December 4, 2023

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat type 2 diabetes. Because Ozempic has been shown to boost weight loss in people with diabetes, it’s quickly become a popular drug among those looking to lose weight.

Though Ozempic can be effective for improving blood sugar management and encouraging weight loss, other medications may be better, depending on your health goals, medical history, and budget.

This article lists six Ozempic alternatives, including options for people with type 2 diabetes and those wanting to lose weight.

Note that the details in this article are for information purposes only. When considering medications to treat type 2 diabetes and weight loss, consult with your healthcare professional.

While Ozempic is a good choice for some people with diabetes and those wanting to lose weight, it’s not the right choice for everyone.

Ozempic isn’t safe for those with certain medical conditions and may be out of many people’s budgets when used off-label for weight loss.

Here are some reasons why you might be looking for alternatives to Ozempic:

  • You have a medical condition: Ozempic isn’t safe for those with certain health conditions, including people who have had thyroid tumors or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). People with a family history of MTC should avoid Ozempic. Ozempic is also unsafe for people with a history of multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), diabetic retinopathy, and conditions affecting the kidneys and pancreas.
  • You’re pregnant or breastfeeding: If you plan on becoming pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding, you’re not eligible for Ozempic. Your healthcare professional can recommend a different diabetes medication. Ozempic should not be used for at least 2 months before a planned pregnancy because it may harm the fetus.
  • It’s too costly: Ozempic isn’t typically covered by insurance when it’s prescribed as a weight loss medication. Because of this, some people may need a more affordable alternative. However, it’s important to note that most insurance companies do not cover weight loss medication of any kind and most people have to pay out of pocket for weight loss medications.
  • You’re concerned about side effects: Ozempic is generally considered safe, but it’s associated with several side effects. According to Ozempic’s manufacturer, the most common known side effects of Ozempic are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and constipation.
  • You don’t like needles: Ozempic is medication you need to inject under the skin on your stomach, thigh, or upper arm. Many people have a fear of needles and prefer oral medications over injectables.

Ozempic isn’t the right choice for everyone and may not be safe for people with certain medical conditions. There are other medications that are effective for treating diabetes and promoting weight loss that can be used if you can’t or don’t want to take Ozempic.

Most people with type 2 diabetes need to take medications in order to manage their blood sugar and reduce their risk of diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease.

If you can’t or don’t want to take Ozempic, your healthcare professional may recommend a different medication.


Rybelsus is a GLP-1RA medication that contains semaglutide, the same active ingredient as Ozempic, and works in the same way as Ozempic to reduce blood sugar levels.

Rybelsus is an oral medication, so it may be a better choice for people who don’t tolerate injectable medications. Rybelsus is taken by mouth once per day.


Trulicity is another type of GLP-1RA that’s used to treat diabetes. Like Ozempic, it’s an injectable medication that’s used once per week.

Trulicity contains dulaglutide, which is a biologic medication. Biologic medications are made from parts of living organisms. It works similarly to Ozempic and is effective for reducing blood sugar levels and heart disease risk in people with diabetes.

However, a key difference between Trulicity and Ozempic is that Trulicity is approved for use in treating type 2 diabetes in children over age 10, while Ozempic is not approved for use in children.


​​Mounjaro is another injectable medication approved for use in treating adults and kids with type 2 diabetes.

Its active ingredient is tirzepatide, which is both a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor agonist and a GLP-1RA. It lowers blood sugar by stimulating the release of insulin and by slowing digestion. This helps reduce the amount of blood glucose in the bloodstream after eating.

Mounjaro is similar to Ozempic, but it targets both GIP and GLP-1 receptors. Although they’re both effective for blood sugar management, some research shows that Mounjaro might be more effective than Ozempic.


Metformin is one of the most common medications used to treat diabetes. It’s a different type of medication than Ozempic and lowers blood sugar through different mechanisms.

Metformin is classified as a biguanide. It lowers blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity, decreasing the amount of blood sugar that the liver produces, and reducing the amount of sugar absorbed by the digestive system.

Another difference is that Metformin is an oral medication, so it’s a good choice for people who don’t tolerate injections. Metformin can also be taken alongside other diabetes medications, such as Ozempic.

Using metformin during pregnancy depends on various factors. This decision should only be made in consultation with your OB-GYN.

