Victoza and Ozempic are both brand-name drugs prescribed for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They’ve also both been associated with healthy weight loss in combination with changes to diet and exercise. Though the drugs have many similarities, they also have some key differences. Below, we’ll take a look at what both drugs have to offer and who might benefit most from each one.
Though the information on the Bisonpharmacy.com website is well-researched and can provide a good starting point for a conversation with your healthcare provider, it is not intended to constitute or replace medical advice. To decide whether Ozempic or Victoza may be the right choice for you, it’s crucial to speak directly with your doctor.
- Ozempic and Victoza are both brand-name Type 2 Diabetes medications belonging to the class of drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. They both reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and have off-label reputations for weight loss.
- Though similar, Ozempic and Victoza have different active ingredients and some different side effects and warnings. Ozempic is injected weekly and is only approved for use in adults, while Victoza is injected daily and can be used in patients as young as 10 years old.
- Only your doctor can determine which medication may be the right choice for your particular needs.
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a name-brand drug manufactured by Novo Nordisk. It was FDA-approved in 2017 for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and related cardiovascular disease in adults. Ozempic’s active ingredient, semaglutide, has also been associated with weight loss, and in 2021, the FDA approved it for weight loss at a higher dose than is found in Ozempic. The drug with that higher dose (2.4 mg) is known as Wegovy and is also produced by Novo Nordisk.
Ozempic is self-injected subcutaneously once per week into the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Patients typically begin taking it at a low initial dose and then increase it to a therapeutic dose over a series of weeks. Ozempic comes in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg doses.
Belonging to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, Ozempic mimics a hormone produced naturally in the small intestine. It stimulates the natural production of pancreatic insulin while also preventing the liver from releasing glucagon. This, in turn, helps lower blood sugar levels. Ozempic also slows down the rate of digestion, thus reducing appetite and cravings and keeping the body feeling fuller for longer.
What Is Victoza?
Victoza (liraglutide) is also a name-brand drug manufactured by Novo Nordisk. It was FDA-approved in 2010 to treat adults with Type 2 Diabetes and related cardiovascular disease and in 2019 to treat children over the age of 10 with Type 2 Diabetes.
Victoza is self-injected subcutaneously once per day into the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Patients typically begin taking it at a low initial dose and work their way to a therapeutic maintenance dose over a few weeks’ time. Victoza comes in 0.6 mg, 1.2 mg, and 1.8 mg doses.
Like Ozempic, Victoza is also a GLP-1 receptor agonist. It also regulates blood sugar levels while decreasing appetite and slowing down digestion.
Ingredients in Ozempic & Victoza
The active ingredient in Ozempic is semaglutide, while the active ingredient in Victoza is liraglutide. Both ingredients mimic hormones produced in the human gut.
Ozempic and Victoza can both be taken with or without food and can both be combined with other Type 2 Diabetes medications (under the recommendation of a doctor).
What Ozempic & Victoza Are Used For
Ozempic and Victoza are both indicated for patients with Type 2 Diabetes and related cardiovascular disease. They help lower and regulate blood sugar levels while also decreasing the risk of events such as heart attacks and strokes.
In addition, both Ozempic and Victoza have been associated with healthy weight loss in some patients and are sometimes prescribed off-label for this purpose (meaning that they are not FDA-approved as weight loss drugs, but some healthcare professionals might prescribe them for weight loss).
Ozempic Side Effects
Like any prescription drug, Ozempic comes with the risk of side effects. While many are mild and many dissipate over time, others are more serious and must be monitored carefully.
Mild side effects of Ozempic include:
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, headaches, and dizziness.
While rare, serious side effects of Ozempic can include:
- Pancreatitis, kidney problems, gallbladder problems, severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), vision changes, severe allergic reactions, and the development of thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer.
If you have questions or concerns about the side effects you’re experiencing while taking Ozempic, contact your doctor immediately.
Victoza Side Effects
Victoza’s side effects are similar to those of Ozempic, with a few slight differences. As with Ozempic, most of Victoza’s side effects are mild and may clear up as your body adjusts to the drug over time. Symptoms of serious side effects should not be ignored and should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible.
Victoza’s mild side effects can include:
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, low blood sugar, headaches, tremors, and anxiety.
More serious Victoza side effects include:
- Pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, kidney problems, severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), severe allergic reactions, and the development of thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer.
Ozempic Vs. Other Drugs
Ozempic has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its efficacy, simple once-weekly injection, and reputation for facilitating healthy weight loss. To learn more about how Ozempic might stack up against other treatments, have a discussion with your physician. You can also look at some of Bisonpharmacy’s other posts comparing Ozempic to other medications:
Foods To Avoid on Ozempic & Victoza
Neither Ozempic nor Victoza are associated with any foods that must be avoided while taking them. That being said, both medications are often associated with gastrointestinal discomfort, which may be reduced by avoiding greasy, fried, spicy, or highly processed foods.
