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Wegovy® vs. Ozempic®: explaining these medications

Written on April 19, 2023 by Theresa Vuskovich, DMD. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

Key Points:

  • Wegovy® is a glucagon-like peptide-1(GLP-1) receptor agonist approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a weight management medication for adults who have obesity or are overweight with at least one weight-related health condition.[1]
  • Ozempic® is a GLP-1 receptor agonist approved by the FDA to improve blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM).[2]
  • Wegovy® and Ozempic® are GLP-1 receptor agonists injected once weekly and contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide.[1,2]
  • Wegovy® and Ozempic® have different dosing schedules but similar safety profiles.[1,2]
  • Wegovy® and Ozempic® are prescribed for weight management, but only Wegovy® is FDA-approved for this indication.[1,2]

Obesity remains a public health epidemic, affecting approximately 40% of Americans.[3] Obesity increases your risk of chronic medical conditions, including high blood pressure, T2DM, heart disease, and stroke.[4] If you are struggling with your weight and seeking solutions, you may be familiar with Wegovy® and Ozempic®. This article explains Wegovy® vs. Ozempic® to help you confidently discuss your weight management options with your healthcare provider.

What is Wegovy®?

Wegovy® is a GLP-1 receptor agonist designed to regulate blood glucose by stimulating insulin secretion and reducing glucagon secretion.[1] Wegovy® leads to weight loss by decreasing appetite.[1] However, the exact mechanism by which semaglutide causes weight loss is still being investigated.

The FDA approved Wegovy® in 2021 for weight management in adults with obesity or who are overweight with at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.[1,5] In clinical trials, Wegovy® led to a reduction in waist circumference, blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol.[1,5]

Obesity is diagnosed based on your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI is calculated based on your height and weight. Below are the BMI categories for adults[6]:

  • Underweight: Less than 18.5
  • Healthy: 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: 25 to 29.9
  • Obesity: 30 or above

Wegovy® is indicated for patients with a BMI of 27 or greater who suffer from at least one weight-related condition or those with a BMI of 30.[1,5] Wegovy® helped individuals lose approximately 12% of their initial body weight compared to placebo during clinical trials.[5]

Originally, semaglutide was studied for use in patients with T2DM to lower blood glucose.[7] During the clinical trials, a significant portion of patients started losing weight, suggesting semaglutide may act as an effective weight management drug.[7] Further clinical trials confirmed the safety and efficacy of semaglutide as a weight management medication.[1,7-9]

What is Ozempic®?

Ozempic® is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that helps to regulate blood glucose by stimulating insulin secretion and reducing glucagon secretion.[2] The FDA approved Ozempic® for patients diagnosed with T2DM as an adjunct to diet and exercise and to reduce the risk of heart disease.[2] Ozempic® is not appropriate for patients with type 1 diabetes.[2]

Ozempic® is initially administered once a week at 0.25 mg, and after four weeks, the dose is increased to 0.5 mg.[2] If additional blood glucose control is needed, the dosage can increase to 2.0 mg.[2] After a 30-week clinical trial, patients with T2DM had a lower hemoglobin A1C and fasting plasma glucose.[2] Additionally, patients with T2DM lost weight while taking Ozempic®.[2]

Everlywell Weight Loss Support

What are the similarities between Ozempic® and Wegovy®?

Wegovy® and Ozempic® contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide.[1,2] Both medications are administered by subcutaneous injection once a week and require a prescription from a healthcare provider.[1,2] Wegovy® and Ozempic® are administered via an injection pen.[1,2] Wegovy® and Ozempic® pens should never be shared, even if the needle has been changed.[1,2]

Both medications are contraindicated for patients with a history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (personal or family history) and patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2.[1,2] Both medications increase the risk of thyroid c-cell tumors.[1,2] Wegovy® and Ozempic® may result in serious hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis and angioedema.[1,2] Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are the top three side effects of both medications.[1,2]

What are the differences between Ozempic® and Wegovy®?

Ozempic® and Wegovy® have different FDA-approved indications.[1,2] Wegovy® is FDA-approved for weight loss. However, Ozempic® is prescribed off-label for weight management. Ozempic® is FDA-approved for patients with T2DM to assist with blood glucose control.[2] Wegovy® is not approved for this indication, but taking Wegovy® may lead to better glucose control.[1]

The maintenance dose of Wegovy® (2.4 mg) is higher compared to Ozempic®.[1,2] Wegovy® is associated with a higher incidence of gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea and nausea.[10]

Does Ozempic® or Wegovy® work better for weight loss?

Ozempic® and Wegovy® results will vary from patient to patient.[1,2] Your healthcare provider will evaluate your health history to determine which medication can help you reach your weight and health goals.

Weight Care+ program with Everlywell

Weight Care+ is a weight management program to help you achieve your weight goals. The program offers support throughout the weight loss process with virtual care visits with a healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will create an individualized plan for you, which may include medication such as GLP-1. However, medications are prescribed based on each provider's clinical judgment and are not guaranteed when you join the program. Your healthcare provider aims to ensure you lose weight safely and effectively. Weight Care+ can help you get your weight down to a science.

How to get Ozempic® for weight loss: what you need to know

The benefits of meal planning and prepping for successful weight management

Weight loss and improvement in comorbidity

Wegovy® Starting Dose: How It Works


  1. Wegovy® Prescribing Information. URL. Accessed April 20, 2023.
  2. Ozempic® Prescribing Information. URL. Accessed April 20, 2023.
  3. Adult obesity facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL Published July 20, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2023.
  4. Consequences of obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Published July 15, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2023.
  5. FDA approves new drug treatment for chronic weight management, first since 2014. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. URL. Accessed April 20, 2023.
  6. Defining adult overweight & obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Published October 20, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2023.
  7. Davies M, Færch L, Jeppesen OK, Pakseresht A, Pedersen SD, Perreault L, Rosenstock J, Shimomura I, Viljoen A, Wadden TA, Lingvay I; STEP 2 Study Group. Semaglutide 2·4 mg once a week in adults with overweight or obesity and type 2 diabetes (STEP 2): a randomised, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2021 Mar 13;397(10278):971-984. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00213-0. Epub 2021 Mar 2. PMID: 33667417. URL
  8. Wilding JPH, Batterham RL, Calanna S, et al. Once-weekly semaglutide in adults with overweight or obesity. N Engl J Med. 2021;384(11):989-1002. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2032183. URL
  9. Ghusn W, De La Rosa A, Sacoto D, Cifuentes L, Campos A, Feris F, Hurtado MD, Acosta A. Weight Loss Outcomes Associated With Semaglutide Treatment for Patients With Overweight or Obesity. JAMA Network Open. 2022;5(9):e2231982. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.31982. URL
  10. Wharton S, Calanna S, Davies M, Dicker D, Goldman B, Lingvay I, Mosenzon O, Rubino DM, Thomsen M, Wadden TA, Pedersen SD. Gastrointestinal tolerability of once‐weekly semaglutide 2.4 mg in adults with overweight or obesity, and the relationship between gastrointestinal adverse events and weight loss. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. 2022;24(1):94-105. doi:10.1111/dom.14551. URL
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