In today’s matchup we have two of the more popular diabetic medications facing off with one another: Ozempic vs. Metformin! Many people are familiar with Ozempic, as their catchy commercials and jingles seem to be every second advertisement appearing. However, the popularity of this medication stems from its results in weight-loss. Before this weight-loss phenomenon took over our television screens, it was used strictly for diabetics in managing their diabetes. Metformin is also another diabetic drug used by diabetics. Which brings us to today’s battle. So buckle up and let’s who wins between Ozempic vs. Metformin!
Before these two square off, lets discuss what diabetes is. Diabetes impairs the body’s function to regulate and use glucose as energy. If not managed in time, it could potentially lead to increased sugar in the bloodstream, and if left completely untreated, this chronic condition can detrimentally impact the immune, nervous and circulatory systems of the body.
Also termed adult-onset diabetes, this disease leads to insulin resistance and currently does not have a cure. It is suggested to maintain a regular diet and exercise plan to aid you in managing your blood glucose levels. However, if you are not able to manage the disease through diet and exercise, you may need insulin therapy or medication to manage diabetes and enable your body to utilize insulin effectively.
In this regard, Ozempic and Metformin are two of the medications prescribed for managing diabetes. These drugs are prescribed on their own or in combination with other diabetes medications. This article looks at the various aspects of Ozempic and Metformin and assesses which is better and if the two can be taken together.
Ozempic is a non-insulin injectable medicine that stimulates the body to produce more insulin and lowers glucagon secretion, thereby reducing the body’s blood glucose levels.
Ozempic is a brand name for the generic medicine semaglutide, which belongs to a medicine group termed GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide) receptors agonists. Semaglutide is also available in pill form through the brand Rybelsus.
What Does Ozempic Do?
The GLP-1 receptor agonists, found in Ozempic, mimic the behaviour of the naturally occurring hormone glucagon-like peptide and act to reduce the blood sugar levels through stimulating the body for increased insulin secretion. It also inhibits the liver’s glucose production level.
This results in the regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial in controlling diabetes. It is thus a non-insulin-based injectable option to regulate blood glucose levels and prevent the risk of hypoglycemia. Ozempic cannot be used to treat Type 1 Diabetes as it is not a substitute medication for insulin. As of late, Ozempic has become rather popular for weight-loss and has helped with the fight against obesity.
Ozempic is administered once a week through subcutaneous injections. It is also available in the form of two dosage pens with varying strengths. While both the pens contain 3mL or 1.5mL of the medication, both the pens provide different doses of Ozempic.
One pen provides 0.25 or 0.5mg per dose. If you are just beginning to use the medicine, you may begin with this pen. You can use this kind of pen four to six times.
However, if you need a higher dose to regulate the blood glucose level, you will need the other pen, which delivers 1 mg per injection. You can use this type of pen twice only.
It is important to consult your endocrinologist or healthcare supervisor to set a medication protocol.
As suggested earlier, when taking Ozempic for the first time, you will begin with 0.25mg once a week and continue this routine for four weeks, following which you may take 0.5mg once in a week for four weeks too.
After the four weeks, if the blood glucose is well within range, you may continue with the 0.5mg once in a week. However, if your blood glucose value is still not within range, you may need to increase your dose to 1mg in a week. It is important to take the injection on the same day each week. You can take it with or without a meal at any time of the day.
Patients who are not comfortable with injection pens, tend to use Rybelsus instead. However, Rybelsus and Ozempic do have their differences.
Metformin is the preferred first-line medication prescribed to individuals with Type 2 diabetes. It improves the body’s response to insulin and effectively reduces blood glucose levels, and lowers the amount of glucose that the body absorbs from the consumed food. According to studies, Metformin can lower the HbA1C levels by as much as 1.5%.
How Does Metformin Work?
Metformin is either used on its own to treat Type 2 diabetes or in combination with other medicines, including insulin. It belongs to a group of medicines called biguanides, which help in reducing the glucose amount absorbed from the food you eat and that is produced by the liver.
Additionally, Metformin also helps the body to respond better to insulin, which helps regulate the body’s blood sugar level.
It is important to consult your healthcare advisor before beginning your medication regimen. Metformin is available in the form of oral tablets of varying strengths, including 500mg, 850mg and 1000mg. The initial standard metformin protocol for Type 2 diabetes is, to begin with, 500mg twice a day to be taken with meals. Alternatively, a single tablet of 850mg can also be taken once a day. However, the correct dosage determination depends on the patient’s particular symptoms or overall medical history.
