Saxenda vs. Ozempic: Head-to-Head Weight Loss Comparison The image showes Ozempic and Saxenda's injectable pens.

Saxenda vs. Ozempic: Head-to-Head Weight Loss Comparison

July 25. 2023

Obesity is a serious, chronic condition that affects 2 out of 5 individuals in the US. People with this complex disease often must resort to medical weight loss programs to attain a healthy weight. Saxenda and Ozempic weight loss are similar medications healthcare professionals prescribe for weight management. Both drugs help control blood sugar levels and reduce appetite. While they have plenty in common, a few key points set them apart. Debating Saxenda vs. Ozempic will help you determine which suits you best.

Receptor agonists class drugs for body weight reduction have become extremely popular in the last decade due to their efficacy level. With so many new options, it can be challenging to keep up. Today, our weight loss clinic in Chicago will tell you all you need to know about Saxenda vs. Ozempic. So if you are thinking about taking these medications or are curious about how they promote weight loss, continue reading this article.

Saxenda explained

Saxenda is an obesity drug that promotes weight loss in conjunction with diet and physical activity. Saxenda’s active ingredient (liraglutide) was first used to develop another drug called Victoza. Victoza is a type 2 diabetes mellitus medication that lowers blood sugar levels. The pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk discovered liraglutide’s weight loss potential during clinical trials and developed Saxenda – a new liraglutide brand exclusively for weight management.

Saxenda was approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in 2014 to treat obesity in adults and adolescents. To be eligible to use this drug, you must be a teenager aged 12 to 17, weigh 130 pounds (60kg), and have obesity. Adults must be obese (body mass index of 30 or higher) or overweight (BMI of 27 or higher) with a weight-related health condition. If you don’t meet these criteria, you can resort to other medical options, such as Phentermine for weight loss.

Saxenda active compound activates glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. GLP-1 is a naturally occurring incretin hormone involved in different gut and brain functions. That hormone reduces the rate at which food travels through our digestive system by increasing insulin secretion. Food goes to your stomach when you eat a meal or snack. The food intake stays there until the stomach empties its content into the small intestine. While you have food in your stomach, you will feel full; once it leaves your gut, you will start feeling hungry again. By slowing down gastric emptying, GLP-1 acts as an appetite suppressant. While on Saxenda, you will feel satisfied faster when eating and remain satiated for longer as well.

Ozempic: the overview

Ozempic is a type 2 diabetes medication prescribed for blood sugar management. Like Saxenda, this medication is manufactured by Novo Nordisk pharmaceutical company. Ozempic and Saxenda’s stories are entirely the opposite. Ozempic was developed as a type 2 diabetes mellitus medication; it was not meant to be used as an obesity control medication. Nevertheless, due to Ozempic’s incredible body weight reduction effects, healthcare providers started prescribing it off-label for such a purpose. In 2021, Novo Nordisk developed and launched a new brand that contains semaglutide – the same active ingredient as Ozempic – but can be administered in higher dosages. That brand is Wegovy; if you are not losing weight on Ozempic, a doctor can switch you to this medication for more efficient results.

Even though you can use it in smaller dosages than Wegovy, Ozempic is still highly effective for weight loss management. Semaglutide, the active ingredient, mimics GLP-1 receptor agonists. That is another point Saxenda vs. Ozempic have in common. As mentioned, the GLP-1 hormone takes part in several mechanisms in our digestive system and interferes with our brain activity. GLP-1 reduces appetite by slowing down gastric emptying. Besides that, this hormone produces another appetitive suppression effect by working at the hunger area in our brains. More research on this subject is taking place, but GLP-1 signals the hypothalamus, which regulates our food intake. The hypothalamus lets your body know you are full and signals your brain to consume less food.

Ozempic promotes weight loss through appetite suppression. Therefore, habits changes, such as a proper semaglutide diet plan and increased physical activity, are necessary to achieve your goals.

Saxenda vs. Ozempic: key differences

Saxenda and Ozempic have many similarities; for example, both are agonist medications. Ozempic, Saxenda, and retatrutide mechanism of action also have a lot in common. Their resemblance can make it challenging to decide which one suits you better. The following Saxenda vs. Ozempic comparison will help you make a more informed decision when selecting a medical weight loss program:


Ozempic is only approved by the Foods And Drugs Administration (FDA) for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus. That means that this drug is not an official weight management medication. For obesity control, it can only be prescribed “off-label.” However, Wegovy (also semaglutide) is FDA-approved for weight loss.

