Ozempic (semaglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) are prescription drugs that may be used to help with long-term weight loss. But only Wegovy is FDA-approved for this use. Ozempic is approved for certain uses related to type 2 diabetes.
This article explains the main ways that Ozempic and Wegovy are alike and different. For more information about these drugs, including details about their uses, see the in-depth articles on Ozempic and Wegovy.
See the list below to find out whether Ozempic or Wegovy is available as a generic. (A generic drug is an exact copy of the active ingredient* in a brand-name medication.)
- Available as a generic: no
- Active ingredient: semaglutide
- Available as a generic: no
- Active ingredient: semaglutide
* An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.
Ozempic and Wegovy are both prescribed to help with long-term weight loss in certain people, along with diet and exercise. Wegovy is FDA-approved for this use, but this is an off-label use for Ozempic. (With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.)
Ozempic has other uses as well.
See the table below for details on the conditions each drug is used for.
|Long-term weight loss in adults with obesity and adults who are overweight and have weight-related conditions such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes||✓ (off-label use)||✓|
|Improving blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes||✓|
|Help prevent serious heart and blood vessel problems in adults with type 2 diabetes and heart disease||✓|
You should only take Ozempic or Wegovy for the use prescribed by your doctor. To learn more about using either of these drugs for your condition, talk with your doctor.
Ozempic or Wegovy and children
Wegovy can be prescribed to help with long-term weight loss, along with diet and exercise, in children ages 12 years and older with obesity. Ozempic is not prescribed off-label for this use.
For more information about the use of Wegovy or Ozempic in children, talk with your child’s doctor.
Below is an overview of the dosage and how you’ll take Ozempic and Wegovy for the conditions they both treat. All strengths are listed in milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL).
Dosage for adults
|Ozempic for type 2 diabetes (and its off-label use for weight loss)||Wegovy for weight loss|
|Form||prefilled multi-dose injection pen (see below)||prefilled single-dose injection pen (see below)|
|Strengths||• 2 mg/1.5 mL|
• 2 mg/3 mL
• 4 mg/3 mL
• 8 mg/3 mL
|• 0.25 mg/0.5 mL|
• 0.5 mg/0.5 mL
• 1 mg/0.5 mL
• 1.7 mg/0.75 mL
• 2.4 mg/0.75 mL
|Dose||• weeks 1–4: 0.25 mg|
• weeks 5–8: 0.5 mg
• weeks 9–12 (if needed): 1 mg
• week 13 and after (if needed): 2 mg
|• weeks 1–4: 0.25 mg|
• weeks 5–8: 0.5 mg
• weeks 9–12: 1 mg
• weeks 13–16: 1.7 mg
• week 17 and after: 1.7 mg or 2.4 mg
|How often to inject||once per week||once per week|
Ozempic and Wegovy are both given as an injection under the skin of your belly, upper arm, or thigh. Your doctor will teach you how to use the injection pen. Instructions will also be provided with your medication.
With Ozempic, your pen may contain four or eight doses, depending on the strength and dose used. You’ll need to attach a new needle to the pen each time you take a dose.
With Wegovy, each pen comes with a needle already attached. Each pen contains a single dose. You’ll use a new pen for each dose.
Ozempic and Wegovy may cause side effects ranging from mild to serious.
Mild side effects
Ozempic and Wegovy may cause mild side effects. The table below lists examples of mild side effects that have been reported with these drugs.
|nausea and vomiting||✓||✓|
|abdominal pain or bloating||✓||✓|
|indigestion (upset stomach)||✓||✓|
|burping or gas||✓||✓|
|fatigue (low energy)||✓||✓|
|mild allergic reaction||✓||✓|
This table may not include all mild side effects of these drugs. For more information on mild side effects of the two drugs, see the Ozempic prescribing information and Wegovy prescribing information.
Serious side effects
In addition to the mild side effects described above, serious side effects may occur in people using Ozempic or Wegovy. See the table below for a list of side effects that have been reported with these drugs.
|possible risk of thyroid cancer*||✓||✓|
|pancreatitis (swelling in the pancreas)||✓||✓|
|gallbladder problems, such as gallstones||✓||✓|
|low blood sugar||✓||✓|
|increased heart rate||✓|
|severe allergic reaction†||✓||✓|
To learn about your specific risk for serious side effects from Ozempic or Wegovy, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* Ozempic and Wegovy have a
You may wonder whether Ozempic or Wegovy are effective for your condition.