In addition, both Ozempic and Victoza are frequently prescribed alongside other Diabetes medications that may have their own food restrictions. Reactions to eating such restricted foods may be exacerbated by Ozempic or Victoza. It’s also a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before consuming alcohol while taking Ozempic or Victoza. Alcohol can raise blood sugar and should be consumed in moderation (if at all) while on these medications.
The Effectiveness of Ozempic & Victoza
Ozempic and Victoza are both designed to help manage blood sugar levels in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. They also help reduce the risks of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in patients with both Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, both medications have off-label reputations for weight loss.
But how effective are Ozempic and Victoza for managing blood sugar, reducing cardiovascular risks, and weight loss? And is one drug more effective than the other? Let’s take a look:
Managing Blood Sugar
Lowering and regulating blood sugar levels is the primary function of both Ozempic and Victoza. They achieve this outcome by stimulating the natural production and release of pancreatic insulin and preventing glucagon production in the liver.
While Ozempic and Victoza are both effective for managing blood sugar, a comparative study completed in 2020 indicated that Ozempic might be slightly more effective. That being said, more patients also suffered side effects from Ozempic than Victoza in the same study. More comparative research is needed.
Reducing Cardiovascular Risks
In terms of lowering cardiovascular risks, research has shown that both Ozempic and Victoza are equally effective. High blood sugar levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is why many patients suffer from Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular issues. GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic and Victoza are one of the preferred treatment options for patients with both conditions.
Ozempic vs. Victoza for Weight Loss
Ozempic (semaglutide) and Victoza (liraglutide) are both associated with weight loss, though neither drug has received FDA approval for this purpose. Many patients have been prescribed both drugs off-label for weight management, but what does the research say?
Several clinical trials have looked at the impact of semaglutide on weight loss and ultimately led to the approval of Wegovy (semaglutide) as a weight loss drug in 2021. (Wegovy and Ozempic are identical except for their dosage.) One 68-week trial where patients took a weekly 2.4 mg dose of semaglutide, found that 70%-80% of them lost at least 5% of their starting body weight. 69% lost more than 10% of their starting body weight, and some lost even more. Another study found that the mean change in body weight from baseline to week 68 was 14.9%.
The weight loss potential of liraglutide has also been extensively researched. A critical review of five randomized, placebo-controlled trials found that taking liraglutide reduced weight, on average, by between 9 – 13 lbs. A greater proportion of patients achieved between 5 and 10% weight loss when taking liraglutide than on the placebo.
Overall, the statistics for weight loss on Ozempic seem to be a bit more compelling than the statistics for Victoza. That being said, your doctor will be the best resource to help you determine whether or not one of these drugs may be the right choice to help you with long-term weight loss management.
It’s important to note that neither Ozempic nor Victoza work in isolation. For significant weight loss outcomes, both drugs must be complemented with a healthy, calorie-deficient diet and plenty of regular exercise.
Ozempic & Victoza Warnings
Both Ozempic and Victoza come with some serious warnings. In fact, they both have a boxed warning (sometimes referred to as a black box warning), which is the most severe warning mandated by the FDA. This is because both medications were associated with the development of thyroid cancer in animal studies. The associated risk to humans is unclear.
That being said, it’s recommended not to take Ozempic or Victoza if you have a personal or family history of Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome Type 2. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you have trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, or discover a lump in your neck while on Ozempic or Victoza.
Both drugs also come with the risk of pancreatitis, kidney or gallbladder problems, and severe allergic reactions. Ozempic comes with the risk of Diabetic retinopathy. In addition, neither drug should be taken during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, or when trying to conceive unless specifically advised by a doctor.
Ozempic and Victoza can both interact with other drugs in serious ways, so it’s important to disclose all medications (including natural treatments) to your doctor before starting to take either one.
Which Is Better?
Both Victoza and Ozempic are well-established drugs that help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. While Ozempic is only approved for adults, Victoza has been approved for children with Type 2 Diabetes as young as 10 years old. Whereas Ozempic is injected once weekly, Victoza is injected once per day. Though neither drug is approved for weight loss, research has shown that Ozempic may be slightly more effective in this realm (but may also be associated with more side effects).
Overall, neither drug is markedly better than the other. The right drug for you will depend on your conditions, medical history, and reasons for taking it. Only your doctor can help you to decide whether Ozempic or Victoza may be the better option for your particular circumstances.
In conclusion, both Ozempic and Victoza are name-brand drugs indicated for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. Both belonging to the drug class known as GLP-1 receptor agonists, they’re also effective at reducing the risk of major cardiovascular events in patients with Type 2 Diabetes and are associated with weight loss in some patients (though neither is approved for this purpose).
Only your doctor can determine which treatment option will be the right one for you.
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