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Last Updated On July 4, 2024

What Is the Difference Between Ozempic and Wegovy?

Jun 27, 2024

Weight loss remains a significant health concern, affecting millions worldwide. Recent studies highlight the efficacy of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) drugs in addressing obesity. Among these, semaglutide stands out. 

Sold under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy, semaglutide has garnered attention for its benefits. Ozempic and Wegovy share similarities as both medications are based on semaglutide, approved by the FDA. They are used not only for diabetes management but also for weight loss, showcasing their dual benefits in treating both conditions effectively.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the mechanisms of semaglutide, explore the differences between Ozempic and Wegovy, and provide insights into their clinical effectiveness.

Key Takeaways

  • Ozempic and Wegovy are medications used for weight management and diabetes treatment.
  • Ozempic is primarily used for managing blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes, while Wegovy is indicated explicitly for weight management in adults with obesity.
  • Both medications have different mechanisms of action, dosage regimens, and side effect profiles.
  • The choice between Ozempic and Wegovy should be based on individual patient needs, preferences, and consultation with a healthcare provider.

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What is Ozempic?

Doctors prescribe Ozempic to manage body weight and aid adults with type 2 diabetes. Administered as a shot, it contains semaglutide, which mimics a hormone crucial for blood sugar and appetite regulation. It’s tailored for those needing blood sugar control alongside diet and exercise or seeking effective weight management. 

Ozempic is approved to improve blood sugar in type 2 diabetes and reduce heart attack or stroke risk in those with both diabetes and heart disease. By mimicking GLP-1, Ozempic enhances post-meal blood sugar management and reduces appetite, promoting weight loss and overall health improvement in diabetes management.

Approved Uses of Ozempic

Ozempic is a drug doctors prescribe for two main reasons. First, it helps control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Second, it aids in weight loss when diet and exercise are insufficient. Here’s more about its approved uses:

  • Ozempic improves blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It works well with both diet and exercise.
  • The medication also reduces the risk of major heart problems such as heart attack, stroke, or death in people who have heart disease along with type 2 diabetes.
  • Some patients use Ozempic for weight loss because it can help you feel less hungry, leading to eating less food.
  • Healthcare providers might suggest Ozempic to those who need better blood sugar management even after trying other diabetes medications.
  • While weight loss is not the primary purpose of Ozempic for people with type 2 diabetes, many notice this benefit during their treatment.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy, a newer medication for weight control, targets adults struggling with obesity or weight-related health issues. Like Ozempic, it utilizes semaglutide to aid weight loss through weekly injections and was approved by the FDA in June 2021. By mimicking GLP-1, Wegovy acts on appetite-regulating areas of the brain, promoting feelings of fullness and reducing calorie intake.

This medication complements lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise to effectively manage weight and improve overall health. Additionally, Wegovy’s action in the pancreas enhances insulin release, aiding blood sugar management for individuals with type 2 diabetes. This dual benefit highlights its effectiveness in treating both obesity and related conditions.

Approved Uses of Wegovy

Wegovy has gained approval for specific medical uses. It’s aimed at adults with obesity or weight-related health issues.

  • The main use is to manage weight in adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more, defined as obesity.
  • It’s also for adults with a BMI of 27 or more — considered overweight — who have at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.
  • When used alongside increased physical activity and a reduced-calorie diet, Wegovy helps these individuals lose weight and keep it off.
  • This medication mimics a hormone that targets areas of the brain involved in appetite regulation, helping reduce hunger and control cravings.

Key Differences Between Ozempic and Wegovy

Below is a comparative summary highlighting the primary purposes of Ozempic and Wegovy, designed to offer medical professionals a concise overview. This table distills key information, focusing on their roles in treatment regimens, thus aiding in informed decision-making.

MedicationPrimary Purpose
OzempicPrimarily prescribed for the management of type 2 diabetes. It aids in lowering blood sugar levels and is intended for use as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes diet and exercise.
WegovyMainly used for weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. It is recommended for use with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Dosage and Administration

Despite similarities, each drug follows distinct guidelines to maximize its effectiveness for its approved uses. Medical professionals must be well-versed in these details to ensure optimal patient care.

MedicationInitial DosageMaintenance DosageAdministration FrequencyAdministration Method
Ozempic0.25 mg once weeklyMay increase to 0.5 mg after 4 weeks, with the option to escalate to 1 mg if additional glycemic control is neededOnce weeklySubcutaneous injection
Wegovy0.25 mg once weekly for 4 weeksGradually increased over 16-20 weeks to a maintenance dose of 2.4 mg once weeklyOnce weeklySubcutaneous injection

Efficacy and Clinical Trials

Evaluating the efficacy and outcomes from clinical trials for Ozempic and Wegovy reveals a detailed picture of their effectiveness in managing their respective conditions.

In patients with type 2 diabetes, treatment with Ozempic led to significant reductions in HbA1c levels. At the 0.5 mg dose, Ozempic reduced HbA1c by 1.4% compared to placebo. The reduction was even greater at the 1 mg dose, at 1.6% compared to placebo.

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Moreover, Ozempic was also useful in combination with other FDA-approved diabetes medications. When combined with insulin, Ozempic and insulin should be injected separately and not mixed.

