Wegovy vs. Ozempic : 5 Differences You Should Know About
Ozempic and Wegovy are both injections that contain semaglutide. Ozempic is approved to treat Type 2 diabetes. Wegovy is a higher-dose version that’s approved for weight loss. They aren’t interchangeable.
Adults and adolescents ages 12 and older meeting certain body mass index (BMI) criteria may be eligible for Wegovy. People with Type 2 diabetes can also take Wegovy, but it’s not approved to treat diabetes.
The target Wegovy dosage is 2.4 mg once weekly. If you can’t tolerate this dosage, you may need to stop taking Wegovy. The maximum Ozempic dosage is 2 mg once weekly.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re interested in Wegovy or Ozempic. They can determine if either medication is right for you.
Wegovy and Ozempic are once-weekly injections that contain the same active ingredient: semaglutide. These injectable medications have been gaining a lot of attention recently and, in fact, are both currently in shortage due to increased demand. But they’re not interchangeable.
Below, we review five differences between Wegovy and Ozempic you should know about.
1. Wegovy and Ozempic are approved for different uses
Wegovy and Ozempic were studied for different reasons during clinical trials. Wegovy trials were focused on weight loss. Ozempic trials were focused on improving blood sugar (glucose) levels. The results of these trials were used to support each medication’s approved uses.
Wegovy is approved for chronic weight management in adults and adolescents ages 12 and older. It has been studied in both people who do and do not have diabetes. During clinical trials, adults taking Wegovy lost nearly 15% of their starting body weight on average. In a separate trial, adolescents lost about 16% of their starting body weight on average.
Ozempic is approved to treat Type 2 diabetes in adults. And if you also have heart disease, it can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. During clinical trials, people taking Ozempic lowered their hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C or A1C) by over 1%. A1C is your average blood glucose level over 3 months.
You may be prescribed Wegovy or Ozempic for different reasons. But a healthy diet and exercise are key to getting the best results with both.
2. Different people are eligible for Wegovy and Ozempic
Adults who meet certain body mass index (BMI) criteria may be eligible for Wegovy. This includes people with a BMI of 30 or greater. You may also qualify if you have a BMI of at least 27 and one or more weight-related medical conditions. Examples of these conditions include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes.
Wegovy is also approved for chronic weight management in adolescents ages 12 and older. In order to be eligible, adolescents must have a BMI at or above the 95% percentage for age and sex.
Adults with Type 2 diabetes may be prescribed Ozempic to help balance blood glucose levels. If you’ve been prescribed Ozempic and don’t have diabetes, this is considered off-label use. Ozempic isn’t approved for use in people under 18 years old.
Is Wegovy good for people with diabetes?
If you’re living with Type 2 diabetes, you may be eligible for Wegovy. Your healthcare provider may decide it’s right for you as part of your weight management plan.
The STEP 2 trial studied Wegovy’s effects on people with Type 2 diabetes. After 68 weeks, participants taking the medication lost an average of nearly 10% of their starting body weight. They also saw an improvement in their A1C levels.
Wegovy isn’t approved as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes. But because of how it works, you may see some blood glucose benefits while taking it. And healthy weight loss can have positive effects on your glucose levels, too.Wegovy
3. Wegovy and Ozempic have different dosages
When you first start taking Wegovy or Ozempic, you’ll begin with a low dosage. Every 4 weeks, your healthcare provider will increase your dosage until you reach the target amount. But how much you inject will vary by medication.Wegovy vs. Ozempic
A typical Wegovy dosage schedule is:
Month 1: 0.25 mg once weekly (starting dosage)
Month 2: 0.5 mg once weekly
Month 3: 1 mg once weekly
Month 4: 1.7 mg once weekly
Month 5: 2.4 mg once weekly (target dosage)
If you’re unable to tolerate the target Wegovy dosage, your healthcare provider may have you stop taking the medication.
A typical Ozempic dosage schedule is:
Month 1: 0.25 mg once weekly (starting dosage)
Month 2: 0.5 mg once weekly
If needed, your Ozempic dosage may be increased up to 2 mg once weekly (maximum dosage).
Will Wegovy and Ozempic start working right away?
It can take some time to see the full benefits of either Wegovy or Ozempic.
If you’re prescribed Wegovy, know that healthy weight loss takes time. It takes about 5 months (20 weeks) to reach the target dosage. During this time, adults taking it in clinical trials lost an average of about 10% of their starting body weight. They lost an additional 8% of their body weight through week 68.
The starting dosage of Ozempic (0.25 mg weekly) isn’t effective for blood glucose control. But you may start to see a benefit to your blood glucose levels when the dosage is increased after the first month. Your dosage may be increased a few times after that to help you reach your blood glucose goals.
4.Side effects may be more likely with Wegovy than Ozempic Wegovy vs. Ozempic
Medications like Wegovy and Ozempic are known to cause digestion-related side effects. Common ones include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. They tend to be reported more frequently with higher dosages. And, since it’s usually given at a higher dosage than Ozempic, side effects may be more likely with Wegovy.
The typical Ozempic dosage falls in the range of 0.5 mg to 2 mg once weekly. In trials, Ozempic’s side effects were largely studied at a maximum dosage of 1 mg weekly. That’s because that was the maximum dosage available up until March 2022. In studies of the 2 mg dose, the side effects were similar (but with a slightly higher occurrence) to those of the 1 mg dose.
Wegovy is available at a higher dosage (2.4 mg weekly) than Ozempic. Compared to 1 mg of semaglutide, more people taking 2.4 mg reported side effects in clinical trials.
Digestion-related side effects tend to be more common when starting treatment and with dosage increases. Your healthcare provider will slowly raise your dosage to minimize these effects, which should improve over time.Wegovy vs. Ozempic
5. Insurance coverage may be different for Wegovy and Ozempic
Wegovy and Ozempic may be covered differently under your insurance plan. For example, your plan may not cover Wegovy to help you manage your weight. But it may cover Ozempic for the treatment of your Type 2 diabetes. It’s best to check with your plan ahead of time for specific coverage details.
If you have commercial insurance, you may be able to save on your prescription with a savings card from the manufacturer. That means you could pay as little as $25 for Wegovy and as little as $25 for Ozempic. Patient assistance programs are also available for these medications.
Can you switch from Ozempic to Wegovy?
Ozempic and Wegovy are not interchangeable. So you typically won’t switch from one to the other. This is especially true if you’re taking Ozempic for Type 2 diabetes, since Wegovy isn’t approved for that use.