Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide drugs Ozempic and Wegovy have been in the limelight for their weight-loss potential for the past several years. In combination with lifestyle interventions such as regular exercise and a healthy diet, these drugs have proven their ability to significantly reduce overall body weight in people with Type 2 Diabetes (Ozempic) as well as in obese and overweight populations (Wegovy).
While countless patients have found injectable GLP-1 medications to be a game-changer for their blood sugar, cardiovascular, and weight loss goals, others have been unable to access these drugs’ benefits precisely because of their method of administration. For people with trypanophobia (the intense fear of needles) or other conditions or circumstances that make injections undesirable or impossible, the injectable versions of semaglutide medications have remained out of reach. Rybelsus (a pill version of semaglutide) has been available to people with Type 2 Diabetes since 2019, but it comes in different dosages than the injectable medications and is not approved for weight loss.
But is all that about to change? Is it possible that a pill version of Wegovy is on the horizon? In this post, we’ve reviewed the differences between injectable and oral semaglutide, explored what the research says, and answered some frequently asked questions. For more information about oral semaglutide and whether or not it may be the right option for your health goals, speak directly with your doctor or healthcare provider.
- Semaglutide is currently available in an injectable form (Ozempic, Wegovy) and pill form (Rybelsus).
- Rybelsus is indicated for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes but is not approved as a weight loss medication.
- Recent clinical trial results have shown that, at higher doses, semaglutide pills may be as effective for weight loss as injectable semaglutide.
- Novo Nordisk is expected to seek approval for an oral semaglutide pill for weight loss in the near future.
Does Ozempic Come in Pill Form?
Does Ozempic come in pill form? There isn’t a direct and simple yes or no answer to this question. That’s because Ozempic’s active ingredient, semaglutide, is available in pill form under the brand name Rybelsus. That being said, Rybelsus isn’t exactly the same as Ozempic.
Like Ozempic, Rybelsus is approved for blood sugar management in adults with Type 2 Diabetes. But there are some key differences, namely:
- Ozempic comes in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg doses; Rybelsus comes in 3 mg, 7 mg and 14 mg doses.
- Ozempic is injected subcutaneously once weekly; Rybelsus is taken orally once daily, usually first thing in the morning at least 30 minutes before eating.
- Ozempic is indicated for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes in adults as well as for the reduction of major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with Type 2 Diabetes and established cardiovascular disease; Rybelsus is only indicated for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.
Ozempic and Rybelsus are both associated with weight loss in diabetic populations, but neither is approved as a weight loss drug (though either may be prescribed off-label for this purpose if the prescribing physician feels it will benefit a particular patient).
Wegovy, which is identical to Ozempic but injected at a higher maintenance dose of 2.4 mg per week, is associated with more significant weight loss and has been approved for chronic weight management in obese and overweight populations since 2021. Rybelsus is not the same as Wegovy, but recent clinical trials have examined whether oral semaglutide medications could be associated with weight loss outcomes similar to Wegovy at higher doses.
Pill Vs. Injection Results
In a 68-week clinical trial, Wegovy (2.4 mg of semaglutide injected once weekly) was shown to reduce overall body weight by an average of 14.9% in obese and overweight populations combined with lifestyle interventions. A recent phase 3 clinical trial assessing the efficacy of oral semaglutide taken once daily at a higher dosage than Rybelsus has yielded similar results.
Obese adults (BMI over 30) and overweight adults (BMI over 27) with at least one weight-related medical condition were given semaglutide in a 50 mg pill once daily in combination with lifestyle interventions. Over a period of 68 weeks, patients lost an average of 15.1% of their starting body weight. Approximately 80% of patients experienced mild to moderate gastrointestinal side effects.
How Frequently Do Pills Need To Be Taken?
Semaglutide pills need to be taken once daily, usually first thing in the morning, at least half an hour before eating. Such a dosing schedule requires patients to be meticulous with their medication administration and is more involved than the dosing schedule associated with Ozempic and Wegovy (once weekly injections administered at any time of day, with or without food).
To conclude, semaglutide is currently available in pill form under the brand name Rybelsus. Like Ozempic, Rybelsus is approved for blood sugar management in adults with Type 2 Diabetes but is not approved as a weight loss drug. Recent clinical trials have shown that, at a higher dose of 50 mg per day, oral semaglutide may be as effective for weight loss as Wegovy. Based on these findings, Novo Nordisk is expected to soon seek approval for an oral semaglutide pill for weight loss.
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What Is the Pill Version of Ozempic?
The pill version of Ozempic is called Rybelsus, but it is not exactly the same as Ozempic. To learn more about the differences between Ozempic and Rybelsus, read our in-depth comparison here.
Are Ozempic Tablets as Good as Injections?
Rybelsus is similarly effective to Ozempic for managing blood sugar levels in adults with Type 2 Diabetes. In terms of weight loss, recent clinical trials have shown that semaglutide pills may be as effective as Wegovy when taken at a dosage of 50 mg per day. However, no semaglutide pills have yet been approved for weight loss purposes.
How Much Does Oral Ozempic Cost?
The price of Rybelsus depends on where you purchase it and the type of insurance coverage you have. Without insurance, a month’s supply of Rybelsus costs approximately $1,000 US. It is unknown what the price of a higher dose semaglutide weight loss pill might be if approved. For a more affordable alternative, source high-quality Canadian Ozempic and Rybelsus from Bisonpharmacy.com.