Wegovy vs Ozempic - 4 differences and 4 similarities
If you’re curious about the new Wegovy weight loss injections, you may be wondering why the experts also mention a diabetes medication called Ozempic in the same breath.
The truth is that these medications are very similar, although they’re used for different reasons. While some people look to Wegovy to help them lose weight, others use Ozempic to treat type 2 diabetes.
n the surface, the relationship between the two can seem confusing, but keep reading and we’ll explain the difference between Ozempic and Wegovy, and whether you may need one rather than the other.
Let's start by looking at the similarities between these two medications.
1. The active ingredient - Semaglutide
Semaglutide is the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic, which is one of the reasons these medications are often mistaken for one another.
Semaglutide is a type of medication known as a GLP-1 receptor agonist, which means it falls into the same group of medicines as Saxenda and Victoza, which contain liraglutide.
Wegovy and Ozempic are both produced by the same manufacturer, a company called Novo Nordisk, which specialises in developing treatments for diabetes and weight management.
2. How it works
Wegovy and Ozempic work similarly because of their shared active ingredient.
Although they’re licensed for different conditions, the way semaglutide behaves makes it a very effective treatment for both type 2 diabetes and chronic weight management.
It interacts with the hormones in your pancreas, stimulating the production of insulin while slowing down the production of glucagon.
These hormones help you to manage your blood sugar levels, which is essential for diabetes patients.
They also manage your hunger levels, helping weight loss patients stick to a calorie-controlled diet.
3. Administration method
Patients taking Wegovy or Ozempic will need to inject their medication by themselves, which is why the treatment is provided in a pen.
Patients will need to inject their treatment once a week at the same time, using the pen to make sure they get the correct dose.
You have a few options to choose from when considering an injection site — the upper arms, the front of the thighs and the lower stomach.
Self-injections may seem a little daunting at first, but the small, thin needles used with Wegovy and Ozempic pens make your injections almost painless, so most people get used to their treatment quite quickly.
4. Side effects
The side effects of semaglutide are the same whether you’re using Wegovy or Ozempic.
The most common side effects you’ll experience on either of these treatments usually affect your digestive system.
Symptoms like constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn and indigestion are most common during the earliest stages of treatment as your body is still getting used to the medication and most patients find that they get better over time.
Some of these symptoms can also be managed temporarily with other treatments, for example, an antacid to ease your heartburn until your side effects improve.
1. What they’re used for
As we’ve briefly mentioned earlier, Wegovy and Ozempic are used for different reasons. Wegovy is used alongside diet and exercise changes to help with weight loss, while Ozempic is used to manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Although they contain the same active ingredient, they shouldn’t be used for the other’s purpose — so Wegovy shouldn’t be used for diabetes and Ozempic shouldn’t be used for weight loss.
This is because the strengths and dosage schedule of semaglutide are slightly different depending on which condition you’re treating.
Keeping the brands separate helps patients to be sure they’re taking the right dose for them and reduces the chances of under or overdosing.
2. The strengths
Wegovy and Ozempic pens are available in different strengths, reflecting the different needs of their patients.
Ozempic pens come in three strengths, providing either 0.5mg, 1mg or 2mg of semaglutide with each injection.
On the other hand, Wegovy is available in slightly higher doses, with the five available pens providing 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, 1.7mg and 2.4mg per injection.
You’ll start your treatment on the lowest possible dose before slowly increasing to higher doses over time.
3. The titration period
Titration is a fancy name for slowly increasing your dose of a medication.
It’s used by medical professionals to ensure that patients are getting the best possible results from their medication while minimising their side effects.
Patients taking Ozempic will start with a 0.25mg dose before increasing to 0.5mg after 4 weeks of treatment. After a further 4 weeks, they may increase to 1mg doses if necessary and to 2mg from there if needed.
With Wegovy, patients also follow a 4-week schedule starting from 0.25mg a week, then increasing to 0.5 and 1mg in the same way that Ozempic patients would.
If Wegovy patients need more than 1mg of semaglutide a week, they could then increase to 1.7mg and then to 2.4mg after another 4 weeks, if necessary.
The higher dose available to Wegovy patients means that the typical titration period is longer than that of Ozempic, and can be even longer if you need more time to adjust to each dosage increase.
4. Weight restrictions
The final difference between Wegovy and Ozempic is who could be a suitable patient for each one.
Patients who want to take Wegovy need to have a BMI of 30 or above or a BMI of 27 or above combined with a higher risk of weight-related illnesses.
These restrictions are put in place to make sure that Wegovy is only taken by patients who need help with weight management.
On the other hand, Ozempic has no weight restrictions but is only available for people who have type 2 diabetes and need medication to reduce their blood sugar levels or reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems like strokes and heart attacks.
Now you can tell the difference between Wegovy and Ozempic and have a much better idea of which one could be right for you.
If you’d like to learn more about Wegovy why not check out our range of guides about this medication?
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