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Wegovy vs. Ozempic: which is right for you?

chimene richaPatricia Weiser PharmD

Reviewed by Chimene Richa, MD, written by Patricia Weiser, PharmD

Last updated: Jan 31, 2023
7 min read

Wegovy and Ozempic are both medications that are considered GLP-1s (glucagon-like peptide-1s receptor agonists) and they both contain the same active ingredient (semaglutide). Lately, they’ve both been getting a lot of attention as drugs that can help people lose weight.

Semaglutide injection was first approved under the brand name Ozempic in 2017 as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. In 2021, the FDA approved the drug under the brand name Wegovy as a weight loss medication. Doctors often prescribe both for weight loss, but there are a few key differences between them.

Keep reading to learn more about Wegovy vs. Ozempic and which medication might be right for you.


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Get access to GLP-1 medication (if prescribed) and 1:1 support to meet your weight loss goals.

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Get access to GLP-1 medication (if prescribed) and 1:1 support to meet your weight loss goals.

Wegovy vs. Ozempic

Wegovy (see Important Safety Information) and Ozempic (see Important Safety Information) are both brand-name injectable prescription drugs. As mentioned, they both contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide. Both belong to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (informally known as GLP-1 agonists). Other drugs in this class include Rybelsus, Byetta, Bydureon, Saxenda, Trulicity, and Victoza (FDA, 2022; FDA-b, 2021). 

Let’s continue to break down some of the key characteristics of Wegovy vs. Ozempic. Here’s a summary of need-to-know facts about Wegovy (FDA-b, 2021):

  • Active ingredient: semaglutide
  • Form: disposable, single-dose injector pen with built-in needle
  • Route: subcutaneous (under-the-skin) injection in your stomach or thigh
  • Dosing schedule: once a week
  • Starting dose: 0.25 milligrams per 0.5 milliliters (mg/mL)
  • Maximum maintenance dosage: 2.4 mg weekly

And need-to-know facts about Ozempic (FDA, 2022):

  • Active ingredient: semaglutide
  • Form: multiple-use injector pen
  • Route: subcutaneous (under-the-skin) injection in your stomach or thigh
  • Dosing schedule: once a week
  • Starting dose: 0.25 milligrams per 0.5 milliliters (mg/mL)
  • Typical maintenance dosage: 1 mg weekly
  • Maximum dosage: 2 mg weekly

It’s clear that these two injectable prescription drugs are similar. But how do they differ? Wegovy and Ozempic are approved for different uses and populations.

Ozempic and Wegovy are approved for different reasons

Although Ozempic and Wegovy share many similarities, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ozempic and Wegovy for different indications or uses in different populations (FDA-a, 2021; FDA, 2022). 

The FDA approves Ozempic for:

  • Controlling blood sugar in adults over 18 years old with type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Reducing the risk of major cardiovascular health problems, such as heart attack, stroke, and death in adults with type 2 diabetes and heart disease

Participants in clinical trials were able to lower their blood glucose levels by over 1% in three months with Ozempic (Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, n.d.). Ozempic can also be prescribed off-label to people who don’t have type 2 diabetes to help with weight loss. 

In contrast, the FDA has approved Wegovy for chronic weight management in people 12 years and older with either:

Clinical trials have shown that Wegovy is effective for weight loss in people with and without type 2 diabetes (Alabduljabbar, 2022). In fact, adults taking Wegovy for weight loss can lose an average of up to 14.9% of their starting body weight in 68 weeks (a little less than six months) (Wilding, 2021). 

Unlike Ozempic, Wegovy is also approved for weight management in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 years old who have a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for their age and sex. Clinical trials showed that adolescents in this age range taking Wegovy lost a mean of 16.1% of their starting body weight in 68 weeks (Weghuber, 2022).

Wegovy vs. Ozempic for weight loss: which is better?

In a clinical trial that compared weekly use of semaglutide 1 mg and 2.4 mg, semaglutide 2.4 mg (the maximum dose of Wegovy) caused more significant weight loss than semaglutide 1 mg (the typical maintenance dose of Ozempic) (Davies, 2021; Singh, 2022).

Over the 68 week treatment period, trial participants who reached a weekly dose of 2.4 mg of semaglutide lost an average of 10.6% of their body weight, while those who reached a weekly dose of 1 mg lost an average of 7.0% (Davies, 2021).

