Wegovy vs Ozempic: What’s the Difference?

By Alicia Wooldridge, MD
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
July 14, 2022

Wegovy and Ozempic are medications in the class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1s receptor agonists (GLP-1s). They are both manufactured by Novo Nordisk and contain the active compound called semaglutide

Originally developed as a diabetes medication in 2017, semaglutide was first sold under the brand name Ozempic. In 2021, the manufacturer introduced Wegovy, which contains a higher dose of semaglutide. 

The main differences between the two medications are that Wegovy contains a higher dose of semaglutide and was developed specifically for the treatment of overweight and obesity, while Ozempic was originally indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Both Wegovy and Ozempic are FDA-approved to support chronic weight management when used alongside behavioral modifications like diet and exercise. 

They are both approved for use in people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater or in people with a BMI of 27 or greater who also have a metabolic health condition, like type 2 diabetes or hypertension

Get Prescription Weight Loss Medications Fast

Have trouble losing weight? See if you qualify for K Health’s online medical weight loss program.

  1. Fast: Chat with a doctor in minutes
  2. Easy: On your phone, on your schedule
  3. Reliable: Advice, prescriptions, and referrals
Start now

Wegovy vs. Ozempic: What’s the Difference?

Wegovy and Ozempic contain the same active compound: semaglutide. They are also both injectable medications delivered once weekly. 

However, Wegovy is available in higher doses than semaglutide. And since Wegovy recently received FDA approval in 2021, it’s the first weight loss medication to gain approval since 2014.

Here’s a summary of the main differences and similarities between the two medications:

Medication classActive compoundDrug administrationStarting doseHighest dose availableGained FDA approval
WegovyGLP-1SemaglutideInjection0.25 mg/week2.4 mg/week2021
OzempicGLP-1SemaglutideInjection0.25 mg/week1.0 mg/week2017

Wegovy

Wegovy is the first medication to receive FDA approval for the treatment of chronic weight management since 2014. 

Below is some important information about the medication to review before speaking with your healthcare provider about whether or not the medication may be right for you.

Dosage

Because Wegovy is available in higher doses of semaglutide, it enables better crossing of the blood-brain barrier, which can help to increase total weight loss. Still, if prescribed the medication, your healthcare provider will start you on a low dose of Wegovy and gradually increase the dose over 16-20 weeks. 

The starting dose of Wegovy is 0.25 mg per week. The highest dose available of the medication is 2.4 mg per week. Gradually increasing the dose can help to reduce the risk of side effects. 

Side effects

Gastrointestinal side effects are the most common when taking Wegovy. These include:

Serious side effects are rare, but still possible. If you experience any of the following, please seek emergency treatment:

  • Ongoing pain that begins in the upper left or middle of the stomach but may spread to the back, with or without vomiting
  • Rash or itching
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, tongue, or throat
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Decreased urination
  • Swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
  • Vision changes
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Pain in upper stomach
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes
  • Fever
  • Clay-colored stools 
  • Rapid heartbeat

Effectiveness

As a class of medication, GLP-1s have been researched for over 16 years and have shown consistent results in the reduction of body weight in obese patients with and without diabetes.

In its announcement of approval, the FDA cited the following results on the effectiveness of Wegovy for the treatment of chronic weight management:

  • In one trial, people who received Wegovy lost an average of 12.4% of their initial body weight (the average BMI of the participants was 38)
  • In another trial, people who received Wegovy lost 6.2% of their initial body weight when compared to those who only received a placebo

Research also suggests that, in addition to improving metabolic health and body weight, semaglutide may also help to lower the rate of cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, or non-fatal stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes at high risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Interactions and warnings

Wegovy may not be right for everyone.

People with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer (a rare and primarily genetic type of thyroid cancer) may be at risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. Additionally, people with a rare condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) should not use it. 

Tell your provider about any other prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications you’re currently taking. Importantly, Wegovy should not be combined with any other GLP-1 or weight loss drug.  

Cost

The cost can vary depending on several factors, including your insurance coverage and the rates at your local pharmacy.

