Ozempic alternatives: which other diabetes medications can I take?

Ozempic is a prescription drug manufactured by Novo Nordisk Inc. It is used along with diet and exercise in adults to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Ozempic is a glucagon-like peptide 1/GLP-1 receptor agonist that helps with glycemic control by helping to lower blood sugar levels. The active ingredient in Ozempic is semaglutide which stimulates insulin secretion and lowers glucagon secretion, depending on your blood glucose level. Ozempic also lowers the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death in people with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Here, we will take a look at what Ozempic is, how to use it, and the alternatives to Ozempic available on the market.

How does Ozempic work?

Ozempic is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone that has multiple actions on glucose which is controlled by the GLP-1 receptors. By binding and activating these receptors, Ozempic lowers blood glucose by stimulating insulin secretion from the pancreas and reducing glucagon secretion. This means when your blood glucose is high, your body will release more insulin and less glucagon. Ozempic also slightly delays the time it takes your food to empty out of your stomach immediately after eating. This can help reduce the rate at which glucose circulates in your bloodstream.

What can you take instead of Ozempic?

  • Bydureon BCise (exenatide extended-release) – improves glycemic control in adults and children 10 years of age and older when used in combination with diet and exercise for type 2 diabetes
  • Byetta (exenatide) – in combination with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes
  • Trulicity (dulaglutide) – in combination with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes, and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in adults with type 2 diabetes and heart disease
  • Victoza (liraglutide) – Improves glycemic control in adults and children 10 years of age and older when used in combination with diet and exercise for type 2 diabetes, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular events in adults with type 2 diabetes and heart disease
  • Glucophage (metformin) – in combination with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults and children 10 years of age and older with type 2 diabetes
  • Glucophage XR (metformin extended-release) – in combination with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes
  • Invokana (canagliflozin) – in combination with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in adults with type 2 diabetes and heart disease, reduce the risk of end-stage kidney disease in adults with type 2 diabetes and diabetic nephropathy
  • Jardiance (empagliflozin) – in combination with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of cardiovascular death in adults with type 2 diabetes and heart disease, reduce the risk of cardiovascular death or hospitalization in adults with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction
  • Onglyza (saxagliptin) – in combination with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes
  • Rybelsus (semaglutide) – in combination with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes
  • Tradjenta (linagliptin) – in combination with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes

What is better Trulicity or Ozempic?

Ozempic is proven superior to Trulicity in A1C control and reduction, and for reducing weight in adults with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic is not approved for weight loss.

Trulicity is a diabetes drug approved for adults with type 2 diabetes with other risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.

RELATED: Ozempic vs Trulicity

Which is better Wegovy vs Ozempic?

These two drugs contain the same active ingredient, but Wegovy contains a higher dose of semaglutide and was manufactured to treat weight reduction and obesity. Ozempic was manufactured to treat type 2 diabetes.

RELATED: Wegovy vs Ozempic

Which is better Saxenda vs Ozempic?

The main difference between these two is that Ozempic is injected once weekly, and Saxenda must be used daily. Ozempic works for longer and doesn’t need to be used as often.

RELATED: Saxenda vs Ozempic

Is there an oral alternative to Ozempic?

Oral alternatives to Ozempic include:

  • Sulfonylureas such as Amaryl (glimepiride), Glucotrol (glipizide), Micronase (glyburide), Actos (pioglitazone)
  • Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors – Nesina (alogliptin)
  • Antihyperglycemics – Prandin (repaglinide), Starlix (nateglinide)
  • Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2) – Steglatro (ertugliflozin)
  • Glucovance (metformin/glyburide)
  • Invokamet (metformin/canagliflozin)
  • Kazano (metformin/alogliptin)
  • Synjardy (metformin/empagliflozin)
  • Xigduo XR (metformin/dapagliflozin)

Are there cheaper alternatives to Ozempic?

How much you pay for Ozempic or an alternative treatment will depend on how much you buy and the retailer you buy it from. The average monthly cost for Ozempic is $730 per month, a pack of 4 Trulicity injectable pens, 0.75 mg/0.5 ml will cost around $2,000, and Wegovy subcutaneous solution (0.25 mg/0.5 mL) usually costs $1,400 for 2 milliliters. How expensive each treatment is will depend on your monthly usage.

Are there natural alternatives to Ozempic?

Over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, or supplements may be an option to help you manage your blood sugar levels. However, there is a possibility of interactions and effects on blood sugar, that may cause your blood sugar to get too high or too low. The American Diabetes Association advises consulting a healthcare provider before taking any supplements.

Changes to your diet and lifestyle may also help manage and control your blood sugar levels. Speak to your doctor or dietitian for medical advice to find out what the best diet plan is for you. Generally, a healthy well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is the way to go. Exercise is a great way to manage your weight and your blood sugar levels too. Remember to get enough sleep, and try to reduce your stress levels too.

Bear in mind however that none of these lifestyle changes can replace your medication. Always discuss your options with your healthcare provider, especially if you have any concerns about your medication.

What are the side effects of Ozempic?

The most common side effects of Ozempic include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss

Some serious side effects include:

  • Increased risk of thyroid tumors (thyroid cancer)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diabetic retinopathy complications
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when used with insulin secretagogues or insulin
  • Acute kidney injury
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Allergic reactions

Your doctor will assess the benefits of using Ozempic against your risk of side effects. Patients are encouraged to report negative side effects or adverse reactions of Nalfon to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the best way to take Ozempic?

  • Ozempic is an injectable medication. Use Ozempic injections exactly as your healthcare provider prescribes it. Inject Ozempic under the skin as a subcutaneous injection into your stomach, thigh, or upper arm
  • Use Ozempic at any time of the day on the same day each week. You may change the day of the week you take this medication as long as your last dose was given 2 or more days before
  • If you miss a dose of Ozempic, take the missed dose as soon as you remember if it’s within 5 days of the missed dose. If more than 5 days have passed, skip the missed dose and take your next dose on the regularly scheduled day
  • Take Ozempic with or without food
  • Don’t mix insulin and Ozempic in the same injection. You may inject them both in the same area but not right next to each other
  • Rotate injection sites with each injection
  • Stay on your diet and exercise program while on Ozempic.
  • Discuss how to prevent, recognize and manage low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) with your healthcare professional
  • Do not share your Ozempic pen with other people to reduce your risk of infection
  • Store this medication in the refrigerator before its first use. After its first use, you can store it at a controlled room temperature or refrigerate it for 56 days. Keep the pen cap on when not in use. Ozempic should be stored away from heat, direct sunlight, and moisture
  • Your doctor may prescribe Ozempic to be used in addition to other diabetes medications, such as metformin or insulin

Other drugs may interact with Ozempic, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. You should read the full prescribing information and the medication guide provided with this medication and tell your healthcare provider about all of your medications including any supplements you are taking.

What is the generic for Ozempic?

Ozempic is the trademark brand name for semaglutide manufactured by Novo Nordisk. A generic version of Ozempic is not available. Generic drugs are generally cheaper than brand-name drugs, but you can still find Ozempic savings through NiceRx.

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Sources (3)

  1. Drugs.com - Ozempic

  2. FDA - highlights of prescribing information for Ozempic

  3. Medical News Today - Ozempic vs Trulicity

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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