We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.

Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
  • Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
  • Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
  • Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.
Was this helpful?

Ozempic is an injectable GLP-1 medication that can help manage blood sugar levels and support weight loss. There are several other medications with similar benefits that may be worth considering instead.

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat type 2 diabetes. Because Ozempic has been shown to boost weight loss in people with diabetes, it’s quickly become a popular drug among those looking to lose weight.

Though Ozempic can be effective for improving blood sugar management and encouraging weight loss, other medications may be better, depending on your health goals, medical history, and budget.

This article lists six Ozempic alternatives, including options for people with type 2 diabetes and those wanting to lose weight.

Note that the details in this article are for information purposes only. When considering medications to treat type 2 diabetes and weight loss, consult with your healthcare professional.

  • PlushCare: telehealth platform offering visits with professionals who are in network with most major health insurance plans | Skip to review
  • Sesame: telehealth platform offering same-day appointments with licensed healthcare professionals | Skip to review
  • Calibrate: online weight loss program that combines prescription medications with a whole body approach to wellness | Skip to review
  • Noom Med: pairs weight loss medications with the app’s signature psychology-based approach to weight loss | Skip to review
  • Everlywell Weight Care+: weight loss program that combines virtual doctor visits, metabolic testing, and prescription medications | Skip to review

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a prescription-only injectable medication that is FDA approved to treat type 2 diabetes. It’s been shown to improve both short- and long-term blood sugar management markers, including fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, in people with diabetes.

Ozempic helps lower blood sugar levels by stimulating release of insulin from the pancreas and decreasing gastric emptying (aka slowing digestion). This helps reduce the amount of blood glucose in the bloodstream after eating.

In addition to lowering blood sugar, Ozempic increases feelings of fullness, which is why it’s effective for boosting weight loss.

Keep in mind that Ozempic is only FDA approved to treat type 2 diabetes and is not specifically FDA approved for weight loss. But people without diabetes are sometimes prescribed Ozempic for weight loss.

Was this helpful?

Most people with type 2 diabetes need to take medications in order to manage their blood sugar and reduce their risk of diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease.

If you can’t or don’t want to take Ozempic, your healthcare professional may recommend a different medication.

Rybelsus

Rybelsus is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist medication that contains semaglutide, the same active ingredient as Ozempic, and it works in the same way as Ozempic to reduce blood sugar levels.

Rybelsus is an oral medication, so it may be a better choice for people who don’t tolerate injectable medications. Rybelsus is taken by mouth once per day.

Learn how to get Rybelsus.

Trulicity

Trulicity is another type of GLP-1 receptor agonist that is effective for reducing blood sugar levels and heart disease risk in people with diabetes. Like Ozempic, it’s an injectable medication that’s used once per week.

However, a key difference between Trulicity and Ozempic is that Trulicity is approved for use in treating type 2 diabetes in children over age 10, while Ozempic isn’t approved for use in children.

Mounjaro

​​Mounjaro is another injectable medication approved for use in treating adults and kids with type 2 diabetes.

Its active ingredient is tirzepatide, which is both a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor agonist and a GLP-1 receptor agonist. It lowers blood sugar by stimulating the release of insulin and by slowing digestion. This helps reduce the amount of blood glucose in the bloodstream after eating.

Mounjaro is similar to Ozempic, but it targets both GIP and GLP-1 receptors. Although they’re both effective for blood sugar management, some research shows that Mounjaro might be more effective than Ozempic.

It’s worth noting that like Ozempic, Mounjaro is not approved for use in people under age 18.

Learn how to get Mounjaro.

Metformin

Metformin is one of the most common medications used to treat diabetes. It’s a different type of medication than Ozempic and lowers blood sugar through different mechanisms.

Metformin is classified as a biguanide. It lowers blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity, decreasing the amount of blood sugar that the liver produces, and reducing the amount of sugar absorbed by the digestive system.

Another difference is that Metformin is an oral medication, so it’s a good choice for people who don’t tolerate injections. Metformin can also be taken alongside other diabetes medications, such as Ozempic.

Using Metformin during pregnancy depends on various factors. This decision should only be made in consultation with your OB-GYN.

