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Rybelsus vs Ozempic: Differences and Similarities

<p>Rybelsus vs Ozempic: Differences and Similarities</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 4 min read

There are a multitude of prescription drugs designed to treat type 2 diabetes. Some diabetes drugs come in pill form, while others come as subcutaneous injections. Rybelsus and Ozempic are both drugs designed to treat type 2 diabetes. But how do they differ, and how are they alike?

According to Medical News Today, both Rybelsus and Ozempic consist of Semaglutide, a drug designed to control blood sugar. Semaglutide in itself is a glucagon-like peptide-1 or GLP-1 receptor agonist. 

As brand name drugs, both Rybelsus and Ozempic stabilize blood sugar. However, there is no generic form of either medication.

Both Rybelsus and Ozempic treat diabetes type 2 and aid in weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. While neither one of these was designed to facilitate weight loss alone, weight loss is a side effect that many patients seek. In fact, many people are taking these drugs to shed unwanted pounds. 


According to experts, Rybelsus is a prescription-only medication. It has been on the market for quite some time. Rybelsus facilitates weight loss by suppressing appetite. Rybelsus works by increasing the amount of insulin your body releases. It is intended for adults with type 2 diabetes. When combined with exercise and a healthy diet, Rybelsus is very effective. However, it should be taken 30 minutes before your first meal of each day.

Like other medications on the market, Rybelsus comes with side effects. Many side effects are mild and include the following:

  • Stomach pain

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

While many of Rybelsus’ side effects are mild, it does have serious side effects that require immediate medical attention. If you experience any of Rybelsus’ serious side effects, you should call your doctor immediately. If waiting for your doctor to return your call could result in serious consequences, go to your local emergency room. Alternatively, call 911 immediately. 

Some of Rybelsus’ serious side effects include the following:

  • Kidney problems

  • Changes in vision

  • Low blood sugar

  • Allergic reactions

  • Inflammation of the pancreas

However, some side effects may not make themselves visible until later in life. Because of this, it helps to be aware of Rybelsus’ serious and lifelong side effects. Rybelsus comes with a box warning stating that it may increase your risk of developing thyroid cancer. It may cause shortness of breath and trouble swallowing. Recent studies on rodents found that Rybelsus and medications like it do, in fact, cause thyroid cancer.

You should not take Rybelsus if you have a family history of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), or have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2.) 

But what is Ozempic exactly?


As a medication designed to treat type 2 diabetes, Ozempic has been touted for its superior abilities in stabilizing blood sugar and facilitating weight loss. According to The New York Times, many TikTok influencers, celebrities, and technology moguls have started taking it to shed pounds in short periods of time.

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017, Ozempic is administered as an injection. As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, the drug itself lowers postprandial blood glucose by stimulating the secretion of insulin. According to Good Rx Health, Ozempic is effective when it is combined with a healthy diet and exercise. 

Rybelsus versus Ozempic: The differences 

Rybelsus comes in the form of a tablet and is taken daily, while Ozempic is an injectable medication that is taken once per week. Ozempic should be taken on the same day each week. However, it can be taken at any time during that day, with or without food. You can change the day of the week that you take this medication. However, your next dose should be within 48 hours of your last dose.

You should take Rybelsus with about four ounces of water. Unlike Ozempic, you need to take Rybelsus 30 minutes prior to eating or drinking. Rybelsus should also be taken before you take any other medications for the day. Eating or drinking less than 30 minutes before taking Rybelsus can result in Rybelsus being less effective. 

Rybelsus comes in three different strengths. According to Medical News Today, Rybelsus comes in 3 milligram, 7 milligram, and 14 milligram tablets. As a rule, your doctor will start you out on the lowest dosage of 3 milligrams. As time goes by, your doctor may increase your dosage to 7 milligrams. If necessary, he or she may put you on the maximum dosage. However, that will depend on your situation and the results you wish to achieve.

Like many other drugs, Rybelsus is meant to be a long-term treatment for type 2 diabetes or weight loss and management. Ozempic is different in the sense that it is injected and must be administered into different parts of the body. While Rybelsus is taken orally by mouth, Ozempic must be injected into one of a few areas on the body. Ozempic can be injected into the stomach, upper arm, or the front of the thighs. Ozempic tend to be more expensive than Rybelsus.

Ozempic comes with one huge plus, when compared to Rybelsus. It has been found to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Ozempic should not be injected into veins or muscles. While you can inject Ozempic into the same area of the body as insulin, you should not mix these medications together. Do not inject them directly beside each other. 

Ozempic is different from Rybelsus in the sense that it comes in a lower starting dosage. The starting dose of Ozempic is 0.25 milligrams. After an initial four-week period, the dosage can be increased to 0.5 milligrams to 1 milligram. Before you start either of these medications, experts recommend that you try taking Metformin first.

The similarities

Rybelsus and Ozempic are very similar, because they both contain Semaglutide. Semaglutide is the active drug in both medications. The only difference is that these drugs come in different forms. Rybelsus and Ozempic are approved by the FDA for “different uses.” Neither Rybelsus nor Ozempic comes in generic form.  

Rybelsus and Ozempic are very similar in the way they treat type 2 diabetes and cause weight loss. Those who achieve positive results from Rybelsus can be switched to Ozempic, if necessary. Rybelsus and Ozempic are uniquely similar in the sense that they achieve the same goals: blood sugar control and weight loss. Both of these medications come from a class of drugs called incretin mimetics.    

Both of these drugs treat the same conditions and have similar effects, according to experts. The side effects of these drugs are very much the same and include vomiting, nausea, and constipation. Both of these medications can produce the same rare side effects. One rare side effect of Rybelsus and Ozempic is abdominal pain. Abdominal pain may be the result of kidney problems or pancreatitis. If you experience this side effect, contact your doctor as soon as possible. 

Ozempic and Rybelsus slow down gastric emptying, which means food moves through your system more slowly, resulting in feelings of satiety and fullness. Rybelsus is absorbed mainly into the stomach, and movement to the intestines is significantly delayed. Ozempic and Rybelsus are both efficient in their ability to stabilize blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Both drugs have been found to lower one’s A1c by roughly one percent.

Both of these medications have a black box warning for thyroid tumors. Some websites provide online care for medications, such as Rybelsus and Ozempic. Nu Image Medical can help you get Ozempic online. In doing so, you will be required to answer a few questions, speak with a health care provider, and obtain the care you require. 

Another similarity between Rybelsus and Ozempic is the fact that they produce similar gastrointestinal side effects. Both can cause an upset stomach. Both drugs are started with a small dose, which may be increased as you continue taking it. As a rule, GLP-1 medications are more effective in lowering blood sugar levels, when compared to other medications. Both of these drugs are effective when they are combined with a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.

Rybelsus is just as effective as other GLP-1 medications, and both drugs result in a similar reduction in hemoglobin A1c levels. “One study” in particular found that Rybelsus is as effective as other forms of Semaglutide. Rybelsus does not increase your risk of experiencing cardiovascular events. Much like Rybelsus, Ozempic has positive attributes. Ozempic can improve your heart health, resulting in a decreased risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have type 2 diabetes, this most likely comes as a benefit, especially when the condition is linked to adverse health problems. 

Both of these medications require that you implement a healthy diet and exercise for them to be effective. This means that you should consume fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats when taking these medications. When you do this, it becomes easier to achieve your health goals of stabilizing blood sugar and shedding unwanted pounds. 



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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.