Alternatives to Ozempic: Best Options for Optimal Health

Alternatives to Ozempic: Best Options for Optimal Health

Ozempic, also known as semaglutide, falls under the category of GLP-1 receptor agonists. The FDA approved it in 2017. There are also alternatives to Ozempic, which we cover in this post.

It’s an effective medication to reduce blood sugar levels to a healthy range and treat type 2 diabetes in adults. Moreover, it also mitigates the risk of heart attacks or strokes in people suffering from heart diseases or cardiovascular diseases.

Ozempic has also proven to be a weight-loss agent in individuals. A 2021 study showed that people who took semaglutide, with some lifestyle changes, experienced a mean 10-15% weight loss. 

Ozempic works through several mechanisms. It decreases glucagon release from the liver, promotes insulin secretion from the pancreas and slows down food digestion.

It comes in pre-filled pens, injectable in the thighs, upper arms, or abdomen once a week. Ozempic, however, is not an all-in-one solution for everyone. It comes with a hefty price tag. Approximately a one-month supply can cost you around $800-$1000. If you want to explore cheaper and natural alternatives to ozempic, read on!

A person holding an injection.

Top 11 Medical Alternatives to Ozempic

Before we dive deeper, there are a couple of crucial things to consider. FDA requires GLP-1 receptor medications to issue a black-box warning as they carry the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. Before taking any GLP-1 receptor agonists, it’s important to seek the expertise of a doctor.

Let’s look at some of the top 11 medical alternatives to ozempic.

Exenatide – Bydureon and Byetta

Bydureon and Byetta are injectable medications that assist individuals with type 2 diabetes in regulating their blood glucose levels.

Here are the properties of these two types, along with their dosage:

  • Byetta: It’s an immediate-release formulation, taken twice daily, up to one hour before meals. 
  • Bydureon: This is an extended-release version, taken once a week, following a dosage frequency similar to Ozempic.

Individuals should take Bydureon and Byetta in conjunction with dietary changes and weight loss exercises. Doctors prescribe exenatide as a standalone treatment or combine it with other diabetes medications, such as metformin.

Side Effects: Some common side effects include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

Liraglutide – Victoza and Saxenda

Liraglutide is a once-daily injection used to regulate blood glucose levels in children over ten years. It has two types, Victoza and Saxenda.

Victoza works best for treating type 2 diabetes. It also reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Saxenda is best suited for individuals seeking to burn excess body fat.

Side Effects: Some common side effects include diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting, nausea, and increased heart rate.

Dulaglutide – Trulicity

Dulaglutide is another GLP-1 receptor agonist for adults with type 2 diabetes, taken once every week.

Dulaglutide actively increases insulin secretion and lowers glucagon, a hormone released from the pancreas. A trulicity study revealed that 50-60% of individuals who took four doses of trulicity reached an AIC level below 7%.

You can take Trulicity as a standalone medicine or with other diabetic drugs such as insulin and metformin.

Side Effects: Typically, people experience nauseated feelings, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Mounjaro – A Powerful Alternative to Ozempic

Mounjaro is a dual GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist, which makes it a superior alternative to ozempic.

It triggers glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and GLP-1 pathways to ensure your sugar levels remain optimal. This makes it a much more effective option for type 2 diabetic patients. Additionally, it can act as a great weight-loss agent. A 2022 study showed that many individuals lost over 20% weight after taking GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonists.

However, it’s important to note that Mounjaro doesn’t have any official certification from the FDA as a weight loss medication.

Side Effects: People typically experience diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and nausea.

Albiglutide – Tanzeum and Eperzan

Tanzeum and Eperzan are once-a-week prescription pens. They are GLP-1 agonists used to normalize blood sugar levels.

Tanzeum is safe for type 2 diabetic adults. This was concluded after it was clinically tested.  You can eat it separately or combined with other diabetic medications like thiazolidinedione and metformin.

Side Effects: Some common side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. In some cases, it led to upper respiratory tract infection.

DPP-4 inhibitors – Oral Alternatives to Ozempic

DPP-4 inhibitors, also referred to as gliptins, are oral alternatives to ozempic. They optimize blood sugar levels and diagnose people with type 2 diabetes.