Unlike Ozempic, Metformin is approved for use in children ages 10 and older with type 2 diabetes. It’s also considered safe for people with thyroid cancer or a family history of thyroid cancer.

However, Metformin is not appropriate for people with certain other medical conditions, such as kidney disease, congestive heart failure, metabolic acidosis, and liver issues.

If you’ve had difficulty losing weight through diet and exercise alone, your doctor may prescribe a weight loss medication. Ozempic is not FDA approved for weight loss. But other medications, like Wegovy, are.

Wegovy

Wegovy is an injectable medication that contains semaglutide, the same active ingredient as Ozempic, but in a slightly higher dose. However, unlike Ozempic, Wegovy is FDA approved for weight management in adults with overweight and obesity and children over age 12 with obesity.

According to Wegovy’s manufacturer, Wegovy is currently the No. 1 prescribed medication for weight loss in the United States. Like Ozempic, Wegovy is an injectable medication used once per week.

While researchers are still studying the effects of Wegovy in the body, it’s thought that Wegovy targets areas in the brain responsible for reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness. Wegovy helps people eat less, which encourages weight loss.

Wegovy is a prescription-only medication, meaning you must obtain a prescription from a healthcare professional in order to start using it.

Keep in mind that Wegovy is not usually covered by health insurance, and the out of pocket cost can be quite high.

Learn how to get Wegovy.

Saxenda

Saxenda is another GLP-1 receptor agonist FDA approved for weight management in adults with obesity and adults with overweight and weight-related medical concerns. It’s also approved for use in children ages 12 and older with obesity.

Saxenda contains liraglutide, which is a GLP-1 receptor agonist. Liraglutide helps promote weight loss by decreasing appetite and slowing the emptying of the stomach, which promotes feelings of fullness and decreases calorie intake.

Saxenda is an injectable medication that’s injected once per day. This is the major difference between Saxenda and Wegovy, as Wegovy is an injectable used once per week.

Like Wegovy, Saxenda is meant to be used alongside a nutritious, calorie-reduced diet and increased physical activity.

Most insurance companies don’t cover weight loss medications, so most people have to pay out of pocket for Saxenda.

Zepbound

Zepbound is an injectable medication that contains the same active ingredient as Mounjaro: tirzepatide. However, unlike Mounjaro and Ozempic, Zepbound is FDA approved for weight loss.

Zepbound is injected once a week, with a starting dosage of 2.5 milligrams per day for 4 weeks.

While research is ongoing, a landmark 2022 study of more than 2,500 adults with obesity or overweight and one weight-related condition found that participants lost an average of 20.9% of their body weight over the course of 72 weeks, or about 16.5 months.

As with other GLP-1 medications, Zepbound should be combined with other lifestyle changes for optimal effectiveness.

Keep in mind that some insurance plans don’t cover weight loss medications, so you may have to pay out of pocket for Zepbound.

Learn how to get Zepbound.

A note on Ozempic alternatives

Keep in mind that, just like Ozempic, the medications listed in this article may cause unwanted side effects and are not appropriate for everyone.

It’s important to meet with a licensed healthcare professional like your endocrinologist or primary care physician to discuss which alternative is right for you.

Was this helpful?

The best way to obtain a prescription for any medication is through an in-person visit with a licensed healthcare professional like your primary care physician.

However, several telehealth platforms and online weight loss programs provide medication prescriptions to eligible individuals.

If you prefer the convenience of a virtual visit, it’s important to choose a reputable service. Below are a few online options that offer some of the medications mentioned above and have been vetted by Healthline’s team of experts.

While Ozempic is a good choice for some people with diabetes and those wanting to lose weight, it’s not the right choice for everyone.

Ozempic isn’t safe for those with certain medical conditions and may be out of many people’s budgets when used off-label for weight loss.

