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Wegovy vs Ozempic: what is the difference?

Felix Gussone, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Felix Gussone, MD, Ro, 

Felix Gussone, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Felix Gussone, MD, Ro, 

LAST UPDATED: Jun 28, 2023


If you are struggling with overweight and obesity or are living with type 2 diabetes, you’ve likely heard of Wegovy and Ozempic. Both medications are GLP-1s (glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists) and contain the same active ingredient (semaglutide). Since the two drugs have the same active ingredient, it is fair to ask: is Wegovy the same as Ozempic?

The answer is yes, and no. Wegovy and Ozempic are the same drugs, sold under different brand names. The main difference is the amount of semaglutide in each pen, and what they’ve been approved for. Semaglutide 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. 

Wegovy Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Ozempic Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

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Wegovy vs. Ozempic

Wegovy and Ozempic are brand-name injectable prescription drugs, containing the same active ingredient, semaglutide. Both belong to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, short GLP-1 agonists or GLP-1s. Other drugs in this class include Rybelsus, Saxenda, Trulicity, and Victoza

Although Ozempic and Wegovy share many similarities, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ozempic and Wegovy for different uses. 

The FDA has approved 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

In contrast, the FDA has approved Wegovy for chronic weight management in people 18 years and older with either:

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.

Saxenda Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

How does Ozempic work?

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist, and it acts the same way as the natural hormone GLP-1: it binds to GLP-1 receptors and tells the pancreas to release insulin into the bloodstream when blood sugar levels spike. Increased insulin in the body brings blood sugar levels back down. Since Ozempic mimics the GLP-1 hormone, it is highly effective at stabilizing blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes.

Another way Ozempic keeps blood sugar stable is by slowing down digestion and keeping food in the stomach for longer. This limits how much sugar gets released into the bloodstream and also lowers food intake by decreasing appetite. Finally, GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic tell the brain you’re full after eating, which adds another layer of appetite regulation. Because of these effects on appetite and food intake, Ozempic is often prescribed off-label for weight loss.

How does Wegovy work?

Semaglutide is the active ingredient in both Ozempic and Wegovy, so Wegovy works the same way as Ozempic does. By ramping up the body’s levels of GLP-1, Wegovy keeps food in the stomach for longer, and also sends signals to the brain, letting it know you’re full. All of that helps regulate your appetite, and leads to significant weight loss.

In one clinical trial on Wegovy, participants who took Wegovy combined with lifestyle changes and lost an average of 15% of their body weight by the end of the 68-week trial.

Risks and side effects of Ozempic and Wegovy

Since Ozempic and Wegovy contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide, side effects are very similar for the two drugs. In general, side effects are most common when you start using Ozempic or Wegovy and as you increase your dose. Higher doses of Wegovy and Ozempic can have a higher risk of side effects

Common side effects of Ozempic and Wegovy include:

Serious side effects are possible with Ozempic and Wegovy, but rare. They can include: 

  • 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. 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. If you have concerns about potential side effects, speak with your healthcare provider about which drug might be right for you.

Ozempic vs. Wegovy: is one stronger? 

The typical maintenance dose of Wegovy is higher than Ozempic, because it comes in higher doses of semaglutide. While Ozempic is available in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, and 1.0 mg, and 2 mg strength, Wegovy is available in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg, 1.7 mg, and 2.4 mg single-use pens. This means Wegovy can be taken at a higher dose than Ozempic, though you do have to ramp up over five months. If appropriate, your healthcare provider can increase your Ozempic dosage to 2 mg once weekly for blood sugar control (the maximum dosage).

A typical Wegovy vs. Ozempic dosage schedule:



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 mg once a week

1 mg once a week (typical maintenance dose)

Month 4

1.7 mg once a week

2 mg once a week 

(for additional blood sugar control)

Month 5 and beyond

(typical maintenance dose)

2.4 mg once a week

2 mg once a week

(for additional blood sugar control)

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 weight loss than semaglutide 1 mg (the typical maintenance dose of Ozempic).

Another trial found that participants who took 2.4mg of semaglutide (common Wegovy dosage) along with diet and exercise, lost an average of 15% of their body weight by the end of the 68-week trial. In comparison, people with diabetes taking 1.0 mg of semaglutide (a common Ozempic dosage), along with diet and exercise, saw an average weight loss of 7% of their body weight over 68 weeks. 

Both Wegovy and Ozempic can be effective treatment options for weight loss. Ultimately, the better drug is the one that is available to you, and covered by your insurance. A healthcare provider can help you determine if one of these medications is right for you. Ro Body combines GLP-1 with personal coaching to help people lose weight and keep it off. 

Wegovy vs. Ozempic - the key points

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:



Active ingredient



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

Maximum weekly dose

2.4 mg

2 mg

Cost without insurance*



*Average retail cost for one carton, according to .

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 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.

How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

June 28, 2023

Written by

Patricia Weiser, PharmD

Fact checked by

Felix Gussone, MD

About the medical reviewer

Felix Gussone is a physician, health journalist and a Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.

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