Ozempic vs. Metformin; Which is More Effective?
By now, you may have a general idea about how the two medications work. Ozempic is usually prescribed for treating Type 2 diabetes in individuals with conditions like heart failure or cardiovascular diseases or a high risk of developing heart disease.
Ozempic has become very popular in the weight-loss world (along with similar medications such as Trulicity) and individuals having trouble losing weight are being prescribed to take the medication. It can also aid in regulating blood sugar levels for individuals with kidney disorders.
Therefore, it may be very suitable for older age individuals, habitual smokers, or have high blood pressure or cholesterol issues.
When you start using Ozempic, your blood sugar level will begin to lower within the first week after you begin using it at the recommended regular dose, i.e., 0.2mg per dose. However, it is important to consider that it may take around eight weeks or more for Ozempic to take full effect. It is a long-lasting medicine that is administered once a week only.
It is recommended that you begin with the maintenance dose and continue it for four weeks so that you do not encounter significant side effects. However, this dose is may not be effective in lowering the blood sugar over the long term, so you may be advised to switch to a higher dose post the initial four weeks.
Similarly, Metformin is very effective and, in fact, the first line of medication prescribed to individuals to control their blood sugar levels. This oral diabetic medication works best when combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet regimen so individuals with Type 2 diabetes can improve their blood sugar levels.
However, both Ozempic and Metformin are not prescribed for Type 1 diabetes.
When the two medications are combined for a regime, they can significantly reduce the blood sugar and HbA1c levels and are more effective than any other anti-diabetic drug combined protocol.
Ozempic vs. Metformin; Risks and Side Effects
Some of the common side effects associated with Ozempic include nausea and vomiting, indigestion or heartburn, diarrhea, reduced appetite, low blood sugar, burping, constipation, and fatigue.
Some rarely occurring effects may include rash, changes in the vision, erratic heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, decreased urination or yellowing of eyes. If you notice any of these warning signs, consult your healthcare physician right away.
Ozempic comes with a warning indicating an increased risk of thyroid tumors. It can also cause damage to the pancreas and the eyes, also termed diabetic neuropathy.
On the other hand, Metformin may have side effects like headaches, nausea, indigestion and bloating, heartburn, unpleasant taste in the mouth, muscle pain, abdominal discomfort, nail changes, and skin flushing. Some rare but serious side effects include chest pain or rash.
Some of these symptoms indicate the risk of lactic acidosis, which implies an excessive buildup of lactic acid, which can be very dangerous for the body’s functions. Moreover, you should also avoid Metformin if you are at risk of kidney or cardiac failure.
If you face any of the complications mentioned above or the issues persist, you need to inform your physician immediately to seek immediate care.
Ozempic Side Effects
● Risk of Throid Tumors
Metformin Side Effects
● Muscle Pain
● Abdominal Discomfort
● Skin Flushing
Ozempic Vs. Metformin; Ease of Use
Another important factor we need to consider is the ease of use of both medications. As suggested earlier, you need to take Metformin once or twice a day with or without food or as advised by your healthcare supervisor. So, if you prefer oral tablets and can conveniently incorporate them into your lifestyle, Metformin is a better choice.
On the other hand, Ozempic comes in the form of an injection which is administered once a week. If you do not have any qualms about getting injected once a week, you can take Ozempic.
Ozempic and Metformin; Can I Combine Them Together?
When you consider the cost comparison of Ozempic and Metformin, Ozempic has a significantly higher annual cost than Metformin. Many Americans are purchasing their Ozempic online from Canada to avoid these financial burdens. Both medications are known to effectively regulate blood sugar in individuals with type 2 diabetes and also provide weight loss benefits.
In recent years, health experts have recommended a simultaneous combination therapy that entails the use of Metformin with an SGLT2 inhibitor or a GLP1 receptor agonist like Ozempic. If administered in individuals with newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes right from the outset, it can prove to be a potentially effective medication regimen.
Ozempic and Metformin have not been found to have any interactions and can thus enable a viable combination treatment protocol for effective blood glucose control.
At the same time, it is important to incorporate a healthy diet and regular exercise in your routine for obtaining optimal blood sugar levels. If you are thinking of using the two medications together, it is important to consult your healthcare physician to work out a treatment plan suited to your medical condition and history. Do not take any medications without consulting your healthcare advisor.