Some of the most well-known examples include:

  • Sitagliptin (Januvia)
  • Linagliptin (Tradjenta)
  • Saxagliptin (Onglyza)
  • Alogliptin (Nesina)

DPP-4 inhibitors involve the inhibition of the DPP-4 enzyme, which prolongs the activity of incretin hormones. This, in turn, enhances insulin secretion in response to glucose stimulation. The enzyme also stops glucagon secretion from the pancreas, which improves blood sugar levels.

A recent scientific study showed that DPP-4 inhibitors can result in a reduction of A1C levels by approximately 0.5-0.8%. Although this reduction is comparatively lower than the 1-1.9% with semaglutide, it’s still an impressive figure for glycemic control.

Side Effects: Individuals generally experience mild headaches, upper respiratory tract infections, sore throat and gastrointestinal problems like stomach pain and nausea.

SGLT2 Inhibitors – Prescriptive Alternatives to Ozempic

SGLT2 inhibitors(an abbreviation for sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors) are prescriptive alternatives to ozempic. People also commonly refer to SGLT2 inhibitors as gliflozins.

Prominent examples of gliflozins include:

  • Dapagliflozin (Farxiga)
  • Empagliflozin (Jardiance)
  • Canagliflozin (Invokana)

SGLT2 inhibitors actively block the GLT2 protein found in the kidneys to impede the reabsorption of glucose. This increases the excretion of glucose in the urine, which ultimately helps you flush out the glucose in your body.

In a recent study, SGLT2 inhibitors lowered AIC levels by up to 1%, making it an excellent alternative to ozempic.

Side Effects: Some common side effects include urinary tract infections, increased thirst, acute kidney injury, hypotension, and bone fractures.

Metformin – A Cheaper Alternative to Ozempic

Metformin, a much cheaper alternative to ozempic, is widely prescribed as the first treatment option for type 2 diabetes. It costs only $10-$20 per month, which statistically saves you an average of over $10.5k per year.

Metformin reduces glucose production in the liver and enhances insulin sensitivity in muscle cells. This leads to decreased blood sugar levels.

Scientific research shows that metformin can lead to a reduction of 1% in A1C levels. However, metformin carries a lower risk of hypoglycemia than semaglutide and other GLP-1 receptor agonists.

Side Effects: People generally experience gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea. Whilst rare, some people have also developed a severe condition known as lactic acidosis.

Rybelsus – Oral Alternatives to Ozempic

Rybelsus is a medication that contains semaglutide, similar to Ozempic.

However, unlike Ozempic, Rybelsus is an oral alternative to ozempic. For individuals who tolerate Ozempic effectively but prefer an oral medication over injections, Rybelsus may be a suitable alternative.

Rybelsus enhances blood sugar control for individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The recommended dosage for Rybelsus is 7 to 14 mg, taken orally once a day. You should take the medication 30 minutes before consuming the first meal and beverage.

Side Effects: Some common side effects include nausea, vomiting, bloating, reflux, decreased appetite, and indigestion

Phentermine – Better Weight Loss Alternatives to Ozempic

Phentermine is a widely used ingredient found in numerous appetite suppressants available on the market. It serves as a better weight loss alternative to ozempic, particularly suitable for individuals who prefer over-the-counter medications.

Phentermine aids in weight management by regulating neurotransmitter levels in the body and suppressing appetite. Phentermine, often combined with topiramate, promotes feelings of fullness and helps regulate brain electrical activity.

Phentermine-topiramate products are typically available in various strengths to cater to different needs.

Side Effects: People tend to experience dry mouth, insomnia, constipation, diarrhea, behavioral changes and high blood pressure.

Sulfonylureas – Oral Alternatives to Ozempic

Sulfonylureas is another oral alternative to ozempic. It functions by stimulating insulin secretion.  

Commonly prescribed sulfonylureas include glipizide, glyburide, and glimepiride. While you can use sulfonylureas in combination with insulin, the blend elevates the risk of experiencing hypoglycemia.

Sulfonylureas do not require injections, making it a convenient alternative for type 2 diabetic patients who prefer to avoid shots.

