A significant number of the US population and other countries suffer from varying degrees of diabetes, with type 2 diabetes being the most significant. Rybelsus and Ozempic are two popular drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for controlling blood sugar levels for adults who have type 2 diabetes. People often believe they are the same drug but with different names (similar to popular belief with Ozempic and Trulicity).
People who have this medical condition may not respond to other types of medication, but Ozempic and Rybelsus are adjudged to be efficacious, which may explain why they’ve become so popular. Due to their popularity, there has been an ongoing debate as to which of the two is the best for patients. In this article, we will review Rybelsus and Ozempic and share key information about them, their dosages, as well as other relevant details.
Are Rybelsus and Ozempic the Same Medication?
Rybelsus and Ozempic (semaglutide) are two medications that contain virtually the same agents. They are classified under diabetic medications, outside of insulin. Their incretin mimetic formulas are combined with healthy diets to keep blood sugar levels low. That is to say that they do not work in isolation but are effective when they are combined with nutritious meals in their proper proportions.
Adults with Type 2 diabetes suffer from spiking blood sugar levels, so the agents in both drugs act like GLP-1 receptors that activate the pancreas to increase insulin supply while also decreasing the release of glucagon. Both these natural agents act to lower sugar in the blood.
Origins of Rybelsus and Ozempic
Ozempic was the first-ever oral GLP – 1 receptor drug to be approved by the FDA in December 2017, while Rybelsus was approved in September 2019 for treating Type 2 diabetes. Then in January 2020, the Agency approved Rybelsus for limiting cardiovascular risks in diabetes patients. Victoza was the first GLP- drug to be approved by the FDA for adverse cardiovascular risks, but in recent times, it was reported that Rybelsus and Ozempic were both in clinical trials with the former for heart protection and the latter for safeguarding kidney health.
But contrary to popular opinion, most Type 2 sufferers are not initially given Rybelsus or Ozempic as a first drug but only after other diabetes drugs fail to reduce blood sugar. And as we pointed out in a previous paragraph, they work best when combined with a healthy diet; that is why doctors always inform their patients of the need to eat balanced diets low in starch and glucose.
Rybelsus vs. Ozempic: Application/Cost/Dosage
For starters, you should know that both names are only brand names and not the actual drug. Secondly, quantifying costs will depend on the unique needs of the user and what is required. Also, where you buy from also matters because their prices vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. While Rybelsus has a standard price of $8 per tablet, the average price for Ozempic is $1000. But you can buy Ozempic for as low as $200-$300 if you order it online through Insulin Outlet.
For the dosage, it depends on the current state of the patient and the doctor’s prescription. For extreme cases of injuries, infection or fevers, blood sugar levels may spike more than usual, so in such a case, the treatment plan may change.
As for the form and application, let us review the drugs individually.
Rybelsus Form and Application
Rybelsus is sold in yellow and white 3mg oval-shaped tablets, and it is taken once a day for 30 days. For serious cases, space may increase to 7mg or 24mg as the case may be depending on how the user responds to the drug. The best time to take Rybelsus is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, not long after you wake up. The tablet is swallowed whole with a tiny sip of water to swallow. After 30 minutes, you can then take in food or any other oral medication. In the case where you miss a dose, doctors will advise you to skip that day continue the following morning.
You are also not to take two doses at once; only one as two doses will drop sugar levels to dangerously low levels.
Ozempic Form and Application
Ozempic is a loaded injecting pen that is sold to users. The drug is digested by injecting the thighs with the needle connected to the pen. Besides the thighs, it can also be injected into the upper arm and abdomen. Ozempic comes in 2mg and 4mg pens, and the average user will need two injection pens every month depending on their unique requirements
Other Uses for Rybelsus and Ozempic
Besides controlling blood sugar, Ozempic is used to treat health diseases associated with spikes in blood sugar. Due to the lowering of sugar levels, the risks of strokes, heart attacks and heart disease are reduced. Rybelsus, on the other hand, is used to treat kidney-related risk factors but is not FDA approved for heart-related complications.
How Effective is Semaglutide (Rybelsus and Ozempic)?
Since they were approved for use, both drugs have been prescribed by experts, but they are yet to pass through different stages of clinical trials. But experts have found them to be quite effective in reducing blood sugar levels and even more effective when combined with good dieting and exercising.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), both are classified as GLP-1 agonist medications. This means that they are not effective on their own but have to be taken with other treatment options. This is why there is still some degree of controversy involving Rybelsus vs Ozempic. Users who maintain a strict diet and exercise regularly experience better results than others who don’t. So this best explains why two users may use the same drug and experience different outcomes.
Semaglutide Side Effects
These drugs have similar side effects but also different side effects. Let’s review them under mild and severe side effects.
Semaglutide Mild Side Effects
If you take semaglutide, you may experience the following side effects:
●Excess stomach gas
These mild side effects may last for a few days or even weeks, but if they continue, the side effects may become serious, and a doctor’s attention will be required.
Semaglutide Serious Side Effects
These are serious side effects a patient may experience with semaglutide:
●Hypoglycemia (if used with other diabetes drugs)
●Irritation of the pancreas
●Thyroid C-cell tumors
Some users may experience one or more of these side effects. If noticed, you should discontinue use immediately and contact your doctor immediately.
Rybelsus and Ozempic may contain the same agents, but they do not have the same prescription. Whole Rybelsus requires one 3mg tablet once a day for the first month and an increase to 7mg a day after that, but ozempic dosage is very different.
Once the user increases the Rybelsus dosage from 3mg to 7mg after the first 30 days, this dosage will be maintained for eye second cycle (2nd month), after which the doctor will review the patient and decide whether to increase the spare to 14mg a day or to maintain the 7mg routine.
Ozempic is loaded in a 0.25mg injection pen which is very potent. The user requires only one of these shots once a week or every two weeks, depending on the blood sugar level. After 4 weeks, the doctor may decide to increase the dose to 0.5mg weekly or even 1mg in serious cases.
Important Warnings of Rybelsus and Ozempic
It is ill-advised to take Rybelsus or Ozempic on your own without a doctor’s recommendation. Doing so may lead to an overdose or serious health complications, which may lead to death. Secondly, if you have pre-existing medical conditions, it is important that you take note of the side effects of Rybelsus and Ozempic. This is why it is important to consult a doctor first before using them.
Rybelsus and Ozempic have FDA-approved box warnings about side effects that doctors must consider before recommending them. Some of these box warnings include the risk of thyroid tumors. Avoid taking if you have a family history of throid tumors.
Patients in the following category are exposed to the side effects of Rybelsus and Ozempic:
●Existence of kidney problems
●History of pancreatitis
Lastly, in peculiar cases, the doctor may recommend switching from one to the other depending on the form you prefer. If you prefer oral medication, they may recommend Rybelsus, but if subcutaneous injections don’t scare you, you may be allowed to take Ozempic. Also, between Rybelsus vs Ozempic, the doctor may recommend Ozempic for heart disease caused by Type 2 diabetes complications but not Rybelsus.
Although Rybelsus and Ozempic share many similarities, it is important to understand their differences as well. It is easy to confuse diabetic medications together (such as Humulin and Humalog), as they may perform similar tasks. In order to know what is best for you, it is best to seek the advice from your healthcare professional.