Wegovy vs. Ozempic: Differences, similarities, and which is better for you

Wegovy and Ozempic treat Type 2 diabetes but they work in different ways. Compare the side effects and cost of these drugs to find out which one is better.

If you live with Type 2 diabetes or are struggling with chronic weight management, you may have heard about prescription drugs given as a weekly injection. Wegovy and Ozempic are two brand-name medications that can help manage blood sugar levels and promote weight loss. A healthcare provider may prescribe Wegovy or Ozempic for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes or obesity. 

Both medications are manufactured by Novo Nordisk and come as a pen-filled injection. They also contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide, which is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Although they contain the same active ingredient, Wegovy and Ozempic differ in several ways. 

Continue reading to learn about the similarities and differences between Wegovy and Ozempic, including their cost and potential side effects.

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What are the main differences between Wegovy and Ozempic?

The main differences between Wegovy and Ozempic are their dosages, age restrictions, and approved uses. 

Although they both contain semaglutide, Wegovy is delivered in higher doses than Ozempic. Wegovy is a single-dose prefilled pen that provides a dose of 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 1.7 mg, and 2.4 mg. In contrast, Ozempic is a prefilled pen that provides a dose of 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg. 

The maintenance dosage of Wegovy is 2.4 mg once weekly, while the maintenance dosage of Ozempic is 1 mg once weekly. Wegovy is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a weight loss medication. On the other hand, Ozempic is FDA approved to treat Type 2 diabetes, but it is sometimes prescribed off-label for weight loss. 

Both drugs may help manage glucose levels and reduce body weight over time. However, Wegovy is approved in adults and children 12 years and older, while Ozempic is only approved in adults 18 years and older. 

Drug classGLP-1 agonistGLP-1 agonist
Brand/generic statusBrand onlyBrand only
What is the generic name?SemaglutideSemaglutide
What form(s) does the drug come in?Subcutaneous injectionSubcutaneous injection
What is the standard dosage?0.25 mg injected under the skin once weekly for 4 weeks. The dosage is increased to 0.5 mg once weekly for 4 weeks, 1 mg once weekly for 4 weeks, 1.7 mg once weekly for weeks, and then 2.4 mg once weekly.0.25 injected under the skin once weekly for 4 weeks. Then, the dosage is increased to 0.5 mg once weekly. 

The dosage may be increased to 1 mg once weekly after 4 weeks on the 0.5 mg dosage and then increased again to 2 mg once daily after 4 weeks on the 1 mg dosage, depending on the treatment response.

How long is the typical treatment?Long-termLong-term
Who typically uses the medication?Adults 12 years and olderAdults 18 years and older

Conditions treated by Wegovy and Ozempic

Wegovy is FDA approved for managing weight in people who are obese with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or more. It is also approved to manage weight in people who are overweight with a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or more with at least one weight-related condition like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. 

Although Wegovy is not approved for Type 2 diabetes, it may be used off-label to manage blood sugar levels, especially in people who may also be overweight or obese. It is prescribed to be used along with a diet and exercise plan. 

Ozempic is FDA approved to treat Type 2 diabetes. It is also approved to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, stroke, and death, in people with Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Clinical trials show that Ozempic can also promote weight loss. As a result, it is commonly prescribed off-label for weight management. 

Type 2 diabetesOff-labelYes
Lower the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, stroke, and deathNoYes
Weight lossYesOff-label

Is Wegovy or Ozempic more effective?

Both Wegovy and Ozempic are effective for their FDA-approved indications. The most effective drug will depend on what they are used for, a person’s overall condition, and their response to treatment.

Wegovy is given at a higher dosage than Ozempic. In other words, it contains a higher strength of semaglutide and is more potent than Ozempic. Wegovy is specifically approved for weight management and is more effective for promoting weight loss. Clinical trials show that patients who took Wegovy lost an average of around 16 kg (35 lbs) after 68 weeks. In the Ozempic trials, patients lost an average of 5 kg (11 lbs) after 30 weeks of taking 1 mg of Ozempic weekly. 

Ozempic is meant to be used as a diabetes medication rather than a weight loss drug. Both drugs should be used as an adjunct to lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Other GLP-1 receptor agonists include Trulicity (dulaglutide) and Saxenda (liraglutide). Consult a healthcare provider for the best treatment option. 

Coverage and cost comparison of Wegovy vs. Ozempic

Prescription weight loss drugs are not typically covered by Medicare and private insurance plans. However, some plans may help cover the cost of these drugs. The cost with insurance coverage will depend on the plan. In some cases, insurance plans may help cover Wegovy with a prior authorization. Medicare and private insurance plans are more likely to cover Ozempic for Type 2 diabetes than Wegovy for weight loss. 

Without insurance, the average retail cost of these medications can be expensive. A one-month supply of Wegovy is around $1,500, while a one-month supply of Ozempic can cost up to almost $1,000. A SingleCare Wegovy or Ozempic coupon may help reduce retail costs by several hundred dollars. 

Typically covered by insurance?NoYes
Typically covered by Medicare Part D?NoYes
Quantity4 prefilled injection pens1 prefilled injection pen
Typical Medicare copay$1,500$25-$979
SingleCare cost$1200$800

Common side effects of Wegovy vs. Ozempic

Wegovy and Ozempic can cause similar side effects, as they contain the same active ingredient. Wegovy may cause more side effects because it contains a higher dose of semaglutide. Side effects of Wegovy and Ozempic are nausea, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal or stomach pain, and indigestion. Wegovy can also cause other side effects, such as hair loss and headaches.