Side Effects: Some common side effects include dark-colored urine, hunger, upset stomach, weight gain, dizziness, sweating, and nervousness.

An aloe vera plant.

Natural alternatives to ozempic have no side effects and are considerably cheaper than pharmaceutical medicines.

Many natural supplements lower blood sugar levels and offer numerous health benefits. However, they might not be the most clinically effective.

Berberine –  A Classic Compound-Based Alternative to Ozempic

Berberine is a natural compound-based alternative to ozempic, derived from plants such as the Oregon grape, Phellodendron, and European barberry.  Berberine aids in the management of high blood sugar levels and promotes insulin resistance.

A study conducted on individuals with metabolic syndrome demonstrated that berberine consumption enhanced insulin resistance. Additionally, it led to waist circumference reductions. Since waist circumference has a link with insulin resistance, the reduction indicates lower blood sugar levels and enhanced insulin sensitivity.

Another study found berberine as effective as metformin in improving blood glucose metabolism.

Aloe Vera – A Plant-Based Alternative to Ozempic

Aloe Vera is a medicinal plant well-known for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

It also serves as an excellent plant-based alternative to ozempic in lowering blood sugar levels. People often consume aloe vera in capsule form. A systematic review of aloe vera showed that it regulates cholesterol levels, reduces excess body fat, and lowers insulin resistance.

Magnesium – An Elementary Alternative to Ozempic

Magnesium is another natural ozempic alternative that has undergone extensive research for its role in blood sugar metabolism.

Insulin resistance, a key factor in type 2 diabetes, occurs when the body fails to utilize insulin. Interestingly, individuals with diabetes often exhibit lower magnesium levels in their bloodstream than those without the condition.

This signifies that magnesium plays a crucial role in the development of diabetes. So, by taking magnesium supplements, you can enhance insulin sensitivity and thereby regulate blood sugar levels.

Likewise, magnesium also contributes to regulating metabolism and supporting healthy muscle function, which are vital components of weight control.

Someone holding prescription medication pills.

What Is the Best Alternative to Ozempic?

There’s no specific answer when it comes to asking, “What is the best alternative to ozempic?” It depends on an individual’s preference and purpose.

For example, if your primary aim is to lose weight, Wegovy should be your top choice. It’s an injectable prescription medicine used for individuals above the age of 12.

Unlike ozempic, Wegovy is FDA-approved as a weight-loss injection. Moreover, it contains more significant levels of semaglutide, so in theory, it’s likely to produce superior results than ozempic. However, you should always seek a doctor’s approval regarding the correct dosage.

If you’re a type 2 diabetic patient, perhaps the best ozempic alternative could be Mounjaro. It’s more effective than ozempic in reducing hemoglobin A1C as it triggers both GIP and GLP-1 receptors.

A small Lady Justice figure on a table next to a gavel.

Is There a Generic Alternative to Ozempic?

A generic version of any medicine becomes available only when the patent protection of that brand expires. Generic alternatives are very similar to their original counterparts in terms of dosage and strength. So, is there a generic alternative to ozempic? The answer is no.

Patent laws vary by country and governmental policies. According to sources, December 5, 2031 is the earliest expected release date. Generic versions are significantly cheaper, meaning a larger population can treat type 2 diabetes.

A woman with her head down on a desk full of books.

Side Effects of Using Ozempic Weight Loss Medication

Typically, people experience the following side effects:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting

Although rare, people have also experienced fatal side effects, which include the following:

  • Gallbladder disease: Pale skin and yellowing of the eyes, pain in the stomach, high pulse, pale stools, and fever
  • Kidney damage: swelling of legs and ankles, less frequent urination
  • Hypoglycemia: Feeling of dizziness, cold and sweaty hands.

Some people also experience an allergic reaction to ozempic, which includes the following symptoms:

  • Swollen face, mouth, or throat
  • Rash and itchiness 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty swallowing

Wrapping Up: Alternatives to Ozempic

GLP-1 receptor agonists are highly effective alternatives to semaglutide. However, it’s worth mentioning that the effectiveness and side effects of each medication may vary from person to person. 

To make informed decisions about your diabetes management, you must consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide personalized guidance and recommendations based on your specific needs and medical history.

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