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Ozempic vs. Saxenda: Which is the best option for weight loss?

1 min Read

Compare Ozempic vs. Saxenda for weight loss. Discover how they work, compare potential side effects, and learn about other options

What you’ll learn:

  • Saxenda and Ozempic are both GLP-1 receptor agonists that can help you lose weight, but they are approved for different uses.
  • Ozempic is a weekly injection, while Saxenda is a daily injection.
  • Ozempic might be more effective in some cases.

Weight loss medications have become a popular topic in recent years, with Ozempic often taking center stage. But it isn’t your first or only option when you decide you need some help. In fact, though Ozempic is often prescribed off-label for weight loss, it is only FDA-approved for diabetes. Saxenda, on the other hand, is FDA-approved for weight loss. However, it has important differences in effectiveness, side effects, price, and dosing to consider. For instance, did you know that Saxenda requires daily injections while Ozempic is only injected once per week?

Understanding how these medications work, their safety, and their convenience are all important.  Ultimately, you and your doctor or your clinician at Noom Med will decide which weight loss medication is right for you. 

Ozempic and Saxenda: How do they work? 

Ozempic and Saxenda belong to the same class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1s). This means that they mimic the effects of a natural hormone called GLP-1. GLP-1 has lots of roles in the body, but one that it excels at is regulating blood sugar and controlling appetite. 

While they are both GLP-1s, they contain different active ingredients. Ozempic contains semaglutide while Saxenda contains liraglutide. Both are designed to help manage blood sugar and weight. But, while they have similar actions, they work in slightly different ways. Let’s take a closer look to help you decide which one might be right for you.

Approved usesApproved for adults with type 2 diabetes, but can be prescribed off-label for weight loss.Approved for weight loss ​​in those with a BMI (body mass index) of 30+ or those with a BMI of at least 27 who also have a weight-related medical issue.
Active ingredientSemaglutideLiraglutide
How it’s takenOnce-weekly injectionDaily injection
What it doesHelps you feel fuller longer, slows digestion, and helps control blood sugarSame
How it worksMimics the GLP-1 hormone, a naturally occurring hormone that signals to the brain that you feel full and satisfied, while also stimulating insulin production to help regulate blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.Same, but it doesn’t last as long in the body, meaning you take it more often.
How long it stays in your bodyApproximately 7 daysApproximately 13 hours

Ozempic vs. Saxenda: Which is more effective for weight loss?

Ozempic and Saxenda have both helped people lose weight in clinical trials, but Ozempic (semaglutide) might work better for some people. Also, Saxenda’s daily injections could be a huge deal-breaker for some.

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Cost is also a factor when deciding between Ozempic and Saxenda for weight loss. Both can be pricey without insurance. However, more insurance plans are starting to cover medications like these, so it’s worth exploring all the options. The manufacturer or your pharmacy could also be a source of discounts. 

As always, check with your provider to see what’s covered and to minimize out-of-pocket expenses. Noom Med’s qualified clinicians can also help you decide if Ozempic, Saxenda, or another weight loss medication is right for you and then help you find the best price. 

Here’s how they stack up:

Ozempic (semaglutide)Saxenda (liraglutide)
Weight loss effectivenessResearch found that people using semaglutide lost an average of 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks versus 2.4% with placebo and diet change. They also determined that people lost weight for longer with semaglutide versus liraglutide (Saxenda)
Ongoing trials evaluating the effectiveness and safety of semaglutide for weight management have shown significant weight loss.
A study that examined several trials of liraglutide showed that people generally lost 5-10% of their body weight.
Cost$900-1,300 average monthly cost.$900-1,500 average monthly cost.
Insurance considerationsNot FDA-approved for weight loss, so insurance may not cover it.FDA-approved for weight loss, so insurance may cover it.

Ozempic vs Saxenda: Comparing side effects and dosage 

As both are GLP-1s, Ozempic and Saxenda share typical side effects like nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. They also both have the potential for serious side effects that you need to discuss with your provider before beginning treatment. 

Choosing between Ozempic and Saxenda is a decision that should be made in consultation with your healthcare team. They will check your medical history, risk factors, and treatment goals to find the most suitable option for you. A thorough discussion of potential side effects and dosing regimens is essential to ensure you are well-informed and comfortable with your treatment program. Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

Ozempic (semaglutide)Saxenda (liraglutide)
Common side effectsNausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, headache, fatigueNausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, low blood sugar, headache, indigestion, fatigue, dizziness, abdominal pain
Serious side effectsRisk of thyroid tumors, pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, kidney problems, allergic reactionsSimilar
Starting dose0.25 mg once weekly injection0.6 mg daily injection
Maintenance dose2 mg once weekly3 mg daily
Dose escalation4-week intervals1-week intervals

Making the right choice for your health goals

Work together with your clinician to identify the best medication for you and your weight loss goals. Ozempic and Saxenda are both effective, but their differences in action, side effects, and dosage may make one a better fit for you. 

Your personalized treatment plan should not only include medication. It should also incorporate lifestyle changes like a balanced diet and regular exercise, essential components for long-term success. Noom’s comprehensive program takes a holistic approach. It combines expert guidance, proven techniques, and cutting-edge technology to tackle both the physical and emotional challenges of weight loss. 

If you’re considering Ozempic, Saxenda, or any other weight loss medication, consider Noom Med. If you qualify, the program can pair you with a qualified clinician who will work with you to find the right medication for your health goals. With the right support and resources, you can achieve lasting success and enjoy a better quality of life.

Note: Ozempic is not FDA-approved to treat obesity or for weight loss.