Wegovy vs Ozempic is a very difficult comparison to make as both drugs have same active ingredient, impressive clinical efficacy, made by the exact same company and almost same side effects. Most people ask why they are prescribed for different things when they contain the same active ingredient.
The difference between both drugs are in their doses, indications, side effects and strengths. In this article, we will answer the question concerning the similarities and differences between Wegovy and Ozempic.
WHAT IS WEGOVY?
Wegovy is a prescription injection used for weight loss and managing chronic weight. It is a newly registered injection and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2021. It was also registered in the United Kingdom in 2022.
Wegovy is used for losing weight in people with a body mass index (BMI) of over 30kg/m² or 27kg/m² in those with a weight-related health problem. The drug works by imitating a natural hormone in the body that is responsible for regulating appetite. It tricks the brain to feel full for longer period of time when you eat small portions of food. This helps you to eat less and lose weight.
According to clinical trial, if Wegovy is paired with exercise and proper diet, about 83.5% of patients are expected to lose at least 5 percent of their weight (novoMEDLINK, 2022). An article published by the National Institute of Health in 2018 reported that losing 5 percent bodyweight can reduce the risk of developing weight-related health conditions such as sleep apnea, heart attacks, diabetes and joint pain.
WHAT IS OZEMPIC?
Ozempic is a prescribed medicine used in treating adults with type 2 diabetes. This drug is registered and approved by the United Kingdom regulatory body to be used in treating type 2 diabetes but some doctors can prescribe it for weight loss. The National Health Service (NHS) described using Ozempic for weight loss as off-label prescription.
Ozempic works for diabetic patients by helping the pancreas to release insulin when their body needs it. It also reduce the speed at which food is digested and how the liver releases sugar in order to prevent sudden rise of blood sugar. If Ozempic is used to reduce weight, it functions the same way as Wegovy if used in the same amount.
WEGOVY VS OZEMPIC: HOW DO THEY WORK?
Both Wegovy and Ozempic contain an active ingredient known as semaglutide. This is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that is known as an antidiabetic medication because it can regulate or adjust blood sugar.
GLP-1 receptor agonists work by imitating that natural GLP-1 hormone produced by the body. This GLP-1 is an incretin hormone released by the body when you eat food. It picks out areas in the brain that are responsible or involved in controlling appetite nd how much food you eat (Calibrate Health, 2022). GLP-1 also help to manage the level of blood sugar and promote blood sugar levels of people with diabetes or glucose intolerance.
The active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic is very effective in regulating blood sugar, reducing A1C level and treating overweight and obesity, it does because it can imitate the the body’s natural GLP-1 hormone. You should note that semaglutide is not the same as insulin, it is not specified to be used in people with type 1 diabetes. However, it can be used to reduce weight in people with type 1 diabetes and insulin resistance (Calibrate Health, 2022).
WEGOVY VS OZEMPIC : HOW TO USE THEM
Both drugs are subcutaneous injections and taken in the same way. You do not inject them into a muscle or skin rather under your skin. The fatty tissue under the skin is the best place to inject Wegovy or Ozempic so that they will be easily and gradually absorbed. If the drugs are injected into the muscles, they will be quickly absorbed by the body, the effects will not last for longer periods and you my feel more pain.
The sites for injections are the upper arm, thighs and abdomen because these places have enough body fats. You should change the injection sites from time to time to prevent problems.
WEGOVY VS OZEMPIC: COST
Cost of Wegovy
According to GoodRx, the retail cost of getting one month supply of Wegovy is around $1,627. The price is low if you have insurance but the coverage for weight loss and obesity care is by luck, you may get the coverage or not.
Some common insurance options for general obesity care are:
- Employer-provided insurance
- Tricare (military) insurance
- VA health benefits Individual/family coverage via Healthcare.gov (the Affordable Care Act)
Cost of Ozempic
The average cost of getting a carton of Ozempic 2mg/1.5ml is $1,029 but the coupon price for the same quantity at GoodRx is $928. Ozempic is covered by most insurance and Medicare plans. If you have a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan, about 85% of the plan will cover the cost of this medication.
Other ways of reducing the cost of Ozempic are:
- Manufacturer’s coupon where you can pay about 25 percent per prescription
- Patient Assistance Program from Novo Nordisk, this program can make you get your prescription without an charge but you have to be eligible.