Wegovy and Ozempic may cause injection site reactions, such as irritation, redness, and swelling around the area of injection. Because of their effects on blood sugar, Wegovy and Ozempic may also increase the risk of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. 

Side EffectApplicable?FrequencyApplicable?Frequency
NauseaYes44%Yes16%
VomitingYes24%Yes5%
DiarrheaYes30%Yes9%
Abdominal painYes20%Yes7%
ConstipationYes24%Yes5%
IndigestionYes9%Yes4%
HeadacheYes14%No
FatigueYes11%Yes>0.4%
DizzinessYes8%Yes>0.4%
GasYes6%Yes1.5%
Hair lossYes3%No
Injection site reactionsYes1.4%Yes0.2%

This may not be a complete list of adverse effects that can occur. Please refer to your doctor or healthcare provider to learn more.

Source: DailyMed (Wegovy), DailyMed (Ozempic)

Drug interactions of Wegovy vs. Ozempic

Wegovy and Ozempic may interact with other medications. Using Wegovy or Ozempic while on insulin or oral diabetes drugs, such as glinides, DPP-4 inhibitors, and sulfonylureas, may increase the risk of hypoglycemia. The dosages of other diabetes medications may need to be adjusted while using Wegovy or Ozempic. 

Wegovy and Ozempic delay gastric emptying, which could affect the absorption of oral medications. A healthcare provider may recommend waiting at least an hour after using Wegovy or Ozempic before taking another medication.

Insulin aspart

Insulin lispro

Insulin glargine

Insulin YesYes
Glipizide

Glimepiride

SulfonylureasYesYes
Sitagliptin

Linagliptin

Saxagliptin

DPP-4 inhibitorsYesYes
Repaglinide

Nateglinide

GlinidesYesYes

Consult a healthcare professional for other possible drug interactions

Warnings of Wegovy and Ozempic

The FDA labels of Wegovy and Ozempic have black box warnings about the potential risk of thyroid cancer. People with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) may need to avoid Wegovy and Ozempic. 

The use of Wegovy or Ozempic may also increase the risk of other complications, such as:

  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) 
  • Gallbladder problems 
  • Vision problems (due to diabetic retinopathy complications) 
  • Acute kidney injury 

People with a hypersensitivity to semaglutide may be at risk of an allergic reaction to Wegovy or Ozempic. Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction include severe hives, rash, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face or throat. Seek immediate medical attention if signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction develop. 

Before treatment, tell your healthcare provider about other health conditions you have or other medications you take, such as prescription drugs, over-the-counter medication, or herbal supplements. 

Frequently asked questions about Wegovy vs. Ozempic

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy is a brand-name injectable medication used to manage weight in people who are obese. It is also approved to promote weight loss in people who are overweight with a weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Wegovy is known by the generic name semaglutide.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a brand-name injectable medication approved to improve glycemic control in people with Type 2 diabetes. It is also approved to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death in people with Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, it is sometimes used off-label for weight management. Ozempic is known by the generic name semaglutide.

Are Wegovy and Ozempic the same?

Wegovy and Ozempic contain the same active ingredient semaglutide. However, Wegovy contains a higher strength of semaglutide than Ozempic. Both medications are started at lower dosages, and the dosage is gradually increased to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal discomfort. 

Is Wegovy or Ozempic better?

Wegovy is more effective for weight loss than Ozempic. Studies showed that people who took Wegovy lost an average of 35 pounds after 68 weeks of treatment. In contrast, people who took Ozempic in clinical trials lost an average of 11 pounds after 30 weeks. However, Wegovy may cause more side effects than Ozempic. Consult a healthcare provider for the best treatment option. 

Can I use Wegovy or Ozempic while pregnant?

It is not recommended to use Wegovy or Ozempic while pregnant. Using Wegovy or Ozempic during pregnancy may cause harmful effects on an unborn baby. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you become pregnant while taking Wegovy or Ozempic. They will determine the potential risks and benefits of continuing or discontinuing the medication.

Can I use Wegovy or Ozempic with alcohol?

It is not recommended to drink alcohol while using Wegovy or Ozempic. Alcohol can affect blood sugar levels and increase the risk of hypoglycemia with Wegovy or Ozempic. Alcohol may also increase certain side effects of Wegovy and Ozempic, such as nausea, vomiting, and indigestion. Consult with a healthcare provider if you have concerns about drinking alcohol in moderation while using Wegovy or Ozempic. 

Can you use Wegovy or Ozempic for weight loss?

Wegovy is FDA-approved for weight loss in people who are obese or overweight. Ozempic is FDA-approved for treating Type 2 diabetes, but it may be used off-label for weight loss. Both Wegovy and Ozempic contain semaglutide, a GLP-1 agonist that works by stimulating insulin secretion. 

How is phentermine different than Wegovy?

Phentermine and Wegovy are both weight loss medications, but they work in different ways. Phentermine is an anorectic or appetite suppressant that works by decreasing hunger and making you feel full longer. It is typically only used for short-term weight management. Wegovy is a GLP-1 agonist that stimulates the release of insulin and is intended for long-term use. 



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