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

1 min Read

What you’ll learn: You’ve probably heard about new weight loss medications, like Ozempic, shaking things up. Could one of them be right for you? Where do you start? Navigating all the weight loss drug options can be a bit overwhelming. The first step is to get the lay of the land and weigh the pros […]

What you’ll learn:

  • Ozempic and Wegovy contain the same active ingredient called semaglutide. 
  • Wegovy is FDA-approved for weight loss, while Ozempic is approved to treat type 2 diabetes but can be prescribed off-label for weight loss. 
  • Wegovy can be more effective for weight loss because it can be prescribed at a higher dose.
  • Both drugs can have potential mild and severe side effects that should be weighed against the benefits.

You’ve probably heard about new weight loss medications, like Ozempic, shaking things up. Could one of them be right for you? Where do you start? Navigating all the weight loss drug options can be a bit overwhelming. The first step is to get the lay of the land and weigh the pros and cons.

Take Ozempic and Wegovy, for instance. While Ozempic is more well-known, Wegovy actually has the same active ingredient. It’s called semaglutide. Both have shown some pretty impressive results in helping people shed pounds. But they do come with a few differences:

  • One of the biggest differences is that Wegovy is FDA-approved for weight management. While Ozempic can also be prescribed for weight loss off-label, it’s only approved to treat diabetes. 
  • They also have the same side effects but different dosing schedules. 
  • What you pay for either can vary based on your insurance coverage, what they are prescribed for, and where you live.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know about Ozempic and Wegovy before you think about getting a prescription. When you’re ready, your doctor or the folks at Noom Med can help you figure out which one might be the best fit for you. If you qualify for Noom Med, they’ll even coordinate your benefits so that you get the best price.

Ozempic vs. Wegovy: How do they work?

Ozempic and Wegovy’s active ingredient, semaglutide, works by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone called GLP-1. One of GLP-1’s roles in the body is to tell you to stop eating when you’re full. By acting as GLP-1, these medications can suppress hunger, which can lead to weight loss. It also helps stabilize blood sugar, which can also reduce hunger. 

A healthy diet and regular exercise are still important. Both medications work best with a comprehensive weight management program like Noom. Following the program can enhance the effectiveness of your chosen medication and provide additional support for achieving your goals.

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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. Also approved to reduce the risk of serious heart issues in people with BMIs over 27. 
Active ingredientSemaglutideSame
How it’s takenOnce-weekly injectionSame
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 satisfiedSame 
Typical dosageStarts at 0.25 mg weekly, gradually increasing to a maximum of 2 mg weekly.Starts at 0.25 mg weekly, gradually increasing to a maximum of 2.4 mg weekly.

Ozempic vs. Wegovy: Which is better for weight loss?

When choosing between Ozempic and Wegovy for weight loss, how well they work is obviously a key consideration. 

Cost will be another big factor.  Some insurance plans may not cover Ozempic for weight loss since it is not FDA-approved for that use. Since Wegovy is FDA-approved for weight management, insurance is more likely to cover it. Contact your insurance provider to check your coverage and any potential financial implications. 

Ozempic (semaglutide)Wegovy (semaglutide)
Weight loss effectivenessPeople being treated for type 2 diabetes with semaglutide lost up to 14 poundsMore weight loss is possible with Wegovy because it can be prescribed at a higher maximum dose.
How much do they cost?$935 per month without insurance.$1,350 per month without insurance.
Insurance considerationsNot FDA-approved for weight loss, so insurance may not cover it.FDA-approved for weight loss, so insurance may cover it.

Don’t let the cost scare you away from seeing if one of these medications can work for you. The actual price of these medications can vary and depends on factors such as your particular insurance coverage, dosage, pharmacy location, and discount programs. For example, the manufacturer of both drugs, Novo Nordisk, also offers a savings card for Ozempic and Wegovy.  Also, a recent survey indicated that, in the United States, more than half of participants taking a GLP-1 drug were paying $50 or less out of pocket monthly.

Ozempic vs. Wegovy: Side effects

While Ozempic and Wegovy have shown remarkable promise in aiding weight loss, it’s essential to understand the potential side effects. Both Ozempic and Wegovy commonly cause gastrointestinal side effects, especially when the medication is started. The websites for both medications provide more details about their respective side effects.

The side effects are usually mild for both medications and lessen as your body gets used to them. They may be more with Wegovy because it can be prescribed at a higher maximum dose. Below are the most common side effects of both medications:

  • Nausea: This is the most frequently reported side effect. Nausea was generally reported as mild or moderate.
  • Diarrhea: Loose or frequent stools can occur as your digestive system adapts to the medication.
  • Vomiting: Some people may experience vomiting, especially when first starting the medication.
  • Constipation: GLP-1 receptor agonists may slow down digestion, leading to constipation.
  • Abdominal pain: Some people reported discomfort or pain around their stomach.

Visit the official Wegovy or Ozempic pages for a full list of all side effects.

How to manage side effects

Many of the common side effects of Ozempic and Wegovy can be improved with a few lifestyle adjustments. Here are a few helpful suggestions:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent balanced meals 
  • Avoid or limit foods high in fat or sugar, which may aggravate stomach-related side effects
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. 
  • Regularly exercise to aid digestion and maintain muscle mass

Your doctor will monitor your dosage and make any necessary adjustments. Open communication about any side effects is crucial for a successful treatment experience. Noom Med or Noom’s GLP-1 Companion will provide personalized guidance on nutrition and exercise plans. 

Ozempic vs. Wegovy: Rare but serious side effects and warnings

While rare, you need to be aware of the potentially serious side conditions associated with Ozempic and Wegovy. Be sure to discuss your health history with your doctor before beginning either medication. If you experience any signs of the below side effects, get medical assistance immediately.

Side effectSymptoms
PancreatitisSevere abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting
Gallbladder problemsAbdominal pain, fever, yellowing of the skin and eyes
Kidney problemsChanges in urine frequency or amount, swelling in your feet or ankles
Serious allergic reactionsDifficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, rash
Changes in visionChanges in vision, blurred vision, floaters, or dark spots
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)Dizziness or light-headedness, blurred vision, anxiety, irritability or mood changes.
Thyroid tumors/cancersA lump or swelling in the neck, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, or shortness of breath.
Depression or thoughts of suicideSudden changes in your mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings.

Other GLP-1 medications to ask your doctor about

While Wegovy and Ozempic can be effective for weight management, insurance coverage or other factors might lead you to explore alternative medications. Here are a few other options that are FDA-approved for weight loss to discuss with your doctor:

How Noom Med can help you choose the right medication

Ultimately, the choice between Ozempic and Wegovy is one you should make with a healthcare provider. The Noom Med program can pair you with qualified clinicians who can help you navigate the different options and choose the right medication. Then they’ll coordinate insurance and help you manage side effects while you develop lifelong healthy habits. See if you qualify for Noom Med today.

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