Semaglutide is a drug that can be used for weight loss. Oral tablets and injections are both effective ways to ingest semaglutide.

With obesity impacting 41.9% of people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the weight loss drug known as semaglutide has become more popular.

This type of medication is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, meaning it can help treat type 2 diabetes by prompting the body to make more insulin and reduce blood sugar while sending messages to the brain that you’re not hungry.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a few different forms of semaglutide for treating type 2 diabetes and weight loss. Wegovy and Ozempic are injectable versions, while Rybelsus is an oral tablet.

This article provides a glimpse of these different types of semaglutide. It also discusses how both oral tablets and injections have been found effective in facilitating weight loss while also exploring the differences between these medications.

A 2021 research review looked at several clinical studies on GLP-1s and concluded that once-a-day oral semaglutide is as or more effective for weight loss than injectable versions of semaglutide, as well as in reducing A1C in people with diabetes.

That review of other recent research pointed to oral tablets having a distinguishing feature, allowing for “similar or better efficacy and similar tolerability” compared with most of the injectable GLP-1s.

However, it should be noted overall that not all semaglutides are even FDA cleared for weight loss use. And with these being newer medications, more research is needed to accurately compare the oral versus injectable semaglutides side-by-side.

However, this research looked specifically at individuals with diabetes receiving insulin which could have affected the data. More research in this area is still needed.

The importance of people with obesity taking these medications is more pronounced these days. Obesity increases an individual’s risk of a variety of serious health conditions of which some can be potentially fatal. Treatment options can range from dietary changes and exercise to medications and surgeries.

Semaglutide injections are generally done once a week on the same day with doses being increased after 4 weeks if necessary.

It’s important to not stop taking semaglutide without discussing it with your doctor first. If you miss a dose of Ozempic, you should inject the missed dose as soon as you remember if it’s been less than 5 days since the last dose. Otherwise, you should stick to your normal dosing schedule. You should not give yourself an extra dose or double dose for the missed shot.

If you miss a dose of Wegovy and the next dose is more than 2 days away, you should take the missed dose as soon as possible. Otherwise, you should skip the missed dose and stay on your regular schedule.

If more than 2 weeks have been missed, it’s important to contact your doctor or pharmacist. One of the labeling nuances with semaglutide is that it needs to be taken long term to be effective and maintain weight loss results.

There are oral semaglutide tablets that can be taken once a day. It’s typically recommended that these tablets be taken right when you wake up in the morning at least a half hour before eating or consuming other medications and with only a small amount of water. If you take other medications in the morning that require an empty stomach, you’ll want to discuss this with your doctor.

You can switch from one of these medications to the other with your healthcare team’s approval and guidance. The manufacturer notes that individuals can be switched from Ozempic 0.5 mg to Rybelsus 7 mg or 14 mg. Additionally, those on Rybelsus 14 mg can also be switched to Ozempic. A transition dose is currently not available.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both oral tablets and injected semaglutide.

Oral tablets:

  • do not require the use of needles
  • are typically taken daily
  • can result in side effects like nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
  • recommended to take on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and to not eat for 30 minutes after


  • require the use of needles
  • are typically taken once a week
  • may cause possible side effects, which can include injection site reactions
  • does not matter whether food or liquid has been consumed before or after the injection
Oral tabletsInjections
Side effectsXX
Food and drink timing mattersX
Effective for weight lossXX
Long-term use requiredX X

Semaglutide can be injected into the upper arm, thigh, or stomach.

It can be injected in the same area of the body as insulin, but the two should not be injected next to each other.

People injecting semaglutide should also remember to rotate the injection site after each shot. This is important because injecting in the same spot repeatedly can cause scar tissue to develop on that site, and the body may not absorb the medication effectively.

The FDA has cleared Wegovy for weight loss in people with and without diabetes.

That does not apply to Ozempic and Rybelsus, which are not FDA cleared for weight loss and are only labeled for those with type 2 diabetes — despite the fact that doctors may choose to prescribe these medications off-label to use for weight loss alone.

Research has confirmed the weight loss benefits of semaglutide injections in individuals without diabetes.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that regardless of whether a person has diabetes, they can experience side effects from semaglutide injections.

Semaglutide is a drug that has been FDA approved as the brand name Wegovy for appetite suppression and weight loss. Semaglutide is also currently available in both oral tablet and injectable forms under other brand names for treating type 2 diabetes.

Research comparing the oral tablet and injection forms of semaglutide is still fairly new. While oral tablets offer an option without needles, they need to be taken in a very specific manner.

If your doctor believes you are a good candidate for semaglutide, they can help you determine the best semaglutide form for your lifestyle and health needs.