Ozempic and Wegovy are both used to help with long-term weight loss. For Ozempic, this is an off-label use. (With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.)
Studies of Wegovy have shown that the drug is effective for long-term weight loss. Studies of Ozempic have shown that the drug is effective for improving blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes (its approved use). These studies have also shown that the drug is effective for long-term weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes.
In addition, the American Gastroenterological Association includes Wegovy in its treatment recommendations for obesity. And the American Diabetes Association includes Ozempic in its treatment recommendations for type 2 diabetes. It notes it could be especially useful for people with this condition who may benefit from weight loss.
It’s important to note that your results from Ozempic or Wegovy may differ from those seen in studies. Talk with your doctor about whether one of these drugs is right for you.
Whether you have health insurance or not, cost may be a factor when you’re considering these drugs. Visit Optum Perks* to get price estimates for Ozempic and Wegovy when you use coupons from the site. It’s important to note that Optum Perks coupons cannot be used with any insurance copays or benefits.
Keep in mind that what you’ll pay for either drug will depend on your treatment plan, health insurance, and the pharmacy you use.
Ozempic and Wegovy are both brand-name drugs. They’re not currently available in generic forms.
* Optum Perks is a sister site of Healthline.
Ozempic and Wegovy may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. These may be referred to as warnings.
The two drugs share some of the same warnings, but they also have different ones. Some of these warnings are mentioned below. Before you start using Ozempic or Wegovy, be sure to talk with your doctor to see if these warnings apply to you.
Boxed warning: Risk of thyroid tumors and thyroid cancer
Both Ozempic and Wegovy have a
In animal studies, semaglutide (the active drug in Ozempic and Wegovy) has been shown to cause thyroid tumors and thyroid cancer. Doctors don’t know if it can cause thyroid cancers in people.
Due to the possible risk, your doctor will likely not prescribe Ozempic or Wegovy if you have a higher risk of thyroid cancer. This could be because you or a family member have had thyroid cancer before. Or it could be that you have a genetic condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2), which raises your risk of thyroid cancer.
If you’re prescribed Ozempic or Wegovy, tell your doctor right away if you develop a lump in your neck, hoarseness that doesn’t go away, or have trouble swallowing or breathing. These could be signs of thyroid cancer.
In addition to boxed warnings, Ozempic and Wegovy have other warnings.
Before using Ozempic or Wegovy for weight loss, talk with your doctor if any of the following conditions or health factors apply to you.
- Warnings for both Ozempic and Wegovy:
- if you’ve had an allergic reaction to either drug or any of its ingredients
- if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- if you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed
- if you’ve had pancreatitis
- if you have a history of diabetic retinopathy
- if you have kidney problems
* Depression and suicidal thoughts have been reported with other drugs used for weight loss.
Help is out there
If you or someone you know is in crisis and considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:
- Call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
- Text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
- Not in the United States? Find a helpline in your country with Befrienders Worldwide.
- Call 911 or your local emergency services number if you feel safe to do so.
If you’re calling on behalf of someone else, stay with them until help arrives. You may remove weapons or substances that can cause harm if you can do so safely.
If you are not in the same household, stay on the phone with them until help arrives.
The short answer: It’s possible.
Details: To find out more about switching between Ozempic and Wegovy, talk with your doctor. They can recommend the best treatment plan for your personal situation. For weight loss, Ozempic and Wegovy are used at slightly different doses, and your body may respond differently to the two drugs.
Reminder: You should not switch drugs or stop your current treatment unless your doctor recommends it.
Ozempic and Wegovy can both be used for long-term weight loss. But remember that only Wegovy is approved for this use. These drugs can cause similar side effects, but side effects may be more common with Wegovy due to it having a higher dosage.
If you have questions about Ozempic or Wegovy, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Examples of questions you may want to ask include:
- Will Ozempic or Wegovy work best for me?
- How much will Ozempic or Wegovy cost?
- Is one of these drugs easier to administer?
To learn more about Ozempic, see these articles:
- All About Ozempic
- Side Effects of Ozempic: What You Need to Know
- Ozempic and Cost: What You Need to Know
- All About Ozempic’s Dosage
- Ozempic vs. Victoza: Which Is Better for Me?
- Ozempic vs. Trulicity: What You Should Know
And to learn more about Wegovy, check out these articles:
- All About Wegovy
- Side Effects of Wegovy: What You Need to Know
- Dosage Details for Wegovy
- Wegovy: How It’s Used for Weight Loss
To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.