Both Wegovy and Ozempic can be effective treatment options for weight loss. In some people, losing weight can increase energy and reduce the risk of serious health issues. A healthcare provider can help you determine if one of these medications is right for you. Ro’s Body Program combines the use of GLP-1 with personal coaching to help people lose weight and keep it off. 

Ozempic and Wegovy: is one stronger?

One of the biggest differences between Ozempic and Wegovy is the dosing. While Ozempic is available in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg and 1.0 mg pens, Wegovy on the other hand is available in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg, 1.7 mg and 2.4 mg pens. This means Wegovy can be taken at a slightly higher dose than Ozempic, though you do have to ramp up over five months. 

A typical Wegovy vs. Ozempic dosage schedule:

Wegovy Ozempic
Month 1 0.25 mg once a week 0.25 mg once a week
Month 2 0.50 mg once a week 0.50 mg once a week
Month 3 1.0 mg once a week 0.50 mg once a week
Month 4 1.7 mg once a week 0.50 mg once a week
Month 5 2.4 mg once a week 0.50 mg once a week

If indicated, your healthcare provider can increased your Ozempic dosage up to 2 mg once weekly (which is the maximum dosage).

Injecting Wegovy vs. Ozempic

Another notable difference between the two drugs is how you use Ozempic and Wegovy pens. With Wegovy, each injection pen has a built-in needle. After you use the pen once, you’ll dispose of it in a sharps container. 

Ozempic, on the other hand, comes with needles that you’ll attach to the injector pen before each dose. Then you’ll dispose of the needle in a sharps container, but continue using the same pen several times. The exact number of doses per pen varies depending on your dosage. Note that you should not share an Ozempic pen with another person, as this can spread disease, even if the needle is changed (FDA, 2022).

Risks and side effects of Ozempic and Wegovy

Common side effects of Ozempic and Wegovy include (FDA-a, 2021; FDA, 2022):

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Injection site reactions, such as pain or skin irritation

Other serious side effects are possible with Ozempic and Wegovy, such as: 

  • In studies with mice and rats, semaglutide (the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic) caused thyroid tumors, including thyroid cancer. It is not known if Wegovy will cause thyroid tumors or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in people. Tell your provider if you get a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath. These may be symptoms of thyroid cancer.
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or gallbladder problems
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when taken along with insulin or certain diabetes pills like glimepiride or glipizide 
  • Kidney injury
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Severe allergic reaction

When deciding between Wegovy or Ozempic, it’s important to consider that side effects may be more likely with Wegovy (depending on your prescribed dosage) as Wegovy is available in a higher dose than Ozempic. For some, this higher dosage can mean more side effects. In clinical trials of participants taking 1 mg of Wegovy once a week vs. 2.4 mg of Wegovy once a week, participants who took a 2.4 mg dose reported more side effects (Davies, 2021). If you have concerns about potential side effects, speak with your healthcare provider about which drug might be right for you. 

All of the details that differentiate Wegovy vs. Ozempic might be overwhelming. Here are some highlights of several key differences and similarities between these two medications:

Wegovy Ozempic
Active ingredient Semaglutide Semaglutide
FDA-approved use For weight loss, along with diet and exercise, in adults with obesity (BMI of 30 or greater), or overweight (BMI of 27 or greater) with at least one weight-related medical condition, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure To improve control of blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes, along with diet and exercise

To reduce the risk of major cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, stroke, and death in adults with type 2 diabetes and heart disease
Most common side effects Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation
Typical dosing Once weekly injection Once weekly injection
Cost without insurance* $1,627 $907

*Average retail cost for one carton, according to GoodRx.com. Your actual cost may vary depending on your location, pharmacy, insurance coverage, and eligibility for savings programs (GoodRx, n.d.).

Whether you’re interested in Wegovy and Ozempic for managing type 2 diabetes, weight loss, or both, speak to your healthcare provider. They can help you determine which medication, if either, is right for you and create a safe and effective treatment plan.


If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


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  5. Frías, J. P., Auerbach, P., Bajaj, H. S., et al. (2021). Efficacy and safety of once-weekly semaglutide 2·0 mg versus 1·0 mg in patients with type 2 diabetes (sustain forte): A double-blind, randomised, phase 3B trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 9(9), 563–574. doi:10.1016/s2213-8587(21)00174-1. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34293304/
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Dr. Chimene Richa is a board-certified Ophthalmologist and Senior Medical Writer/Reviewer at Ro.