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Cost and supply chain issues might leave you looking into Wegovy alternatives. We’ve explored four weight loss medication options and where to get them.

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Amid the rising demand for effective weight management solutions, prescription medications such as Wegovy and Ozempic have gained quite a bit of attention for their potential to manage type 2 diabetes and aid in weight loss.

However, these medications can be difficult to get, are very expensive, and may not be recommended for some populations.

This article will discuss four alternative weight loss medications and list six places to get them online.

Wegovy is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, which works by promoting the release of insulin and inhibiting the release of glucagon, helping to keep blood sugar levels stable. It also delays stomach emptying, which promotes a feeling of fullness, thus contributing to weight loss.

Wegovy and Ozempic are both brand-name versions of the drug semaglutide, but they aren’t exactly the same. Wegovy is approved for weight loss by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while Ozempic is approved only for treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Wegovy is available only by prescription and can be difficult to find due to supply chain issues and shortages.

Learn more about how to get Wegovy.

You might be searching for an alternative to Wegovy for various reasons, such as:

  • Cost: The out-of-pocket expenses for Wegovy, especially for off-label use, can be unrealistic for some people. This is especially true because there is not currently a generic version of the medication.
  • Supply chain issues: As a result of the high demand for Wegovy, shortages and supply chain issues can happen. If you’re already using Wegovy and you run into a shortage, be sure to contact the healthcare professional who prescribed it right away so they can work with you to find the appropriate alternative.
  • Contraindications: Wegovy is not recommended for people with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2). Additionally, it’s unclear whether the drug is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding people, though the alternative medications are generally not recommended for this population either.
  • Side effects: Some people using Wegovy report experiencing headaches, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. Other mild side effects can occur as well. These effects may lead people to look for an alternative.
  • Disinterest in injectable medications: Injectable medications can be painful, and some people may prefer a medication that is administered differently.

There are several alternatives to Wegovy, but finding the one that’s best for you will depend on several factors, including cost, availability, medical history, and whether you feel comfortable taking an injectable medication.

The FDA has approved several weight loss drugs. Below are four medications that are worth discussing with your healthcare professional.

Saxenda (liraglutide)

Saxenda is a daily injectable medication containing liraglutide, another GLP-1 receptor agonist that works similarly to Wegovy.

Like other medications on this list, Saxenda is not recommended for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding or have a personal or family history of thyroid cancer or MEN2.

Pros

  • It’s approved for weight loss.
  • It works similarly to Wegovy.
  • It has a lower out-of-pocket cost than Wegovy.

Cons

  • It requires daily injections, while Wegovy requires weekly injections.
  • It may increase the risk of thyroid tumors and cancer, gallbladder problems, low blood sugar, increased heart rate, kidney problems, and suicidal thoughts.
  • While it’s less expensive than Wegovy, the out-of-pocket cost may still be too high for some.
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Zepbound (tirzepatide)

Zepbound is similar to Wegovy, but it’s unique in that it is a dual GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 agonist, which works by increasing fullness and thus supporting weight loss efforts.

A 2022 clinical trial of more than 2,500 adults with obesity or with overweight and one weight-related condition found that individuals taking tirzepatide saw an average 15% reduction in weight over the course of 72 weeks.

Zepbound is not recommended for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding or have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or MEN2.

Find out how to get Zepbound.

Pros

  • It’s approved for weight loss.
  • It works similarly to Wegovy and requires just one weekly dose.
  • It has the unique feature of being both a GIP agonist and a GLP-1 agonist.
  • It has a lower out-of-pocket cost than Wegovy.
  • There are savings coupons that can reduce the cost to as low as $25 per month for those with insurance and $550 per month for those whose insurance does not cover Zepbound.

Cons

  • It’s an injectable medication, which may be undesirable for some.
  • It may increase the risk of thyroid tumors and cancer, gallbladder problems, low blood sugar, increased heart rate, kidney problems, and gastrointestinal disease.
  • While it’s less expensive than Wegovy, the out-of-pocket cost may still be too high for some.
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Xenical (orlistat)

Xenical is a prescription medication containing the drug orlistat, which works to block the absorption of fat in your gut. It is approved for weight loss but not for treating type 2 diabetes.

This medication is not recommended for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding or have chronic malabsorption syndrome and cholestasis.

Pros

  • It’s approved for weight loss.
  • It comes in capsule form rather than injectable form, which may be preferable for some.
  • It has a lower out-of-pocket cost than Wegovy.
  • A lower dose, FDA-approved version is available over the counter by the name Alli.

