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25th August 2023

Ozempic vs Metformin: How Are These Medications Different?

Dr. Devan Patel, PharmD
Ozempic vs Metformin: How Are These Medications Different?

Ozempic and Metformin are popular diabetes medications often prescribed off-label for weight loss. Both medications target the regulation of blood sugar levels, but they differ in the way they act and the benefits they offer.

Read on to learn more about Ozempic vs. Metformin and the ways in which they differ.

 

Ozempic Vs. Metformin: 6 Key Differences

1. Drug Type

The first major difference between Ozempic and Metformin is their drug classification. 

Ozempic is a non-insulin medication that helps lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It belongs to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. 

Metformin belongs to a class of drugs known as biguanides. Metformin also lowers blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and glucose production in the liver. 


2. Mechanism of Action

The second key difference between Ozempic and Metformin is how they work. 

Ozempic works by mimicking the action of a naturally occurring hormone in the body, GLP-1. It stimulates the production of insulin, reduces the secretion of glucagon, and slows down the emptying of the stomach. 

Metformin, on the other hand, does not increase the production of insulin but improves its function in the body. It also decreases how much glucose is released into your bloodstream.


3. Dosage and Administration 

Ozempic is an injectable medication that is administered once a week while Metformin is administered orally 2-3 times per day with meals. 

Ozempic also has a longer half-life than Metformin, meaning it stays in the body longer. Hence, why you only need to inject the medication once a week vs. daily like Metformin. 

Ozempic’s once-weekly injection schedule is great for people who struggle with taking medications consistently. However, not everyone feels comfortable injecting themselves, which makes Metformin the more attractive choice. 

 

4. Benefits of Ozempic Vs. Metformin

While both medications help lower blood sugar and can be used to control diabetes, their benefits differ slightly. 

Besides its once-a-week convenient injection schedule, the major benefits of Ozempic are reduced weight and blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, Ozempic has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease.

Metformin is a first-line medication for people with type 2 diabetes. Its major benefit is its long-standing safety record and tolerability. Furthermore, Metformin has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease. It may also reduce the risk of some cancers, such as colorectal and breast cancer.

 

5. Effectiveness

While both medications are effective in managing blood sugar levels, they have some notable differences. One significant difference is that Ozempic has been found to be more effective for weight loss compared to metformin. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes who are overweight or obese.

Additionally, Ozempic has been shown to reduce appetite, which can further aid in weight loss efforts. Metformin, on the other hand, is not specifically indicated for weight loss but may still contribute to modest weight reduction in some individuals.

It's worth noting that the choice between Ozempic and metformin depends on various factors, including individual patient preferences, medical history, and overall treatment goals. A healthcare provider will consider these factors when determining the most suitable medication for a patient.


6. Side Effects

Like any other medication, Ozempic and Metformin can cause side effects. Generally, these side effects are mild and may clear on their own in time. 

The side effects of Ozempic and Metformin are similar and mostly consist of gastrointestinal symptoms. 

Some of the semaglutide side effects of taking Ozempic include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Injection site reactions (redness, swelling, or itching)

The side effects of Metformin can include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Metallic taste in mouth
  • Reduced vitamin B12 absorption
  • Lactic acidosis (a rare but serious condition)

Note that these lists are not exhaustive, and individual reactions may vary. It’s important to talk with your doctor for a comprehensive understanding of the side effects and risks associated with both medications. 


Ozempic Vs. Metformin: What Can You Do to Get Better Results?

Though there is no prescribed routine you must follow to reap the benefits of Ozempic or Metformin, there are lifestyle changes you can make to get better results. 

Following a healthy diet and exercise routine can aid in lowering your blood sugar, blood pressure, and helping you shed more weight. Getting plenty of sleep and drinking enough water can also help. 

Additionally, taking a supplement like PeptideVite may help reduce certain gastro side effects and support your Ozempic or Metformin journey.* PeptideVite is made from all-natural ingredients like ginger, magnesium, and B12 which have been researched for their potential benefits in reducing gastro symptoms and supporting metabolism.*

 

The Bottom Line

In summary, both Ozempic and Metformin are effective medications for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Ozempic offers the convenience of once-weekly administration and has been found to be more effective than Metformin in reducing HbA1c levels, body weight, and blood pressure. 

Metformin is a well-tolerated medication with a long safety record and has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Ultimately, the choice between Ozempic and Metformin should be based on your individual needs and preferences. As always, be sure to talk with your doctor about which medication they believe is right for you. 


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.