Wegovy vs Saxenda vs Ozempic

Dr. Babak Ashrafi

Medically reviewed by

Dr Babak Ashrafi

Last reviewed: 28 Nov 2023

Wegovy, Saxenda, and Ozempic are 3 very similar treatments. But, there are some important differences between them when it comes to their licensing, changes of side effects, available doses, and reviews.

Contents
 

Comparing Wegovy, Saxenda, and Ozempic

Table comparing Weight Loss Treatments Wegovy, Saxenda, and Ozempic

*These numbers come from a study of semaglutide 2.4mg (the active ingredient and dose in Wegovy) for weight loss and a review of studies of liraglutide (the active ingredient in Saxenda) for weight loss.

**These numbers come from a comparison study of semaglutide (the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic) vs liraglutide (the active ingredient in Saxenda).

***These numbers come from a study of semaglutide 1mg (the active ingredient in Ozempic at the maintenance dose).

What is the difference between Wegovy and Saxenda?

Both Wegovy and Saxenda can be effective weight loss treatments and there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Wegovy pros:

  • helps make weight loss more likely
  • higher chance of weight loss than Saxenda

Wegovy cons:

  • takes up to 17 weeks to reach the maximum dose

Saxenda pros:

  • helps make weight loss more likely
  • takes only 5 weeks to reach the maximum dose

Saxenda cons:

  • lower chance of weight loss than Wegovy

Different people react to medications differently, so which treatment works best for you may be different to other people who’ve tried them. You can’t tell which treatment is going to work for you until you try it.

Wegovy vs Saxenda: Which is more affordable?

Wegovy and Saxenda are only available on NHS prescription if they’ve been prescribed by a weight management specialist. This will usually only happen if other weight management options like diet, exercise, and medication like Orlistat haven’t worked.

You can get Wegovy or Saxenda on private prescription. At ZAVA you can use our online weight loss treatment service to

  • request treatment with Saxenda from £57.00 per pen (each pen contains 17 doses at the lowest dosage)
  • request treatment with Wegovy from £179.00 per pen (each pen contains 4 doses, lasting for 4 weeks)

Can you take them together?

No. Because they’re similar medications that work in almost the same way, taking them together isn’t safe. It would be like overdosing on one or the other and could cause some serious health problems.

If you’re on either Wegovy or Saxenda and you’re worried your treatment isn’t working well enough, go back to your doctor to explore more options. Never combine medications unless a doctor has agreed they’re safe for you to take together.

Wegovy vs Saxenda side effects

% of people on Wegovy 2.4mg who get this side effect* % of people on liraglutide (Saxenda) 3mg who get this side effect*
Nausea

61%

59%

Constipation

39%

32%

Diarrhoea

28%

18%

Throwing up

25%

21%

Headache

16%

14%

Burping

14%

4%

Decreased appetite

12%

13%

Tiredness

10%

11%

Indigestion

9%

12%

Cold symptoms

8%

9%

Upper respiratory tract infection

7%

15%

Stiff joints

6%

11%

Sinusitis

6%

6%

Back pain

5%

7%

Flu symptoms

4%

11%

*these numbers come from the STEP 8 Trial comparing Wegovy with liraglutide (Saxenda)

The table above shows that these side effects are a little more likely on Wegovy than Saxenda:

  • nausea
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • throwing up
  • headache
  • burping

And these side effects are more likely on Saxenda than Wegovy:

  • decreased appetite
  • tiredness
  • indigestion
  • cold symptoms
  • upper respiratory tract infection
  • stiff joints
  • back pain
  • flu symptoms

Wegovy vs Saxenda dosage

Wegovy (weekly) Saxenda (daily)
Starting dose

0.25mg, weeks 1 to 4

0.6mg, week 1

Second dose

0.5mg, weeks 5 to 8

1.2mg, week 2

Third dose

1mg, weeks 9 to 12

1.8mg, week 3

Fourth dose

1.7mg, weeks 13 to 16

2.4mg, week 4

Final dose

2.4mg, week 17 onwards

3mg, week 5 onwards

Wegovy and Saxenda have different doses because the active ingredients are different. This doesn’t mean that Saxenda is stronger or more effective just because the doses are higher.

It takes longer for you to start taking your maximum dose on Wegovy compared to Saxenda but that doesn’t mean one works slower than the other. But, Wegovy only needs to be taken once a week compared to Saxenda which has to be taken every day. If you find injections uncomfortable or have trouble remembering to take your treatment every day then Wegovy might suit you better.

Wegovy vs Ozempic

Wegovy Ozempic
Active ingredient

Semaglutide

Semaglutide

Used for

Weight Loss

Managing diabetes

Licensed for

People with or without diabetes

Only people with type 2 diabetes

Available doses

0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, 1.7mg, and 2.4mg

0.25mg, 0.5mg, and 1mg

Wegovy and Ozempic are 2 treatments with exactly the same active ingredient, semaglutide. Ozempic is licensed for treating type 2 diabetes in the UK since it helps control blood sugar as well as helping with weight loss. Wegovy is available as a weight loss treatment whether you have diabetes or not.

Even though they both contain semaglutide, the doses used in Ozempic are slightly lower and only 3 are available. Still, both Wegovy and Ozempic have similar chances of causing side effects because they both use semaglutide.

Conclusion: So is there any difference between Wegovy and Ozempic or Saxenda?

Yes there are some key differences between Wegovy, Ozempic and Saxenda. Since Saxenda has a similar but different active ingredient, it has a different effectiveness and dosing schedule.

Although Ozempic and Wegovy do have the same active ingredient, Wegovy is licensed for weight loss and Ozempic isn’t. They have different available dosages and are meant to treat different conditions.

If you’re looking for weight loss treatment, the choice is between Wegovy and Saxenda. Since Wegovy has been shown to be more effective and only requires an injection once a week instead of daily, it might be a good first choice. If Wegovy doesn’t work for you, trying Saxenda might be a good next step.

Frequently asked questions

Does Ozempic help lose weight if not diabetic?

Ozempic can support weight loss in people without diabetes if prescribed off-licence. But, since Wegovy is now available, licensed for weight loss and contains the same active ingredient, it’s a better choice.

What is the price difference between Ozempic and Wegovy?

Since Ozempic can be prescribed for treating diabetes on the NHS it is technically cheaper. But if you’re getting it prescribed off-licence and privately, you’ll pay full price for the medication, just like a private prescription for Wegovy.

Wegovy may be prescribed on the NHS, but only through a specialist weight management service. Otherwise you will have to pay for the medication in full.

What is the most effective weight loss injection?

Wegovy has been shown to be the most effective treatment for weight loss. It won’t work for everyone but has a good chance to improve weight loss as part of a diet and exercise programme.

Can Ozempic be prescribed instead of Wegovy?

Ozempic would only be prescribed instead of Wegovy if you had type 2 diabetes. Otherwise it can only be prescribed privately and off-licence, in which case Wegovy might be a better choice since it’s licensed for weight loss.

How much weight can you lose in a month with Ozempic?

45% of users lost 5% of their starting weight after 30 weeks of Ozempic treatment. This is about 0.66% or two thirds of 1% of their starting weight every 4 weeks (every month).

Do you lose more weight with Saxenda or Wegovy?

You have a higher chance of losing more weight when taking Wegovy than when taking Saxenda.

babak-updated-roundpng.png
Medically reviewed by:
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Accreditations: BSc, MBBS, MRCGP (2008)

Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.

Meet our doctors

Last reviewed: 28 Nov 2023





gmc logo GPC logo

Authorised and regulated by