On the other hand, Saxenda is an FDA-approved obesity-control medication. Another plus of this drug is that healthcare providers can prescribe it to adults and teenagers aged 12-17. Ozempic has not been tested in children or adolescents. Wegovy, however, is approved for children over 12 years old.

Dosage schedule and form

The dosage schedule is a pivotal point to draw the line between Saxenda and Ozempic and differentiate them.

Regarding the medications’ forms, both use subcutaneous injections. Injectable pens are very common among type 2 diabetes mellitus treatments but not so much in weight loss programs. But you have nothing to worry about if you never used an injection pen before; they are easy to apply and relatively painless. At the beginning of the treatment, your doctor will explain how to use this device and probably give you other valuable tips, such as the best time of day to take Mounjaro, Ozempic, or Saxenda. You will start both programs with the lowest dose so your body adapts to the medication, and you will slowly increase the dosage.

Patients must take Saxenda every day, ideally at the same time each day, to ensure efficacy. You will start the first week with 0.6mg per day. Your dosage will be increased weekly until reaching the 5th week; by then, you will take the highest possible dosage of 3mg daily.

On the other hand, Ozempic works as a weekly medication. You must give yourself a shot once a week on the same day each week. You will begin the treatment with 0.25mg per week; Ozempic’s dosage is increased month by month. The maximum allowed dose is 2mg a week.

The Ozempic weekly schedule is much more convenient for some people, especially those traveling with Ozempic or with a busy schedule.

Most common side effects

Saxenda and Ozempic share the list of most common side effects:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach upset
  • constipation
  • headaches

As you can see, most side effects are gastrointestinal-related. You can ask your healthcare provider for a list of foods to avoid; for example, greasy and fatty foods increase symptoms. Mixing Saxenda, Ozempic, or Mounjaro and alcohol can also worsen side effects. Typically, these side effects are transitory; they appear when you increase the dose or take your shot. That is another advantage of Ozempic and its weekly injections, which make the medicine much more tolerable than Saxenda.

Serious Ozempic or Saxenda’s adverse effects are rare, but they can include pancreatitis, kidney problems, increased heart rate, low blood sugar, and severe allergic reactions.

Health benefits

Both medications provide several health advantages:

  • Type 2 diabetes: Ozempic is meant to treat diabetes; this medication helps lower blood sugar levels by promoting insulin secretion. While Saxenda is for weight loss management, since it promotes insulin secretion, it can also help improve type 2 diabetes and control high blood glucose levels.
  • Weight loss: obesity is a severe condition that can cause other health afflictions such as diabetes or heart disease. You are improving your overall health by reducing your body weight with Saxenda or Ozempic.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome: losing weight can substantially improve PCOS; at the moment, healthcare experts are considering Ozempic for PCOS treatment.
  • Cardiovascular improvement: Saxenda and Ozempic may lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.

Which is better for weight loss: Saxenda or Ozempic?

Regarding weight loss effectiveness, while both drugs have very similar mechanisms of action, one of them promotes more significant body weight reduction. Semaglutide (Ozempic) leads to more substantial weight loss and blood glucose reduction than liraglutide (Saxenda). That happens because semaglutide is a more potent GLP-1 receptor agonist; Ozempic reduces appetitive and substantially increases satiety.

While using Ozempic at the highest dose, people lose an average of 10% of body weight. With Saxenda’s maximum dose, individuals experience an average of 6% body weight reduction. Patients obtain these results when combining the medications with eating habits changes, such as low-calorie diets or fasting benefits by hour, and regular exercise.

Final thoughts

Debating Saxenda vs. Ozempic can give you a more clear picture of how these medications work to promote weight loss. That will make it easier for you to make an informed decision when choosing which one to include in your weight loss plan. Do you still have questions regarding these obesity drugs? Or do you want to learn more about other medications, such as retatrutide vs. tirzepatide? Our dedicated team is always ready to clear all your doubts. Schedule a call with us today; we will happily answer all your questions.

Nurse Walton


Nurse Walton

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Chanay received her Practical Nurse licensure and went to work in clinical specialties such as Home Health, Assisted Living, Long-Term Care and Dialysis Centers. Through this work, she realized the importance of diet, nutrition and weight loss among her patients. This led her to open A Better Weigh, Inc. Medical Weight Loss Center in 2009.

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