Here are some reasons why you might be looking for alternatives to Ozempic:

  • You have a medical condition: Ozempic isn’t safe for those with certain health conditions, including people who have had thyroid tumors or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). People with a family history of MTC should avoid Ozempic. Ozempic is also unsafe for people with a history of multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), diabetic retinopathy, and conditions affecting the kidneys and pancreas.
  • You’re pregnant or breastfeeding: If you plan on becoming pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding, you’re not eligible for Ozempic. Your healthcare professional can recommend a different diabetes medication. Ozempic should not be used for at least 2 months before a planned pregnancy because it may harm the fetus.
  • It’s too costly: Ozempic may not be covered by insurance when it’s prescribed as a weight loss medication, so some people may want a more affordable alternative. But it’s important to note that some insurance companies don’t cover weight loss medication of any kind and some people may need to pay out of pocket for these medications.
  • You’re concerned about side effects: Ozempic is generally considered safe, but it’s associated with several side effects. According to Ozempic’s manufacturer, the most common known side effects of Ozempic are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and constipation.
  • You don’t like needles: Ozempic is medication you need to inject under the skin on your stomach, thigh, or upper arm. Many people have a fear of needles and prefer oral medications over injectables.
  • There’s a shortage: Due to increased popularity of Ozempic and occasionally supply chain issues, Ozempic may be hard to obtain. The FDA has a database with the latest information on drug shortages.

Ozempic isn’t the right choice for everyone and may not be safe for people with certain medical conditions. Other medications are effective for treating diabetes and promoting weight loss and can be used if you can’t or don’t want to take Ozempic.

While weight loss medications can be effective for enhancing weight loss, it’s important to note that weight loss medications aren’t a quick fix and shouldn’t be the first choice when it comes to a weight loss plan.

Obesity is a health condition that may require long-term treatment and permanent lifestyle changes.

Additionally, many people regain the weight lost after stopping these medications. For these reasons, you may need to take these medications long term in order to maintain results.

There are many other ways to lose weight and maintain weight loss, some of which don’t require the high cost and side effects that usually come with weight loss medications.

For example, nutritional counseling from a registered dietitian is usually covered by your health insurance plan, so it’s an affordable option, even for people on a budget.

Still, while following a nutritious, reduced calorie diet and getting plenty of physical activity may be enough for some people to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, weight loss surgery may also be necessary for some.

Because obesity is a health condition with many contributing factors, it’s best to work with a healthcare professional for a tailored approach to weight loss.

Alternatives to avoid

Recently, Ozempic has become popular for weight loss use, and as a result, the United States has been experiencing a shortage. Because of this, some companies and pharmacies are offering uncertified, compounded drugs marketed as semaglutide.

These drugs aren’t FDA approved, and they’re not safe to use. Avoid compounded drugs marketed as semaglutide, and only take FDA-approved semaglutide products — such as Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus — for weight loss purposes.

Speak with your medical care team if you have concerns or questions about your medication.

Was this helpful?

The best Ozempic alternative depends in part on what the medication is being used to treat. If you have diabetes, your doctor may recommend an alternative medication, such as Trulicity.

If you’re being prescribed a medication for weight loss, Wegovy, Zepbound, and Saxenda are FDA approved for weight management and may be used to promote weight loss in adults and children with obesity.

The list price for one pen of Ozempic is $935.77, which is cheaper than Saxenda and Wegovy, both of which cost  $1,349.02 for a month’s worth of medication.

Keep in mind that if you’re using these medications for weight loss, you may be able to get Saxenda and Wegovy at a much lower price by working with a weight loss clinic or services like Ro and Calibrate.

Yes, although they contain the same active ingredient, Wegovy is FDA approved for weight loss, while Ozempic is only approved for treating type 2 diabetes.

Wegovy and Ozempic both contain semaglutide, but Wegovy provides a higher dose.

Trulicity works similarly to Ozempic and also helps reduce blood sugar levels and heart disease risk in people with diabetes.

However, a key difference between Trulicity and Ozempic is that Trulicity is approved for use in treating type 2 diabetes in children over age 10, while Ozempic isn’t approved for use in children.

Both medications are effective for treating diabetes.

Ozempic is a medication that’s become popular because of its effectiveness for managing blood sugar levels and supporting weight loss. However, there are several other FDA-approved medications that offer similar benefits.

Whether you’re interested in a more affordable alternative to Ozempic or prefer a noninjectable option, it’s important to talk with a trusted healthcare professional to see which medication is right for you.