- Save your money by filling a 90-day supply.
WEGOVY VS OZEMPIC: DOSAGE
Wegovy and Ozempic are made with an active ingredient – semaglutide. But, Wegovy is available in slightly higher doses.
Wegovy comes in pens with the following doses:
- 0.25 mg
- 0.5 mg
- 1.0 mg
- 1.7 mg
- 2.4 mg
Ozempic on the other hand is also available in pens but in doses like:
- 0.25 mg
- 0.5 mg
- 1.0 mg
You start both medications at the same time which is 0.25 mg every week, then you increase this dose gradually as months go on. While using Wegovy, patients sharply increase this dose to a higher sustained dose of semaglutide of 2.4 mg per week.
The normal dosing for Wegovy is:
- Month 1 – 0.25 mg per week
- Month 2 – 0.5 mg each week
- Month 3 – 1.0 mg per week
- Month 4 – 1.7 mg each week
- Month 5 and onward – 2.4 mg every week
Normal dosing for Ozempic is:
- Month 1 – 0.25 mg each week
- Month 2 – 0.5 mg per week ( this can be increased to 1.0 mg if your doctor indicates)
- Month 3 – 0.5mg each week ( this can also be increased to 1.0 mg each week if your doctor approves)
- Month 4 – 0.5 mg every week ( there is a chance of increase to 1.0 mg per if approved by your doctor)
- Month 5 – 0.5 mg per week (this can be increased to 1.0 mg if indicated by your doctor).
WEGOVY VS OZEMPIC FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Both Wegovy and Ozempic can be used for weight loss and also help you stick to healthy eating habits because of the role the active ingredient plays in the brain (increasing a feeling of fullness after eating food). But, these drugs should not be used alone, they are to be used with other lifestyles that will prevent weight gain and maintain metabolic health.
Losing weight is not a fast process, it is gradual and takes time for significant changes to be seen. After the weight loss process, you need to keep up and maintain the habits for longer time. According to many studies, it takes 5 years to regain 95 percent of weight after losing weight.
Apart from taking Wegovy and Ozempic, there are other lifestyles that will help you to achieve maximum results. These lifestyles are quality sleep, fight food, exercise and emotional health (avoiding stressors). You should focus on improving your metabolic health to avoid health problems like heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular diseases and other health conditions related to weight.
According to clinical trials conducted on Wegovy, they show that 2.4 mg of this drug can reduce weight to an average of 15.8% after 68 weeks. On the other hand, clinical trials on Ozempic showed 6% loss of weight after one year (the participants who were on starting weight of 197 pounds used 1.0 mg every week).
The reason for the changes in results is that Wegovy is indicated, registered and approved specifically for treating obesity nd overweight. Ozempic is indicated and registered for treatment of type 2 diabetes but used as off-label prescription for weight loss.
According to the statement by NovoNordisk (the manufacturer of both Wegovy and Ozempic) about using either of the drugs for weight loss, Ozempic is designed to be a supplement to diet and exercise to promote glycemic control in adults living with type 2 diabetes and also to reduce the risk of developing major adverse cardiovascular (CV) events (CV death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke) in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus and established CV disease. Taking the drug for weight loss is for secondary use.
Also, NovoNordisk stated that Wegovy is specified to be used as a supplement to reduction in your diet and increase in physical activities for managing chronic weight in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of over 30 kg (obesity) or over 27 kg (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition (e.g., hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or dyslipidemia).
WEGOVY VS OZEMPIC: SIDE EFFECTS
Wegovy and Ozempic have similar side effects. The common side effects are:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Abdominal distension
Serious or severe side effects of Wegovy and Ozempic are:
- Kidney failure and other kidney problems
- Very low blood sugar
- Changes in vision
- Inflammation of the pancreas
- Tumour in the thyroid or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma
- Acute gallbladder disease
- Diabetic retinopathy complications in patients with Type 2 Diabetes
- Increase of heart rate
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Wegovy vs Ozempic are very similar to each other, they do same function which is to reduce weight but one is specifically made for weight loss while the other is just for secondary use to reduce weight. Remember that both Wegovy and Ozempic are prescription drugs and you should stick to the recommended dosage.