Ozempic Vs Wegovy: Is There A Difference?

Wegovy and Ozempic are both medications that contain the active ingredient semaglutide; but is there a difference between them? Whilst there are many similarities between these two drugs, there are a few key differences, which we will highlight in this article. We’ll also explain how Wegovy works for weight loss, and ask if Wegovy is better for weight loss than Ozempic.

Is Ozempic the Same as Wegovy?

Both Wegovy and Ozempic contain semaglutide and are self-administered via injection using a pen. One of the most important differences is the purpose of the medications. While Wegovy is approved as a weight loss treatment, Ozempic is for type 2 diabetes. In this respect, the two medications aren’t interchangeable.

The dosage of the two medications is also different. Wegovy comes in a range of five strengths (0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg, 1.7 mg and 2.4 mg), while Ozempic can be prescribed in pens containing 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg, 1 mg or 2 mg concentrations. Wegovy and Ozempic are both administered once per week. The maximum dose of Ozempic is 2.0 mg, while Wegovy users will typically increase their dosage gradually until they reach the maintenance dose of 2.4 mg.

What Is Wegovy?

Wegovy is a weight loss treatment that is used with a low-calorie diet and regular exercise. Suitable for obese or overweight people with a weight-related health condition, Wegovy contains the active ingredient semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that mimics the natural GLP-1 hormone in the body, allowing appetite to be regulated.

This weight loss treatment is suitable for adults only, as the safety of use by children under the age of 18 isn’t known.

What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a treatment for adults with type 2 diabetes. It is prescribed to diabetics and is not approved to treat weight loss in the UK. Ozempic also contains the active ingredient semaglutide.

In diabetics, Ozempic can reduce the risk of major cardiovascular issues including stroke and heart attack.

Wegovy vs Ozempic Dosage

Wegovy and Ozempic are both self-administered via an injection pen. The medications are both taken once per week, on the same day, at any time of day.

Prescribed in five dose strengths (0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg, 1.7 mg or 2.4 mg), Wegovy has a starting dosage of 0.25 mg, once per week, and is increased every four weeks until the maintenance dose of 2.4 mg is reached.

Ozempic is available in strengths of 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg, 1 mg and 2 mg. The starting dose of 0.25 mg is taken once weekly for the first four weeks, before being increased to a 0.5mg dose once weekly for at least another four weeks.

For additional blood sugar control, your Ozempic dosage can be increased to 1 mg, and potentially 2mg, once per week, for at least four weeks. You may change your regular day of administration, provided the time between your two doses is at least 48 hours.

How Does Wegovy Work?

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy, imitates the GLP-1 that your body produces to control blood sugar. Semaglutide stimulates the release of insulin and suppresses the release of glucagon in the pancreas.

By affecting these two hormones, semaglutide helps to reduce the speed with which glucose is absorbed into your blood and regulates your blood sugar levels. In this way, semaglutide reduces your appetite, leading to a lower calorie intake and weight loss.

How Does Ozempic Work?

Ozempic works in the same way as Wegovy, containing the same active ingredient; semaglutide. This treatment for type 2 diabetes helps your pancreas to release insulin when it is needed. It can also slow down the digestive process and release sugar from the liver, which can prevent blood sugar spikes.

Wegovy vs Ozempic Results

While Wegovy and Ozempic contain the same active ingredients, the differences between the two medications are significant when it comes to treating weight loss. The higher doses in Wegovy pens, and the specific dosing schedule – progressing from 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg, 1.7 mg and 2.4 mg – make the treatment more suitable than Ozempic for weight loss. It would be very difficult to keep to this structured dosing schedule using Ozempic. A study showed that adults who took Wegovy lost 12.4% of their starting body weight on average.

People respond differently to weight loss treatment, and consequently, the time that Wegovy takes to work can vary from person to person. Your doctor can guide you on a realistic weight loss target while you are taking Wegovy. In treating type 2 diabetes, Ozempic can reduce blood sugar levels within a week, but it may take eight weeks or more to feel the full effect of the medication.

Wegovy vs Ozempic Interactions

Suitable candidates for Wegovy will be obese people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher and overweight people with a BMI of 27 or higher and at least one weight-related health condition. To be prescribed Ozempic, you will be a type 2 diabetic.

Semaglutide does have certain interactions. You should inform your doctor if you are taking medicine including dulaglutide, exenatide and liraglutide. Some vitamins and herbal products may also affect semaglutide. A comprehensive list of semaglutide interactions can be found here.

Wegovy vs Ozempic Side effects

Wegovy and Ozempic share the same potential side effects due to their active ingredient. Not everyone will experience side effects from Wegovy or Ozempic, but among the more common side effects of semaglutide are:

  • Swelling
  • Itching or redness at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Sickness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation

If any of these side effects persist or worsen, you should tell your doctor.

Serious side effects from semaglutide are rare. If you experience any of the following:

  • Changes to your vision
  • Signs of kidney problems such as urinating more or less
  • Signs of gallbladder or pancreas disease such as frequent vomiting, or severe stomach pain

Seek immediate medical help.

Is Wegovy Better Than Ozempic for Weight Loss?

Wegovy and Ozempic have the same active ingredient, but only Wegovy is approved to treat weight loss. Using Wegovy for weight loss provides you with a dosing schedule that is structured for losing weight, combined with regular exercise and a low-calorie diet.

Wegovy vs Ozempic Cost

At the time of writing, neither Wegovy nor Ozempic is licenced in the UK. However, Wegovy will be available later this year (2023).

According to draft guidelines for the NHS, the list price of semaglutide 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg and 1.0 mg is £73.25 (excluding VAT) per pack. Each pack contains four pre-filled pens. The list price of the 1.7 mg and 2.4 mg strength semaglutide can’t be disclosed at the time of writing because it is commercial in confidence.

In the US, the list price for Ozempic is $892.06 (£745) for a 1.5 ml or 3 ml pen.

Once Wegovy is fully approved for sale in the UK, Cloud Pharmacy will work with the pharmaceutical provider to treat patients with the drug. The clinical team is well-versed in WeGovy and happy to assist with any questions.

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