If you’ve had difficulty losing weight through diet and exercise alone, your doctor may prescribe a weight loss medication. Ozempic is not FDA approved for weight loss. But other medications, such as Wegovy, are.


Wegovy is an injectable medication that contains semaglutide, the same active ingredient as Ozempic, but in a slightly higher dose. However, unlike Ozempic, Wegovy is FDA approved for weight management in adults with overweight and obesity and children over age 12 with obesity.

According to Wegovy’s manufacturer, Wegovy is currently the No. 1 prescribed medication for weight loss in the United States. Like Ozempic, Wegovy is an injectable medication used once per week.

While researchers are still studying the effects of Wegovy in the body, it’s thought that Wegovy targets areas in the brain responsible for reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness. Wegovy helps people eat less, which encourages weight loss.

Wegovy is a prescription-only medication, meaning you must obtain a prescription from a healthcare professional in order to start using it.

In addition to visiting a healthcare professional in person, you may be able to obtain a prescription for Wegovy using services like Ro and Calibrate, which offer virtual medical evaluations for Wegovy treatment from U.S.-licensed healthcare professionals.

Keep in mind that Wegovy is not usually covered by health insurance, and the out of pocket cost can be quite high.


Saxenda is another GLP-1RA FDA approved for weight management in adults with obesity and adults with overweight and weight-related medical concerns. It’s also approved for use in children ages 12 and older with obesity.

Saxenda contains liraglutide, which is a GLP-1RA. Liraglutide helps promote weight loss by decreasing appetite and slowing the emptying of the stomach, which promotes feelings of fullness and decreases calorie intake.

Saxenda is an injectable medication that’s injected once per day. This is the major difference between Saxenda and Wegovy, as Wegovy is an injectable used once per week.

Like Wegovy, Saxenda is meant to be used alongside a nutritious, calorie-reduced diet and increased physical activity.

Most insurance companies don’t cover weight loss medications, so most people have to pay out of pocket for Saxenda. Like Wegovy, you might find newer services like Ro and Calibrate effective options for getting Saxenda.

While weight loss medications can be effective for enhancing weight loss, it’s important to note that weight loss medications aren’t a quick fix and shouldn’t be the first choice when it comes to a weight loss plan.

Many people regain the weight lost after stopping these medications. This means you may need to take these medications long term in order to maintain results.

There are many other ways to lose weight and maintain weight loss, many of which don’t require the high cost and side effects that usually come with weight loss medications.

Following a nutritious, reduced calorie diet and getting plenty of physical activity is one of the best ways to reach and maintain a healthy body weight.

If you’re having a difficult time losing weight, talk with your healthcare professional about undergoing testing to rule out underlying medical conditions that may make it harder for you to lose weight, such as hypothyroidism and PCOS.

A registered dietitian is another healthcare professional who can help you lose weight through safe, effective methods. Nutritional counseling from a registered dietitian is usually covered by your health insurance plan, so it’s an affordable option, even for people on a budget.

What is the best Ozempic alternative?

The best Ozempic alternative depends in part on what the medication is being used to treat. If you have diabetes, your doctor may recommend an alternative medication, such as Trulicity.

If you’re being prescribed a medication for weight loss, Wegovy and Saxenda are FDA approved for weight management and may be used to promote weight loss in adults and children with obesity.

Is there a cheaper alternative to Ozempic?

The list price for one pen of Ozempic is $935.77, which is cheaper than Saxenda and Wegovy, both of which cost $1,349.02 for a month’s worth of medication.

Keep in mind that if you’re using these medications for weight loss, you may be able to get Saxenda and Wegovy at a much lower price by working with a weight loss clinic or services like Ro and Calibrate.

Is there a difference between Ozempic and Wegovy?

Yes, although they contain the same active ingredient, Wegovy is FDA approved for weight loss, while Ozempic is only approved for treating type 2 diabetes.

Wegovy and Ozempic both contain semaglutide, but Wegovy provides a higher dose.

Is Trulicity the same as Ozempic?

Trulicity works similarly to Ozempic and also helps reduce blood sugar levels and heart disease risk in people with diabetes.

However, a key difference between Trulicity and Ozempic is that Trulicity is approved for use in treating type 2 diabetes in children over age 10, while Ozempic is not approved for use in children.

Both medications are effective for treating diabetes.


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