trainer can also provide personalised support and guidance.

In summary, Wegovy and Ozempic are two injectable medications that help manage different medical conditions. Wegovy is a new and powerful medication that has been approved for long-term weight loss and the management of weight-related complications. Ozempic, on the other hand, has been used for several years to manage blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, and can also help reduce weight. They work similarly and have similar side effects, but the primary difference lies in their intended use and FDA approval. Ultimately, the decision about which medication to use should be based on various factors such as your medical history, lifestyle, and preferences. As with any medication, it’s important to discuss the possible benefits and risks with your healthcare provider, so that you can determine the best course of action.

Sources

Medical Disclaimer

NowPatient has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that all material is factually accurate, complete, and current. However, the knowledge and experience of a qualified healthcare professional should always be sought after instead of using the information in this page. Before taking any drug, you should always speak to your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider.

The information provided here about medications is subject to change and is not meant to include all uses, precautions, warnings, directions, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or negative effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a particular medication does not imply that the medication or medication combination is appropriate for all patients or for all possible purposes.

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