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.
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Obesity remains a public health epidemic, affecting approximately 40% of Americans. Obesity increases your risk of chronic medical conditions, including high blood pressure, T2DM, heart disease, and stroke. 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.
Wegovy® is a GLP-1 receptor agonist designed to regulate blood glucose by stimulating insulin secretion and reducing glucagon secretion. Wegovy® leads to weight loss by decreasing appetite. 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:
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.
Originally, semaglutide was studied for use in patients with T2DM to lower blood glucose. During the clinical trials, a significant portion of patients started losing weight, suggesting semaglutide may act as an effective weight management drug. Further clinical trials confirmed the safety and efficacy of semaglutide as a weight management medication.[1,7-9]
Ozempic® is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that helps to regulate blood glucose by stimulating insulin secretion and reducing glucagon secretion. The FDA approved Ozempic® for patients diagnosed with T2DM as an adjunct to diet and exercise and to reduce the risk of heart disease. Ozempic® is not appropriate for patients with type 1 diabetes.
Ozempic® is initially administered once a week at 0.25 mg, and after four weeks, the dose is increased to 0.5 mg. If additional blood glucose control is needed, the dosage can increase to 2.0 mg. After a 30-week clinical trial, patients with T2DM had a lower hemoglobin A1C and fasting plasma glucose. Additionally, patients with T2DM lost weight while taking Ozempic®.
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]
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. Wegovy® is not approved for this indication, but taking Wegovy® may lead to better glucose control.
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.
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+ 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.