In two clinical trials leading to Wegovy’s FDA approval, over 80% of participants achieved weight loss of 5% or more with the help of Wegovy. Compared to placebo, Wegovy significantly enhances the impact of diet and exercise on weight loss.

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The efficacy of Wegovy is supported by a robust body of evidence from the STEP (Semaglutide Treatment Effect in People with Obesity) clinical trial program. These trials involved participants with obesity or overweight and demonstrated superior weight reduction compared to placebo and other antidiabetic medications.

Side Effects and Safety Profiles

Ozempic and Wegovy both have their own set of side effects. It’s vital to weigh these against the benefits and discuss them with a doctor.

Common Side Effects of Ozempic and Wegovy

Many people use Ozempic for diabetes management. It helps control blood sugar levels, but it has side effects.

  • Nausea: Many people feel sick when they start taking Wegovy.
  • Diarrhea: Loose stools can occur, making it essential to stay hydrated.
  • Vomiting: Some patients might throw up after taking the medication.
  • Constipation: The opposite of diarrhea, which makes it hard to go to the bathroom.
  • Headache: A common side effect is headaches, which can occur while your body adjusts to Wegovy.
  • Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or weak is another side effect some people face.
  • Dizziness: This can include feeling light-headed or unsteady on your feet.
  • Abdominal Pain: Some patients report having stomach aches or discomfort in the belly area.

Safety Considerations for Both Medications

Using Ozempic and Wegovy requires careful management. Doctors monitor for allergic reactions and increased heart rates. Regular check-ups are essential to detect side effects early. Patients must recognize signs of serious issues, such as swelling or breathing difficulties, and seek immediate medical attention.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

Ozempic and Wegovy have different price tags. Ozempic, often used for type 2 diabetes, might be less costly than Wegovy. The exact cost can change based on where you buy them and your insurance. Some people pay around $700 to $800 monthly for Ozempic without insurance help. For Wegovy, the monthly cost without insurance might just be about $1,300 to $1500.

  • Insurance Coverage for Both Medications: Insurance coverage for medications like Ozempic and Wegovy varies widely among plans. While some plans fully cover one medication but not the other, others may require copays or limit the duration of coverage. Understanding your insurance plan’s specifics through careful review or direct communication with your provider is crucial. Patient assistance programs from manufacturers can offer significant relief. 
  • Patient Assistance Programs: Despite insurance coverage, Ozempic and Wegovy can pose financial challenges for many. Patient assistance programs, provided by drug manufacturers like Novo Nordisk, offer a solution by providing medications at reduced or no cost for eligible individuals. To qualify, patients must demonstrate financial need within specified income limits.

Choosing Between Ozempic and Wegovy

Choosing the proper medication between Ozempic and Wegovy for your patients involves careful consideration. Here are factors that will guide you in making an informed decision.

  • Evaluate Medical History and Health Goals: Ozempic manages type 2 diabetes; Wegovy aids weight management in adults and adolescents aged 12+.
  • Consider Existing Conditions and Drug Interactions: Avoid both if there’s a personal/family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma.
  • Assess Weight Loss vs Blood Sugar Control Needs: Wegovy may benefit those primarily struggling with obesity.
  • Review Dosage and Administration: Ozempic adjusts based on patient response; Wegovy increases the target dose.
  • Study Efficacy Data: Ozempic reduces HbA1c; Wegovy promotes significant weight loss.
  • Discuss Side Effects: nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and constipation may affect adherence.
  • Analyze Safety: both warn about thyroid C-cell tumors based on animal studies.
  • Factor in Cost and Insurance Coverage: Varies widely, impacting accessibility.
  • Consider Patient Preferences: some favor easier dosing schedules despite slower results.
  • Consult the Experts: Healthcare providers offer comprehensive insights in choosing the right treatment.


Ozempic and Wegovy are both from the same drug family but have different jobs. Ozempic helps people with diabetes control their blood sugar. Wegovy is for assisting people to lose weight.

They come in shots, but the amount you need can vary. Both can cause side effects like stomach pain or headaches. Your insurance might cover them, but it depends. Talk to your doctor about which one better fits your health needs.


1. What are Ozempic and Wegovy used for?

Although their uses differ, Ozempic and Wegovy are prescribed for specific health conditions.

2. How do Ozempic and Wegovy differ in their medical applications?

The primary distinction between Ozempic and Wegovy lies in their intended purposes. While both medications can aid in weight management, Ozempic is primarily indicated for managing type 2 diabetes.

3. What side effects should I know when taking Ozempic or Wegovy?

Like all medications, Ozempic and Wegovy may cause side effects. It is important to discuss potential side effects with your healthcare provider before starting these treatments.

4. Can I switch medications from Ozempic to Wegovy or vice versa without medical guidance?

No, it is crucial not to switch medications without consulting a medical professional. Your healthcare provider will guide you through any necessary transitions based on your health needs.

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How to get Wegovy for weight loss. Mayo Clinic Diet. Accessed June 28, 2024. https://diet.mayoclinic.org/us/blog/2024/how-to-get-wegovy-for-weight-loss/ 

McCrimmon KK. Wegovy vs. Ozempic: The truth about new “weight-loss” drugs. UCHealth Today. Published April 5, 2023. https://www.uchealth.org/today/wegovy-vs-ozempic-the-truth-about-new-weight-loss-drugs/