Key Points:

  • Both Wegovy and Ozempic contain semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist medication, but they are approved for different uses.
  • Ozempic is FDA-approved for managing type 2 diabetes in adults, whereas Wegovy is approved for obesity and chronic weight management, including in adolescents meeting certain BMI (body-mass index) criteria.
  • Both medications are weekly injectables with similar side effects such as nausea and other gastrointestinal issues. They cannot replace insulin in the treatment of diabetes.
  • Wegovy and Ozempic differ in the concentrations of semaglutide and their FDA-approved uses, making them non-interchangeable without medical guidance.
Boxes of Ozempic and Wegovy

Wegovy and Ozempic, both GLP-1 agonists, are effective in managing blood sugar levels, lowering A1c (a measure of glucose control over the previous 2 to 3 months), enhancing insulin sensitivity, combating insulin resistance, and promoting weight loss. 

Despite their remarkable similarities, key differences exist that could influence your decision about which one to consider using. 

Which one should you choose — Wegovy or Ozempic? This article will explain the similarities and differences between these two drugs so you can make an informed decision.

What are the active ingredients in Wegovy and Ozempic?

Wegovy and Ozempic both contain semaglutide as their active ingredient, a GLP-1 agonist effective in managing certain health conditions. They are also both produced by the same manufacturer.

It’s important to avoid both Wegovy and Ozempic if you are allergic to semaglutide.

Read more in: Everything You Need to Know About Ozempic and Everything You Need to Know About Wegovy

Why do people take Wegovy or Ozempic?

These medications, approved by the FDA for different conditions, serve distinct purposes. 

Wegovy is designated for the treatment of obesity, including weight loss and chronic weight management. Although it may lower blood sugar levels and improve A1c, Wegovy is not classified as a diabetes medication. 

Eligibility for the drug requires meeting specific body-mass index (BMI, a measure of weight relative to height) criteria: a BMI of 30 or higher, or a BMI of 27 with associated weight-related health issues like high cholesterol, hypertension, or type 2 diabetes.

It’s approved for use in people ages 12 and older, with adolescents needing to have a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for their age and sex.

Ozempic, on the other hand, is approved only for adults with type 2 diabetes. While it may incidentally promote weight loss, it does not have FDA approval as a weight-loss drug. 

If prescribed Ozempic for non-diabetes use, it’s considered “off-label” (in a manner not officially approved by the FDA). Ozempic usage is restricted to those 18 years and older.

How are Wegovy and Ozempic similar?

Both medications share several key similarities despite their different FDA approvals.

They do not replace insulin 

Neither Wegovy nor Ozempic is intended to replace insulin therapy. Although Ozempic is specifically approved to treat type 2 diabetes and might be prescribed alongside Wegovy for people with diabetes, these GLP-1 agonists do not substitute for insulin. 

Instead, they may help reduce the amount of insulin some people require over time, but they should not be considered equivalent to insulin treatment.

They are injectable medications, taken once weekly 

Both Wegovy and Ozempic are administered as injectable medications. They are available only in injection form and are administered subcutaneously (under the skin). 

For optimal effectiveness, it is recommended that they be injected once a week, ideally at the same time on the same day.

See more in: Ozempic Injection: Where and How to Inject and Wegovy Injection Guide: Where and How to Inject?

They have similar side effects 

Both share similar side effects, which include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, suppressed appetite, and potential low blood sugar. 

These side effects are generally most pronounced when you first begin the medication and may lessen as your body adjusts. 

If you experience debilitating side effects that significantly impact your quality of life, it’s important to speak with your doctor. They can adjust your dosage or consider alternative medications to lessen these symptoms.

Learn more in: Ozempic Side Effects: What You Need to Know and Wegovy Side Effects: What You Need to Know.

They cause weight loss

Both Wegovy and Ozempic have been shown to cause weight loss in clinical studies by suppressing appetite and inhibiting glucagon release from the liver. 

For instance, one study found that adult participants using Wegovy lost an average of 15 percent of their starting weight. Similarly, adolescents taking Wegovy in a separate study experienced an average weight loss of 16 percent. 