Cons

  • It may increase the risk of gallstones.
  • Side effects are possible — most commonly, these are gastrointestinal problems such as oily spotting, discharge when passing gas, an urgent need to pass stool, and a lack of bowel control.
  • It has been shown to reduce the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and beta carotene.
  • While it’s less expensive than Wegovy, the out-of-pocket cost may still be too high for some.
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Qsymia (phentermine/topiramate)

Qsymia is a weight loss medication containing two active ingredients, phentermine and topiramate, both of which play a role in reducing appetite.

A 2021 research review found that taking phentermine/topiramate was associated with significant reductions in body weight, belly fat, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.

A 2017 study found that people taking phentermine/topiramate lost an average of 19.4 pounds (8.8 kilograms) after 1 year.

Qsymia is not recommended for people who are pregnant, have glaucoma (eye conditions that can lead to blindness), have a history of hyperthyroidism, have recently taken monoamine oxidate inhibitors, or are currently taking certain prescription medications.

Pros

  • It’s quite a bit cheaper than Wegovy.
  • It’s available in tablet form, so it could be a good option for people who dislike needles.

Cons

  • Side effects are possible. Most commonly, these include numbness or tingling in various areas of the body, dizziness, trouble sleeping, constipation, dry mouth, and changes in the way foods taste or loss of taste.
  • Qsymia contains phentermine, making it a schedule 4 controlled substance. It does have the potential for misuse, though it’s low.
  • It’s only available brand name only, so while it’s cheaper than Wegovy, it may still be out of budget for some people.
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The best way to be prescribed a weight loss medication is through an in-person evaluation by a licensed healthcare professional, like your primary care physician.

However, there are some telehealth and online weight loss programs that also provide access to weight loss medications. Just be sure to do your research and select a reputable service.

Below are a few online options that have been vetted by Healthline’s medical team.

In searching for an alternative to Wegovy, it’s advisable to avoid options such as the following:

  • Compounded drugs: Compounding can be beneficial for certain medications. However, for safety and effectiveness, the FDA recommends avoiding compounded versions of GLP-1 agonists and other weight management medications, as they may lack proper regulation and standardized doses.
  • Supplements without research: Not all supplements that claim to support weight loss have evidence supporting their effectiveness or safety. They may also interact with certain medications. Always discuss new supplements with a healthcare professional before trying them.
  • Unproven over-the-counter (OTC) medications: OTC medications that claim to promote weight loss or blood sugar regulation may lack scientific validation or approval by regulatory bodies. Before using an OTC medication, consult a healthcare professional to make sure it’s safe and appropriate for you.
  • Non-FDA-approved medications: Using medications that are not FDA-approved for weight management or diabetes management may carry risks, as the safety and effectiveness of these drugs have not been evaluated.

A note on GLP-1 agonist medications

Keep in mind that while these medications may be approved for type 2 diabetes management and/or weight loss, they are not meant to be used as a cure-all or a stand-alone treatment method. These medications should be used under the guidance of your doctor alongside healthy lifestyle habits.

Some research has also shown that weight regain is common after stopping a GLP-1 agonist medication. This makes it even more important to have a healthy lifestyle in place before stopping.

While the medication can be effective for promoting weight loss and managing blood sugar, it won’t address the underlying factors that contribute to these health issues.

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Both Ozempic and Wegovy contain the drug semaglutide. Wegovy is FDA approved for weight loss, while Ozempic is approved only for treatment of type 2 diabetes.

The best Wegovy alternative for you will depend on your preferences, your health history, and your reason for using the medication. For example, if you prefer not to use an injectable medication, you can choose an alternative that comes in capsule form.

Be sure to talk with your doctor to determine which medication is right for you.

While still expensive overall, Zepbound and Saxenda are cheaper than Wegovy, though this may vary depending on your insurance coverage.

There is no generic version of Wegovy at this time.

The average out-of-pocked cost for a month’s supply of Wevogy is $1,349.02. However, how much you’ll pay may vary depending on whether you have insurance coverage, as well as your treatment plan and pharmacy.

To determine what your price will be, you can talk with your doctor and health insurance provider.

There are currently no OTC medications that directly mimic the effects of Wegovy or other GLP-1 agonists.

While some OTC medications may claim to support weight loss, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before trying any medication to determine whether it would be safe and effective for you.

Wegovy has recently gained attention due to its effectiveness in promoting weight loss. However, the medication can be difficult to access, and some people may be looking for other options. Be sure to work closely with your doctor when determining which medication is right for you.

Remember, weight regain is common after stopping these medications, so it’s important to establish a healthy lifestyle in addition to using them.