Ozempic Alternatives: 10 Effective Ozempic Alternatives to Consider

May 31, 2024 | Weight Loss

Ozempic is a popular medication known for regulating blood sugar levels and promoting significant weight loss. However, you may want to seek Ozempic alternatives for several reasons, including potential side effects, cost, availability issues, and personal health conditions.

Luckily, Ozempic isn’t the only GLP-1 agonist available. Other medications similar to Ozempic can offer the same results, especially when accompanied by a good diet and exercise routine.

Explore 10 Ozempic alternatives, including ones for people with type 2 diabetes and those looking to lose weight.


What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic is an FDA-approved prescription medication for treating blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is an injectable drug that belongs to a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. The active ingredient in Ozempic is semaglutide, which mimics the action of the human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) hormone.

Ozempic works by imitating the action of GLP-1 in the body. GLP-1 is naturally secreted in the intestines in response to meal intake. GLP-1 plays an important role in blood sugar regulation because it stimulates insulin production, inhibits glucagon release (a hormone that elevates blood sugar levels), and slows stomach emptying.

Ozempic lowers blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin release from the pancreas and slowing down stomach emptying. This helps to minimize the quantity of glucose in the bloodstream after eating.

Ozempic also increases feelings of fullness, making it useful for weight loss.

Clinical studies have also shown that Ozempic can reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in people with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular disease.

The drug comes in pre-filled pens that are injected into the thigh, upper arm, or belly once a week. You can take Ozempic with or without food.


Why Look for Ozempic Alternatives?

There are several reasons why you may need an Ozempic alternative. While the medication is effective for many patients, it can cause various side effects that may make people seek alternatives. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, pancreatitis, allergic reactions, and kidney issues.

The cost of Ozempic can also be a significant factor for many patients. Ozempic can be expensive to some people, and not all insurance plans cover it entirely. You may also struggle to get Ozempic because of shortage issues as demand exceeds supply.

Ozempic may also not be a good option for you if you have, or have a family history of, multiple endocrine neoplasia type two, pancreatitis, or medullary thyroid cancer.


Ozempic Alternatives for Type 2 Diabetes

Most people with type 2 diabetes require medicine to control their blood sugar levels and lower their risk of diabetes-related problems, such as heart disease.

If you are unable to take Ozempic, your healthcare provider may recommend another drug.


1. Mounjaro (tirzepatide)

Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is closely linked to GLP-1 agonists. It belongs to a brand-new class known as GLP-1/GIP agonists. This means that it mimics two gut hormones: GLP-1 and GIP. This may make it more effective in regulating blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss.

Mounjaro reduces blood sugar levels by increasing insulin secretion and slows digestion. This helps to minimize the level of glucose in the bloodstream after eating.

Mounjaro, like Ozempic, is administered subcutaneously once every week. While Mounjaro is only FDA-approved to help control blood sugar levels, the medication’s active ingredient, tirzepatide, is approved for weight loss under a different name. (More on that below.)

Mounjaro has been compared to Ozempic. After 40 weeks, it resulted in a greater reduction in hemoglobin A1C levels (average blood glucose over three months) than Ozempic. The participants in this study also shed more pounds.


2. Rybelsus (semaglutide)

Rybelsus is an oral medication used to manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is a form of semaglutide, the same active ingredient found in the injectable medication Ozempic.

Unlike many GLP-1 receptor agonists requiring injections, Rybelsus is an oral medication, making it a better option for those who don’t prefer injectable medications. Rybelsus is taken by mouth once daily, at least 30 minutes before the first food, beverage, or other oral medications, to ensure proper absorption. It should be taken with no more than 4 ounces of plain water.


3. Trulicity (dulaglutide)

Trulicity is another GLP-1 receptor agonist prescribed to improve blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease in adults with type 2 diabetes. The active ingredient in Trulicity is dulaglutide.

Like Ozempic, Trulicity is injected under the skin and is usually given to people with type 2 diabetes who have not responded well to other treatments. It comes as a pre-filled pen that can only be used once. You can administer it on the same day each week, at any time, with or without food.

Trulicity is not approved for weight loss. However, some people who use it experience weight loss as a side effect. One study showed that adults taking the highest dose of Trulicity (4.5 mg) lose up to 10 pounds in 9 months.


4. Metformin

Metformin is one of the most commonly prescribed diabetes treatments. It is not similar to Ozempic and works differently to reduce blood sugar levels.

Metformin belongs to a class of drugs known as biguanides. It is available in several forms, including immediate-release tablets and extended-release tablets.

Metformin decreases blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity, lowering the amount of blood sugar produced by the liver, and decreasing the amount of sugar absorbed by the digestive tract.

Unlike Ozempic, Metformin is an oral medication, making it an excellent choice for people who dislike injections. Metformin can be taken with other diabetes drugs, such as Ozempic.

Metformin is also approved for children aged ten and up with type 2 diabetes. It’s also considered safe for individuals with thyroid cancer or who have a family history of the disease.

However, Metformin is not recommended for people with kidney illness, congestive heart failure, metabolic acidosis, or liver problems.


Ozempic Alternatives for Weight Loss

Your healthcare provider may recommend a weight loss prescription if you’ve not achieved your weight loss goals through food and exercise alone. While Ozempic is not FDA-approved for weight loss, some drugs, such as Wegovy, are.


5. Wegovy (semaglutide)

Wegovy and Ozempic are brand-name injectable prescription medications with the same active component, semaglutide. So, Wegovy works like Ozempic. Wegovy increases the body’s GLP-1 levels, which slows digestion and sends signals to the brain indicating that you are full. This helps regulate your appetite and results in significant weight loss.

