Home Drugs Ozempic Ozempic vs Saxenda

Saxenda vs. Ozempic

Saxenda (liraglutide) and Ozempic (semaglutide) are both injectable drugs. Saxenda is FDA-approved for chronic weight management, while Ozempic is used for Type 2 diabetes in adults but may be prescribed for weight loss as an off-label use. Saxenda requires more frequent injections than Ozempic.

Last Modified: April 3, 2024
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Key Differences Between Saxenda and Ozempic

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a top medication for diabetes and may be prescribed off-label for weight management. Saxenda (liraglutide) is primarily for weight loss. Ozempic is more widely used, but Saxenda offers an FDA-approved alternative for weight loss

Despite their differences, both drugs work by imitating a hormone that controls blood sugar and appetite. This can help people lose weight and maintain their blood sugar levels.

Ozempic vs Saxenda venn diagram

Saxenda vs. Ozempic Cost

Ozempic costs about $935 without insurance for 0.25 or 0.5 mg dosage, according to the Novo Nordisk website. Those with eligible private or commercial insurance can pay as low as $25 for up to a three-month supply.

Saxenda’s cost also varies based on insurance coverage, treatment plan and pharmacy. Its list price is $1,349.02 per pen, lasting 6-17 days, depending on the dosage.

Saxenda vs. Ozempic Side Effects

Both liraglutide and semaglutide can cause constipation and allergic reactions. Common Saxenda side effects include headaches, heartburn, runny nose, sneezing, cough, fatigue, difficulty urinating and pain or burning during urination. Common Ozempic side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and allergic reactions.

Saxenda vs. Ozempic Ingredients

Ozempic contains semaglutide. Another Novo Nordisk semaglutide drug, Wegovy, is FDA-approved for weight loss and has proven more effective in causing clinically significant weight loss than Saxenda’s active ingredient, liraglutide.

Usage Differences Between Saxenda and Ozempic

Truveta Research compared Saxenda and Ozempic based on prescribing and dispensing rates, patient characteristics and other criteria. They analyzed electronic medical data from health care institutions providing 18% of the daily clinical care in the U.S. The study reviewed records of over one million patients prescribed a GLP-1 between January 2018 and December 2023.

Usage Comparisons
Prescribing TrendsSecond most widely prescribed AOM (anti-obesity medication) overall. Generally lower prescribing rates compared to Ozempic.Most commonly prescribed GLP-1 receptor agonist overall. Higher first-time prescribing rates compared to Saxenda.
Dispensing RatesLower dispensing rates compared to Ozempic, especially among older patients. This may indicate differences in patient acceptance or access challenges compared to Ozempic.Higher initiation rates, with more first-time prescriptions being dispensed within 60 days. More consistent dispensing rates compared to Saxenda.
Patient CharacteristicsPredominantly prescribed as an AOM for weight loss. Lower initiation rates, particularly among older patients, possibly due to insurance coverage limitations for weight-loss medications.Preferred across different age groups, with consistent prescribing trends observed over time. Higher prevalence in patients with Type 2 diabetes and/or overweight or obesity.
Safety & EffectivenessEfficacy is demonstrated primarily in weight loss management. Generally well-tolerated but with considerations related to gastrointestinal side effects and potential for pancreatitis.Well-established efficacy in both diabetes management and weight loss. Generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile.
Market Competition & AccessPositioned primarily as an AOM for weight loss. It offers an alternative for patients seeking weight-loss medications, particularly those who prefer injectable formulations.Established market leader in the GLP-1 receptor agonist category, with high brand recognition and market share. May face competition from Saxenda in the weight-loss medication market.

A 2023 study published in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) suggests tirzepatide — used in Mounjaro — may outperform semaglutide in weight loss efficacy. Patients on tirzepatide were almost three times more likely to achieve significant weight loss than those on semaglutide.

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Is Saxenda or Ozempic More Effective?

For managing Type 2 diabetes, Ozempic shows significant reductions in HbA1c, but both medications may be effective at promoting weight loss. Comparing Saxenda vs. Ozempic efficacy depends on the context. Both medications are GLP-1 agonists, but they have slightly different indications and clinical trial results.

Effectiveness of Semaglutide vs. Liraglutide
  • In a study with 2,000 adults diagnosed with obesity using semaglutide, 50% lost 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks.
  • Without semaglutide, participants relying solely on lifestyle changes shed approximately 2.4% of their weight in the same period.
  • In a study of 769 participants on liraglutide, 52.5% lost at least 5% of their body weight in six months and 18.3% lost at least 10%.
  • Liraglutide positively impacts blood pressure and glucose levels in patients diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.

Saxenda was specifically approved and studied for weight loss. It demonstrates meaningful reductions in body weight for most patients. When choosing between the two drugs, individuals should discuss their goals, the potential side effects and other relevant factors with their doctors to decide which medication is most suitable.

Saxenda vs. Ozempic: Side Effects

Saxenda and Ozempic share many side effects. These include cold and flu symptoms, signs of hypoglycemia, abdominal pain, fatigue and allergic and adverse reactions.

Other severe side effects shared by both medications include clay-colored stools and yellowing of the eyes or skin. Users have also reported ongoing pain in the upper middle or left stomach areas.

Comparing Severe Side Effects: Saxenda vs. Ozempic
Abdominal Pain
Decreased Appetite
Decreased Urination
Difficulty Breathing
Difficulty Swallowing
Mood Changes
New or Worsening Depression
Rapid Heartbeat
Slurred Speech
Swelling in the Extremities
Swelling of the Face, Mouth, Tongue, Eyes or Throat
Thoughts of Self-Harm
Vision Changes
Source: National Library of Medicine and U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Speak to your doctor about concerns regarding side effects and monitor any adverse reactions you may experience. Seek immediate medical attention if symptoms are severe.

Safety Concerns About Saxenda and Ozempic

Saxenda and Ozempic have each been linked to gallbladder complications. They can reduce gallbladder contraction and gastrointestinal motility, which could lead to long-term problems.

Both Ozempic and Saxenda have FDA-boxed warnings for thyroid C-cell tumor risk.

Some people have filed Ozempic lawsuits claiming stomach paralysis (gastroparesis), a condition disrupting food movement from the stomach to the intestine.

FDA Investigates Counterfeit Ozempic and Other Semaglutide Drugs

The FDA is investigating counterfeit semaglutide products that have caused side effects. Check the lot and serial number of your semaglutide product before using it. 

Do not use the medicine with lot number NAR0074 and serial number 430834149057. Contact your local pharmacy or Novo Nordisk at 1-800-727-6500 if you have any concerns. Report any side effects to the FDA’s MedWatch.

Saxenda vs. Ozempic: Which Should You Take?

Remember that Ozempic is only FDA-approved for treating Type 2 diabetes, while Saxenda is FDA-approved for weight loss. The FDA warns against off-label uses, so it’s important to take medication as intended.

Before starting either drug, talk to your health care provider about the potential benefits and risks, since both come with side effects and concerns.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.