While Ozempic has also been shown to facilitate weight loss, it is not officially FDA-approved as a weight-loss medication, and therefore, no specific dosing recommendations for weight loss are provided.

Find out more in: Can Ozempic Help You Lose Weight? and Can Wegovy Help You Lose Weight?

They lower blood sugars and A1c

Both Wegovy and Ozempic are effective in reducing insulin resistance and improving insulin sensitivity, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving A1c. Clinical trials have demonstrated that Ozempic can reduce the average A1c by 1 percent. 

The STEP 2 trial specifically explored the impact of Wegovy on people with type 2 diabetes, revealing that participants not only experienced significant weight loss but also experienced substantial improvements in their blood sugar levels and A1c. 

This demonstrates the dual benefits of Wegovy in helping manage both weight and diabetes.

They can be taken with or without food 

These medicines can both be taken with or without food, and they do not typically cause low blood sugar levels. 

However, if you experience nausea after taking your medication, it may be beneficial to take it following a meal or to snack on something bland like crackers, soup, toast, or rice to soothe your stomach.

How are Wegovy and Ozempic different?

Wegovy and Ozempic, while similar in function, are distinct medications that require different prescriptions and are approved by the FDA to treat different conditions. 

The concentration of semaglutide is different

One key difference lies in the concentration of semaglutide, their active ingredient. Wegovy is prescribed at a maintenance dose of 2.4 milligrams (mg) once weekly, whereas Ozempic’s dosage can vary between 0.5 mg, 1 mg, or 2 mg once weekly. 

Due to these differences in formulation and approved uses, the two medications are not interchangeable, and attempting to substitute one for the other can lead to adverse side effects.

The side effects of Wegovy may be more severe 

The side effects of Wegovy may be more severe compared to those of Ozempic, with both medications potentially causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. 

These adverse effects are particularly pronounced at higher doses of semaglutide, as observed in clinical trials for Wegovy. 

Typically, side effects are most intense when beginning treatment as the body adjusts to the medication. They often lessen or resolve within a few weeks. However, if side effects linger or worsen after more than a month of treatment, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider.

Learn more in: Ozempic Side Effects: What You Need to Know and Wegovy Side Effects: What You Need to Know.

Frequently asked questions

Can I switch between the two drugs?

Ozempic and Wegovy are not interchangeable, unlike some other medications such as Ozempic and Victoza. This distinction is crucial if you are taking Ozempic for type 2 diabetes, as Wegovy is not approved for this condition. 

However, if you have been prescribed Wegovy for obesity or chronic weight management and also have type 2 diabetes, continuing your treatment is generally acceptable. 

On the other hand, switching from Ozempic to Wegovy without a doctor’s guidance is not advisable if Ozempic is being used specifically for type 2 diabetes treatment. 

Similarly, switching from Wegovy to Ozempic could be less effective if your primary treatment goal is weight loss.

Can I take these two medications at the same time? 

No, it is important to never take Wegovy and Ozempic simultaneously. 

Combining these medications can lead to severe side effects, including debilitating nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and potentially life-threatening low blood sugar levels. 

If you accidentally take both medications within a two-day period, it is essential to contact your doctor or seek emergency medical attention immediately.

For people using Ozempic for type 2 diabetes who are also interested in weight loss, consult your provider to determine if Wegovy might be a suitable alternative. 

Similarly, if you are prescribed Wegovy for obesity or chronic weight management and are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your doctor can provide guidance on adjusting your treatment plan.

Which medication is right for me? 

The decision to use Wegovy or Ozempic should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider, considering your specific medical diagnosis, health history, goals, lifestyle, and preferences. 

Typically, Ozempic is prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes due to its effectiveness in managing this condition. 

If your primary concern is being overweight or obese and you do not have diabetes, Wegovy is more likely to be recommended due to its approval for weight management. 

For those dealing with both type 2 diabetes and obesity, a detailed discussion with your doctor is important to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

Learn more in Everything You Need to Know About Ozempic and Everything You Need to Know About Wegovy. Did you find this article helpful? Click Yes or No below to let us know!