If the recent Oscar red carpet appearances and the changing appearances of the Kardashians are anything to go by, thin is back in and has, rather coincidentally, coinceded with the advent of "the skinny jab" AKA semaglutide AKA Ozempic and Wegovy.
Is Semaglutide the Answer to Your Weight Loss Struggles?
But let's put the world of unrealistic beauty standards to one side for a moment, because whilst the media would have us believe that weightloss is simply about looking a certain way, more than 1 billion people worldwide are obese – 650 million adults, 340 million adolescents and 39 million children. This number is still increasing.
Obesity has become a global epidemic, and it is associated with numerous chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, infertility, depression and heart disease.
With the advancement in medical technology, there are a range of weight loss options that can help people achieve their desired weight loss goals. One of the latest medications that have gained popularity in recent years is semaglutide.
In this blog, we will cover how semaglutide works, compare the main brands and outline the benefits and risks.
How Does Semaglutide Work?
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that works by mimicking the actions of a naturally occurring hormone in the body known as GLP-1.
That's VERY sciency...but essentially GLP-1 is a hormone produced in the intestine which stimulates the release of insulin, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. GLP-1 also helps to reduce appetite and food intake, which can lead to weight loss.
Semaglutide works by binding to GLP-1 receptors in the brain, which helps to reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness. It also slows down the rate at which food leaves the stomach, which helps to reduce the amount of food you eat.
If you have lots of GLP-1 in your blood, your appetite is suppressed, you feel fuller and insulin secretion increases, reducing your blood sugar levels.
What are the differences between Ozempic and Wegovy?
There are currently two main brands of semaglutide available in the market: Ozempic and Wegovy.
Ozempic and Wegovy are both medications used to treat type 2 diabetes and aid in weight loss, but they have some differences. Here are a few key differences:
- Dose of Active Ingredient: Both contain semaglutide, but Ozempic is available in doses of 0.25mg and 0.5mg, whereas Wegovy is available in a higher dose of 2.4mg.
- Dosage: Ozempic is typically injected once a week, while Wegovy is injected once a week for the first month and then once every two weeks thereafter.
- Indications: Ozempic is indicated for both blood sugar control and weight loss in adults with type 2 diabetes, while Wegovy is specifically indicated for weight management in adults who are overweight or have obesity, with or without type 2 diabetes.
- Licences: Ozempic is approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, whereas Wegovy is approved for weight loss in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or greater with at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.
Which is best for weightloss? Ozempic or Wegovy?
Semaglutide has been shown to be effective in helping people achieve significant weight loss.
In clinical trials, participants who took semaglutide lost an average of 15-20% of their body weight over a period of 68 weeks. This weight loss was sustained over time, with participants maintaining an average weight loss of 17-18% at 2 years.
Both Ozempic and Wegovy contain semaglutide, and have been shown to aid in weight loss, but Wegovy is specifically formulated and indicated for weight management, whereas Ozempic is indicated for both blood sugar control and weight loss in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Wegovy contains a higher dose of semaglutide than Ozempic, which is thought to contribute to its more slightly more pronounced weight loss effects. That said, there are no clinical trials where both drugs have been tested head to head.
Sounds too good to be true? What's the catch?
The main benefit of semaglutide is its effectiveness in helping people achieve significant weight loss. It can help improve overall health by reducing the risk of obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Semaglutide can also improve quality of life by boosting self-esteem and confidence. Sounds like a wonderdrug, right?
Well, like any drug, semaglutide has side effects and risks that need to be taken into consideration.
Risks and side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. Some people also experience abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and headaches.
Will I regain weight if I stop using Ozempic or Wegovy?
Weight regain can occur after stopping the use of Ozempic or Wegovy, as with any weight loss medication, diet or exercise routine.
In clinical trials, participants who stopped using semaglutide experienced some weight regain but maintained a significant portion of their weight loss. In one study, participants who stopped using Wegovy regained an average of 2.3% of their body weight over a period of 48 weeks. However, they still maintained an average weight loss of 13.8% compared to the baseline.
It is important to continue lifestyle modifications, such as healthy eating and regular exercise, after discontinuing semaglutide to prevent weight regain.
Overall, both Ozempic and Wegovy are effective in helping people achieve significant weight loss, and the choice between the two will depend on individual factors such as the presence of diabetes and the severity of obesity. It is essential to discuss the options with your healthcare provider to determine which medication is right for you.