The Difference Between Ozempic, Wegovy & Rybelsus

Many people associate the start of a new year with fitness and weight-loss goals. Some medications, like Ozempic and Wegovy, have been popularized by the media and often misinterpreted as miracle “weight-loss drugs.” It’s important to know these medications must be taken as prescribed by a doctor following a complete medical evaluation.

Watch Dr. Alberto Chavez Velazquez explain more in this Great Day SA segment.

Active Ingredient: Semaglutide

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus, is a popular medication used to treat Type 2 diabetes or obesity and can help patients lose weight, but it is not recommended for everyone. 

Semaglutide can be taken as an injection or oral tablet. Ozempic and Wegovy are both semaglutide injections but have different doses and strengths. Rybelsus is semaglutide in a tablet and comes in different strengths than the injectable semaglutide.

Semaglutide can:

  • Lower blood sugar
  • Reduce risk for heart conditions
  • Reduce appetite, aiding weight loss

The medications are not intended for short-term use. Many patients must continue the medication to keep their weight off.

The medications are expensive and may not be covered by all insurance plans.

A health care provider’s prescription is required for these medications, and there are no FDA-approved generic versions. You should only take medication as prescribed by your doctor.

Only medications prescribed by your health care provider are authentic. Do not purchase semaglutide online or at “health spas.” It’s dangerous to take a medication that doesn’t come from your doctor or pharmacy.


Ozempic, popularly known as a “weight loss drug,” is actually not approved for weight loss by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Rather, it’s intended to help adults manage their Type 2 diabetes.

According to the FDA, Ozempic has been shown to:

  • Lower blood sugar levels in adults with Type 2 diabetes
  • Reduce risk of heart attack and stroke 

Ozempic is a once-weekly semaglutide injection. 


Wegovy is FDA-approved for weight loss in some adults and children aged 12 and older. Wegovy is intended to work in tandem with regular exercise and a healthy diet to help patients lose excess weight.

Wegovy is a once-weekly semaglutide injection.


Rybelsus is an oral tablet that helps adults manage their Type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. It is not approved for weight loss.

Rybelsus is a once daily tablet that must be taken with only a sip of water on an empty stomach. No other food, beverages or medications should be taken for 30 minutes after taking Rybelsus.

Who Should Not Take Semaglutide

While these medications are popular, they aren’t for everyone. Consult with your doctor to see if they recommend it for you.

You should not use semaglutide if you:

  • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • Have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumors in your glands)
  • Have a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (a type of thyroid cancer)
  • Are allergic to semaglutide
  • Have a severe slowing of the stomach called gastroparesis

You should only take one type of semaglutide medication at a time. For example, you cannot take Ozempic and Wegovy together.

Possible Side Effects from Semaglutide

For some patients, the possible side effects outweigh the potential benefits of treating their condition. Contact your doctor immediately and stop taking semaglutide if you experience these side effects:

  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Indigestion
  • Nightmares
  • Pain in the stomach, side or abdomen
  • Seizures
  • Rash
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble breathing
  • Vomiting

This is not a complete list of side effects. Consult with your health care provider for a full list of possible side effects.

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