Weight management is a critical aspect of overall health. For individuals struggling with obesity, finding effective treatments can be challenging. Recently, two medications have gained attention in the field of weight management: Wegovy and Ozempic. Both are glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists of the generic drug semaglutide, but they have key differences.
What are Wegovy and Ozempic?
Wegovy, also known by its generic name semaglutide, is a once-weekly injectable GLP-1 receptor agonist approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight management in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obesity) or a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or high cholesterol.
Ozempic, also known by its generic name semaglutide, is a once-weekly injectable GLP-1 receptor agonist approved by the FDA for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, it has also been shown to have significant weight loss benefits in clinical trials, leading to its off-label use for weight management in some cases.
Read more about Wegovy from our previous blog.
How Do They Work?
Both Wegovy and Ozempic work by mimicking the action of GLP-1, a hormone that is naturally released in the gut in response to food intake. GLP-1 receptors are located in the pancreas, where they stimulate insulin secretion, reduce the production of glucose by the liver, and slow down the emptying of the stomach, leading to decreased appetite and increased feelings of fullness. These combined actions result in lower blood sugar levels and weight loss.
Dosage and Administration
Wegovy and Ozempic are both administered as once-weekly injections in the subcutaneous fatty tissue of the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Both come as pre-filled pens for injection. Ozempic pens can deliver doses of 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg or 2 mg. Wegovy pens can deliver doses of 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 1.7 mg or 2.4 mg. The recommended dosages for both medications depend on individual patient factors, including response to treatment and potential side effects.
As with any medication, Wegovy and Ozempic have potential side effects and safety considerations. Common side effects for both medications may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. Additionally, GLP-1 receptor agonists, including Wegovy and Ozempic, may have rare but serious side effects, such as pancreatitis and thyroid C-cell tumors.
Which One is Right for You?
Deciding between Wegovy and Ozempic ultimately depends on various factors, particularly your specific medical history and concurrent medical conditions. If you are obese or overweight with weight-related comorbidities such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, Wegovy may be a suitable option as it is FDA-approved specifically for weight management in this population. On the other hand, if you have type 2 diabetes and are looking for a medication that can provide both glycemic control and weight loss benefits, Ozempic may be a consideration.
In conclusion, Wegovy and Ozempic are both GLP-1 receptor agonists that have shown promising results in promoting weight loss. However, they have some key differences in their approved uses. As with any medication, it’s crucial to work closely with your healthcare provider to determine which medication is right for you based on your individual health needs and circumstances. Weight management should be approached as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes, in addition to potential weight loss medication therapy.
1. FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2021, June 4). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-drug-treatment-chronic-weight-management-first-2014.
2. Rybelsus (semaglutide) [package insert]. Plainsboro, NJ: Novo Nordisk Inc.; 2021.
3. Ozempic (semaglutide) [package insert]. Plainsboro, NJ: Novo Nordisk Inc.; 2017.