While Ozempic is solely approved for blood sugar regulation, Wegovy is FDA-approved for weight loss. Wegovy is prescribed to people who are obese with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher or those who are overweight and have a weight-related health issue, such as high cholesterol level, blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes.

Research has shown that people taking Wegovy along with lifestyle changes can lose about 15% of their body weight.

Wegovy, like Ozempic, is an injectable medicine administered once a week. It’s a prescription-only drug, which means you must receive a prescription from a healthcare provider before using it.

While Wegovy’s out-of-pocket expenses can be high, some health insurance, like Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal, covers this medicine.


6. Zepbound (tirzepatide)

Zepbound is an injectable medicine containing the same active ingredient as Mounjaro: tirzepatide.

These two drugs have various similarities since they contain the same active component. Both are GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonists, are injected once a week, come in the same dosage range, and have the same side effects. What is the main difference between the two Ozempic alternatives? Mounjaro is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes, while Zepbound is FDA-approved for chronic weight management.

Like Mounjaro, Zepbound mimics GLP-1 and GIP hormones to help control appetite. Zepbound promotes weight loss by suppressing appetite. It slows digestion, making you feel fuller longer. This causes you to consume fewer calories, which can help in weight loss and long-term weight management.


7. Retatrutide

Retatrutide is the most recent weight loss medication to join the list. Retatrutide works similarly to Ozempic and Wegovy. However, it is more effective since it targets two other hormones: glucagon, which can help lower appetite and enhance fat burn, and GIP.

This means that, unlike Wegovy, a GLP-1 agonist, and Mounjaro, a dual agonist mimicking both GLP-1 and a GIP, retatrutide is a triagonist. This means it mimics the actions of three hormones: glucagon, GLP-1, and GIP. These hormones control blood sugar, increase feelings of fullness, and suppress appetite.

This triple action explains why retatrutide has better weight reduction results than other GLP-1 drugs. In one study, participants who took the highest dose of retatrutide lost about 24% of their body weight in 48 weeks. This weight reduction exceeds that seen in those taking semaglutide or tirzepatide.


8. Saxenda (liraglutide)

Saxenda is FDA-approved for chronic weight management. It also helps control blood sugar, but it is not FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes.

Unlike Ozempic, Saxenda is a daily injectable for weight loss with dosage strengths ranging from .6 mg to 3 mg.

Saxenda causes less weight reduction than other Ozempic alternatives approved for weight loss, such as Wegovy and Zepbound. However, the results are still impressive: In a study, participants dropped 5-10% of their body weight while taking Saxenda over a year, with some losing more than 10%.

Saxenda has liraglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist. Liraglutide supports weight loss by decreasing hunger and slowing stomach emptying, which increases feelings of fullness and reduces calorie intake.

Saxenda, like Wegovy, is designed to be used with a nutritious, low-calorie diet and increased physical exercise.


Ozempic Alternatives for Weight Loss: Lifestyle and Dietary

While medications like Ozempic can help manage weight loss and diabetes, diet and lifestyle changes are still essential components of a holistic approach to managing type 2 diabetes and weight.

A healthy diet and regular physical activity help control blood sugar levels, boost overall health, and minimize the risk of diabetes and obesity complications.

If you need help with how to start modifying your diet or incorporating physical activity into your weekly routine, healthcare practitioners can help.

Dietitians and nutritionists can offer individualized advice to help you plan meals and make long-term improvements to your eating habits. A healthcare provider can also assist you in getting started with an exercise.


9. Dietary changes

Making certain dietary changes can have a major impact on weight management and diabetes control. Meals should be high in vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains.

Portion control is also important; being careful of portion sizes might help you avoid overeating. Simple strategies such as using smaller plates, measuring portions, and paying attention to hunger cues can assist in managing calorie intake.

Additionally, eating at regular intervals helps stabilize blood sugar levels and prevents the urge to overeat, leading to better overall weight management.

Avoid ultra-processed meals, fast foods, added sugars, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Foods that require a lot of processing, such as potato chips, white bread, and lunch meats, are ultra-processed. These foods contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and hydrogenated oils. According to research, ultra-processed foods can lead to weight gain.


10. Exercise and physical activity

Regular physical activity has several benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity, lowering blood sugar levels, improving sleep, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, and promoting weight loss.
Including various exercises in your weekly routine can maximize health benefits and enhance weight management efforts.

Aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming, increases heart rate and improves cardiovascular health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week.

Strength training, which includes lifting weights or using resistance bands, helps build muscle mass, improve insulin sensitivity, and support weight loss. Engage in strength training exercises at least two days per week.

Flexibility and balance exercises, such as yoga and stretching, improve flexibility and balance and reduce the risk of falls and injuries. This is especially beneficial for older adults with diabetes.


How NP2GO Clinic Can Help

At NP2GO Clinic, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive weight loss solutions tailored to meet your individual needs. Our mission is to help you achieve your weight loss goals through professional medical guidance, personalized treatment plans, and a supportive environment.

We assess your medical history, health status, and weight loss goals. We understand that everyone is different, and this evaluation allows us to create a customized treatment plan specifically for you.

Based on your assessment, we recommend safe and effective weight loss medications. Whether considering Ozempic alternatives or exploring new options, we ensure your medication plan is tailored to your needs and goals.

Our team is experienced in obesity medicine and is committed to guiding you every step of the way. We offer the latest information on weight loss medications, helping you understand each option’s benefits and potential side effects.

We offer a supportive and non-judgmental environment where you can openly discuss your concerns and challenges. We offer professional medical advice and closely monitor your progress to ensure you achieve your weight loss goals.

Contact us today to start your journey towards a healthier, happier you.