They’re both used to help with weight loss, have the same active ingredient (semaglutide), and are made by the same manufacturer—yet Ozempic® and Wegovy are two separate drugs. So, what’s the difference between them?  

In short: they contain different amounts of semaglutide and are licensed for different uses. But does that mean one is better for weight loss than the other, or that one is more suited to you? Read on to find out.

What’s the difference between Ozempic® and Wegovy®?

The main difference between these two drugs is the amount of semaglutide they each contain.  

In the UK, the maximum available dose is 1.0 mg if you’re using Ozempic®, but for Wegovy® it’s 2.4 mg.  

This is because of how each drug is approved for use. Ozempic® is licensed as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, but as semaglutide has been found to work well in supporting weight loss, it’s often prescribed off-label for this purpose.  

But that means that the clinical guidance for how Ozempic® should be used is written with type 2 diabetes in mind. And per this guidance, the maximum dose that can be prescribed in the UK is 1.0 mg.  

However, clinical trials have shown that semaglutide doses higher than 1.0 mg are effective in helping people without type 2 diabetes lose weight. So, this led to the approval of Wegovy® for weight loss.

Wegovy® is licensed as a treatment for weight loss and has been available in the UK since September 2023.  

How do Ozempic® and Wegovy® work?

Both drugs have the same active ingredient, which means that they work in the same way.  

Semaglutide is a type of drug called a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It works by copying how GLP-1, a gut hormone the body naturally produces when we eat, behaves in the body. The result is that semaglutide brings on the same effects as GLP-1: it makes us feel full, so we eat less and therefore lose weight.  

There are a few ways the drug does this: it can communicate directly with the brain to tell it to reduce our appetite, trigger the release of a hormone called insulin after we eat to signal that we’re full, and slow down the movement of food through our digestive system so that we feel fuller for longer.  

Here’s a more thorough breakdown of how Ozempic® works to support weight loss.  

How do you use Ozempic® and Wegovy®?

Ozempic® and Wegovy® are used in the same way: they come as pre-filled injector pens that you use at home. You inject the drug into the tissue under the skin (subcutaneous tissue) once per week.  

If you’ve never used a self-injection pen before, you might feel a little nervous—but don’t worry, the steps you need to follow are fairly straightforward.  

Plus, because the needle is thin and the volume of medicine injected is low, people who use the drugs tend to report that the injection only hurts a little, if at all.  

Do Ozempic® and Wegovy® have different side effects?

The side effects you can get from Ozempic® and Wegovy® are the same, but they might be stronger or more frequent in people taking higher doses of semaglutide.  

As the dose of a drug increases, it generally has a stronger effect on the body—which means that there’s more chance of getting side effects. For example, scientific research has shown that while higher doses of semaglutide have been linked to greater weight loss, people taking them experienced side effects more often.  

That said, research has shown that people taking the maximum dose of semaglutide (2.4 mg) mostly had mild or moderate side effects that went away on their own.  

Some of the most commonly reported side effects from semaglutide drugs are nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting. This is thought to be because of how the drug works to slow the movement of food through the digestive system.  

Is Ozempic® or Wegovy® better for weight loss?

Whichever dose of semaglutide you’re prescribed, you should see results. In the long term, higher semaglutide doses have been linked to greater weight loss—but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a higher dose is best suited to you.  

Both drugs follow the same dosing schedule for the first 12 weeks to help your body get used to the treatment. You’ll start on 0.25 mg, then go up to 0.5 mg and potentially 1.0 mg every four weeks. People on Ozempic® will stay at either 0.5 mg or 1.0 mg as their maintenance dose.  

At the 12-week mark, clinical trials show that the average weight loss is 6% body weight. This would be the same for both Ozempic® and Wegovy® because you’d take them in exactly the same doses up until that point.

From 1.0 mg, those on Wegovy® can have their dose increased to 1.7 mg and finally to 2.4 mg (again, in four-week increments), depending on how well they’re tolerating the drug. After taking semaglutide for over a year, with the maximum dose being 2.4 mg, one trial found that the average weight loss was 14.9% body weight.  

Your results may differ if you’re taking a lower dose of semaglutide, but you’ll still see an effect. In one study, people taking doses of 1.0 mg and below lost 9.2% body weight on average after six months.  

Remember that a higher dose isn’t always better. Taking more won’t necessarily make the drug work more effectively and can increase your chance of getting side effects. If you’re seeing changes at a lower dose, then it means that the drug is working. Your prescriber will advise on which dose is best for you.  

Ozempic® vs Wegovy®: how much does each cost?

You can get a repeat private prescription for either drug as part of our weight loss programme, which also includes weekly advice from a dietician and regular check-ins with us, so you can make changes that stick.  

It’s all covered in one flat monthly cost—and it’s the same for either drug.  

Both drugs are recommended for use alongside changes to diet and exercise habits, and scientific research has shown that they’re effective when used in that way.  

That’s exactly how our programme is structured: we provide the medication, but also the support and guidance you need to make the right lifestyle changes. This way, you’ll lose weight sustainably—and build lasting habits to help you keep it off.  

Check your eligibility for the programme here. You only need to fill in a short form, it takes less than 5 minutes.  

Which medication is best for me?

Your prescriber will make that call. They’ll consider your medical history and weigh up the risk of side effects versus the potential benefits you’d get from various semaglutide doses when deciding what’s best for you.  

Other factors, like which drug is more readily available, might also influence which medication you’re given.  

Semaglutide drugs are recommended for weight loss in people who have a BMI of 30 or more and at least one other health problem related to their weight. People from certain ethnic backgrounds can have a BMI of 27 or higher.

But if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or have type 1 diabetes, you shouldn’t take semaglutide. If you have a history of issues with your kidney, pancreas, or thyroid, you should tell your prescriber before you take any semaglutide drugs.  

There have also been reports of suicidal and self-harming thoughts in people taking semaglutide drugs. These reports are under review by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, but if you start to experience these symptoms see your doctor straight away.

When used alongside healthy lifestyle changes, semaglutide drugs have been shown to work well in supporting weight loss. But they aren’t a “quick fix”—research suggests that people see the most benefit after staying on them for at least a year.  

You can take the first step towards your health goals right now. Fill out this short form to check your eligibility for our weight loss programme, it takes less than five minutes.