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Wegovy vs Ozempic: Pros and Cons for Weight Loss Treatment

Which one is right for you?
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Ozempic and Wegovy are both used for weight loss—but only one is FDA-approved as a weight loss drug. "As with any drug, you always have to weigh the benefits and risks," Dr. Cecilia Low Wang, a UCHealth expert in endocrinology, tells UCHealth Today. "Even though this can be an amazing drug for many people, each person is unique, and you need to make an informed decision." Here are some pros and cons of Ozempic Vs. Wegovy, according to experts.

Semaglutide Active Ingredient

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Ozempic and Wegovy both contain semaglutide. "Semaglutide mimics a naturally occurring hormone called GLP-1 that is released in the gut when we eat," Richard D. Siegel, co-director of the Diabetes and Lipid Center and a doctor at the Weight and Wellness Center at Tufts Medical Center, tells Friedman School of Nutrition. "GLP-1 prompts the body to produce more insulin and has actions in the appetite pathway in the brain. The doses of these medications are much higher than what the gut makes naturally. They seem to reduce cravings and dull the desire to eat."

PRO: Ozempic Has Been Around For Longer

Montreal, CA - 16 November 2023: Ozempic semaglutide injection pens and box. Ozempic is a medication for obesity

Ozempic has been around longer than Wegovy. "Ozempic has been used to treat type 2 diabetes since 2017, so we have a lot of data showing this class of drugs is safe, at least at lower doses," Dr Siegel says. "A lot of people are taking Wegovy and Ozempic now. That means we are gathering a lot of additional real-world information about side effects and safety."

CON: Ozempic Is Not a Weight Loss Drug

Santiago, Chile, august 16th, 2023. Pen injection of semaglutide named

Ozempic was created specifically to treat type 2 diabetes, not for weight loss. "As a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, I am concerned about the health of our patients living with diabetes who are unable to receive their prescribed medications, such as Ozempic, due to shortages," Shana Nicholson, Manager at the Baptist Health Diabetes Management Programs, tells Baptist Health.

RELATED: What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Taking Ozempic

CON: Ozempic is For Diabetes Primarily, so is it for You?


Some experts recommend actual weight loss drugs—such as Wegovy—over diabetes drugs. "Ozempic is used to manage blood sugar from diabetes," Nicholson says. "I urge those with prescriptions for Ozempic for weight loss and not for diabetes management to contact their healthcare provider to be switched to a comparable FDA-approved medication for weight loss."

PRO: Wegovy For Weight Loss

Valparaiso, IN USA - January 22, 2024: Wegovy semaglutide pens for treatment of chronic obesity, close up

Wegovy is specifically designed and approved to deal with obesity. Not only does the drug encourage weight loss, it can also help prevent major cardiac events. "The thinking is that if obesity is treated early, these cardiovascular-related benefits will start to occur even in the first three years," says Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM. "This could mean that even more benefit will accrue over the long-term."

CON: Ozempic Side Effects

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Ozempic may have unpleasant side effects for some people, including nausea and GI issues. Vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation have also been reported from people taking both Ozempic and Wegovy.

CON: Wegovy Side Effects

Young man having nausea at home. Feeling sick

Wegovy side effects are also unpleasant, maybe even moreso, as Wegovy contains a higher level of semaglutide. "Common side effects of Wegovy may include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, stomach (abdomen) pain, headache, tiredness (fatigue), upset stomach, dizziness, feeling bloated, belching, low blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, gas, stomach flu, heartburn, and runny nose or sore throat," says

RELATED: 20 Possible Ozempic Side Effects

CON: "Ozempic Face"

GDANSK, POLAND - MAY 2022: obese fat man preparing Semaglutide Ozempic injection control blood sugar levels

Ozempic face is a term used to describe the sagging skin and aged appearance of someone who has lost weight too quickly. The term is usually known as Ozempic face and not Wegovy face, as Ozempic is the better known drug in popular culture.

CON: Potential Ozempic Side Effects

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Ozempic comes with some potential side effects. "Your blood sugar can drop too low, for example. You can have dizziness, you can have vomiting. If you have a history of thyroid cancer, it can reintroduce that cancer into your body," Dr. Janette Nesheiwat said during an appearance on Mornings with Maria. "But why it's making headlines now is it's found to cause what's called intestinal obstruction. And that's not a common thing, but it's important that you're aware of these potential side effects. Intestinal obstruction could be life-threatening."

CON: Potential Wegovy Side Effects

Packaging box of Wegovy (semaglutide) injectable prescription medication, weight-loss drug from Novo Nordisk AS. Pharmacy shop shelves in background. Copenhagen, Denmark - November 13, 2023.

Wegovy, like Ozempic, carries risk. "Wegovy also contains warnings for inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), gallbladder problems (including gallstones), low blood sugar, acute kidney injury, hypersensitivity reactions, diabetic retinopathy (damage to the eye's retina), increased heart rate and suicidal behavior or thinking," says the FDA. "Patients should discuss with their health care provider if they have symptoms of pancreatitis or gallstones."

RELATED: 20 Incredible Ozempic Success Stories of All Time

PRO: Ozempic Weight Loss

Joyful teen girl measuring her waist with tape standing near mirror indoors, copy space. Young european lady happy with results of slimming after diet, being successful in weight loss

Ozempic might not technically be a weight loss drug, but it does work. "Ozempic can help people lose weight, which can reduce the risk for many other serious health conditions, such as heart problems," says UC Davis Health. "Semaglutide treatments can also be used as an alternative to bariatric surgery for some patients who are obese."

PRO: Wegovy Works

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A study funded by Novo Nordisk shows that Wegovy can help obese adults lose weight. "The study showed that when Wegovy was used for 15 months with lifestyle support from a professional to follow a calorie-reduced diet and to get more active, people lost on average 15% of their body weight," Specialty Registrar in Cardiology at St Bartholomew's Hospital Dr Mihir Sanghvi tells the British Heart Foundation.

CON: Wegovy and Insurance

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Because Wegovy is specifically designed for weight loss, it is harder to get covered than Ozempic, making it very expensive. "Wegovy is a once-weekly injection approved by the FDA in 2021 for chronic weight management. It's the first drug approved for this purpose since 2014," says UC Davis Health. "One other difference is that Ozempic is typically covered by health insurance, while Wegovy is often not covered."

RELATED: 20 Things You Need to Know About Ozempic and Weight Loss

Should You Take Either?

Serious Caucasian male doctor in white medical uniform talk discuss results or symptoms with female patient, man GP or physician consult woman client give recommendation at meeting in hospital

Both Ozempic and Wegovy are effective weight-loss drugs, but anyone interested in taking them must talk to a health professional first to weigh the risk vs reward. "Ozempic and Wegovy have different intended uses; however, both medications work by slowing digestion and reducing appetite," according to DrugWatch. "As a result, doctors may prescribe either for weight management."

RELATED: I Lost Over 50 Pounds Doing the 75 Hard Method

Wegovy. Vs. Ozempic: The Bottom Line

Montreal, CA - 25 November 2023: Hand holding Ozempic semaglutide injection pen. Ozempic is a medication for obesity

While both Wegovy and Ozempic contain the same active ingredient—semaglutide—Wegovy has a higher concentration, which can make side effects more severe. Ozempic is not approved for weight loss, and using it for weight loss reasons could prevent people with type 2 diabetes from having access to the drug.

💪🔥Body Booster: Both Wegovy and Ozempic must be prescribed by a medical professional who can explain possible outcomes both good and bad.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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