Without insurance, Wegovy can cost over $1,500 per month. With coverage, you may pay as little as $25 per month.

Ozempic

Ozempic can be used alongside a diet and exercise program to help control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It can also be used to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes and heart and blood vessel disease.

It can also be used for chronic weight management.

Dosage

Ozempic and Wegovy contain the same active compound, but Ozempic is available in slightly lower doses than Wegovy. Like Wegovy, your provider will start you on a low dose of Ozempic: 0.25 mg per week. If recommended by your provider, you may increase your dose of Ozempic by 0.25 mg every four weeks.

The maximum dose of Ozempic is 1.0 mg per week, if recommended by your provider.

Side effects

Possible side effects of Ozempic are the same as the possible side effects of Wegovy, since they contain the same active compound:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Burping

As with Wegovy, severe side effects are possible and should be taken seriously. If you experience any of the below symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Ongoing pain that begins in the upper left or middle of the stomach but may spread to the back, with or without vomiting
  • Rash or itching
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, tongue, or throat
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Decreased urination
  • Swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
  • Vision changes
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Pain in upper stomach
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes
  • Fever
  • Clay-colored stools 
  • Rapid heartbeat

Get Prescription Weight Loss Medications Fast

Have trouble losing weight? See if you qualify for K Health’s online medical weight loss program.

  1. Fast: Chat with a doctor in minutes
  2. Easy: On your phone, on your schedule
  3. Reliable: Advice, prescriptions, and referrals
Start now

Effectiveness

Like Wegovy, Ozempic has been shown to be effective to help support weight loss as an adjunct therapy to diet and exercise.

Ozempic has also been shown to be an effective treatment for the management of type 2 diabetes

Interactions and warnings

Like Wegovy, Ozempic should not be used by individuals with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). 

As with any medication, it’s important to tell your healthcare provider about any medications, supplements, or vitamins you’re currently taking.

Ozempic should not be combined with any other GLP-1 or weight loss drug.  

Cost

The price of Ozempic will vary depending on several factors, including whether or not your insurance covers the cost of the medication. 

If not, you could pay $800 or more per monthly supply of the medication. With coverage, you could pay as little as $25. 

Is Wegovy or Ozempic Better for Weight Loss?

Both Wegovy and Ozempic can help to support sustained weight loss in overweight and obese individuals who are committed to implementing long-term behavioral modifications including changes in diet, exercise, and stress management

The higher doses available with Wegovy may help some people to lose more weight, but what works best for one person may not be the same as what works best for you.

Ultimately, neither Wegovy nor Ozempic are intended to be a “quick-fix” for weight loss. 

To effectively and safely reap the benefits of either medication, you need to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations to ensure that you’re consistently incorporating lifestyle modifications while on one of these medications.

How to Get Wegovy or Ozempic

If you’re eligible, you can get Wegovy or Ozempic online through K Health.

Manage weight loss using K Health for just $29 per month. Get started in three easy steps:

  1. Answer a few simple questions.
  2. Meet your primary care provider.
  3. Get the care you need.

Get started now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Wegovy work better than Ozempic?
Wegovy and Ozempic are both glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1s) that contain the active compound semaglutide. However, Wegovy is available in slightly higher doses than Ozempic, which can help to support weight loss. However, what works best for you will depend on your unique health factors.
What medications are comparable to Wegovy?
Wegovy is a glucagon-like peptide-1s (GLP-1s) that contains the active compound semaglutide. Examples of other GLP-1s include liraglutide (Saxenda), dulaglutide (Trulicity), and semaglutide (Ozempic).
What is the best alternative to Ozempic?
Ozempic is a GLP-1 medication indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It has also been approved by the FDA to support chronic weight management. Examples of other GLP-1 medications include Wegovy, liraglutide (Saxenda), and dulaglutide (Trulicity). Keep in mind that the best alternative for your unique circumstances will depend on your health history and goals.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Alicia Wooldridge, MD

Dr. Alicia Wooldridge is a board certified Family Medicine physician with over a decade of experience.