Victoza vs. Ozempic: Cost, Side Effects, and Dosage

Explore a comparative guide on two common injectable weight loss medications, Victoza and Ozempic. Find out their differences, which one may be right for you, and a breakdown of cost, side effects, and more.

Table of Contents
  • Victoza Explained
  • Ozempic Explained
  • How Do GLP-1 Medications Help with Weight Loss?
  • Effectiveness of Victoza vs. Ozempic
  • Victoza and Ozempic Cost and Insurance Coverage
  • Victoza and Ozempic Dosage and Administration
  • Side Effects of Victoza and Ozempic
  • Key Takeaways

Victoza and Ozempic are two injectable medications approved by the FDA for type 2 diabetes.Both medications belong to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists (GLP-1), which regulate blood sugar and appetite to promote weight loss.

However, there are two key elements that differentiate them, their active ingredient and their dose frequency. The active ingredient in Victoza is liraglutide and it is administered once daily, while the active ingredient in Ozempic is semaglutide and it is administered once weekly.

While both of these ingredients are effective tools for weight loss, is there one that works better than the other? Here is a side-by-side comparison between the two medications to help you decide which one may be right for you.

Victoza Explained

Victroza is an FDA-approved medication to treat type 2 diabetes and is commonly used off-label to help with weight loss. The active ingredient in Victoza is liraglutide, which mimics the body’s naturally produced glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptors and results in various functions including insulin secretion and appetite suppression to help with weight loss.

Ozempic Explained

Like Victoza, Ozempic is also a GLP-1 medication FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes and is also commonly used off-label to help with weight loss. It works similarly to promote insulin secretion and suppress appetite to achieve drastic weight loss. Ozempic’s primary ingredient is semaglutide, a close cousin of liraglutide. 

How Do GLP-1 Medications Help with Weight Loss? 

Victoza and Ozempic both mimic the hormone known as GLP-1. This naturally produced hormone is usually secreted by the gut in response to food intake. GLP-1 has several important jobs. One is to stimulate insulin release from the pancreas, essential for blood sugar regulation. It also helps to regulate digestion by slowing down the rate at which the stomach empties itself. 

By mimicking the natural functions of GLP-1, both Victroza and Ozempic help regulate blood sugar and slow down the rate at which food is digested to feel fuller for longer(1).  Through this mechanism, Victoza and Ozempic both promote weight loss, which can improve overall health markers and reduce the risk of disease for patients who are obese or overweight.

Effectiveness of Victoza vs. Ozempic

There have been several large-scale studies to determine the safety and effectiveness of these medications. Clinical studies have confirmed that Victoza and Ozempic are highly effective in regulating blood sugar and aiding weight loss. As a result, they also offer many health benefits, including reducing cardiovascular risk. Ozempic, however, was associated with a higher level of weight loss, better glycemic control, and better patient tolerance.

Two well-known studies evaluated weight loss in patients with type 2 diabetes who were started on either liraglutide (Victoza) or semaglutide (Ozempic). The studies concluded that both GLP-1 medications reduced weight significantly compared to the placebo groups. 

One trial demonstrated an average of 6% weight loss in patients on liraglutide at 13 months (2). 

The other trial demonstrated on average of 9.6% weight loss in patients on semaglutide at approximately 16 months (3).

While semaglutide surpassed liraglutide in the average amount of weight loss, the trials showed that both GLP-1 treatments were associated with better blood sugar control, a reduction of dependence on other diabetes medications (i.e., metformin, sulfonylureas, etc.), and reduced blood pressure. 

Both medications have also been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular incidents in patients with pre-existing heart conditions. (4, 5, 6).

There are some cautionary warnings for both medications in certain cases. Studies have shown higher rates of Victoza being discontinued due to side effects, while Ozempic is better tolerated (7).

They both should be avoided in patients with a family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasias (MEN) 2A or 2B. Ozempic is generally safe for patients with kidney impairments, while Victoza should be used with caution. Always discuss preexisting health conditions with your provider before starting these medications.

Victoza vs Ozempic Health Outcomes

Victoza and Ozempic Cost and Insurance Coverage

According to the manufacturer Novo Nordisk, the list price for Ozempic is $935.77 for a one-month supply. The monthly list price for Victoza is $815.27 for a monthly supply. Insurance plans are more likely to cover Ozempic and savings cards are offered for patients who already have commercial insurance, bringing the cost down to $25 for the first 24 refills (10, 11).

One study evaluated the cost of medications with respect to the amount of weight lost and found that semaglutide offered significantly better value for money than liraglutide (12).

For those whose insurance plans do not offer coverage for weight loss medications, there are affordable options. The team at Mochi Health can help you find out if you qualify for savings on brand-name medications or provide safe and effective alternatives such as compounded semaglutide at just $175 per month.

Victoza and Ozempic Dosage and Administration


Victoza is FDA-approved to be used with diet and exercise in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. For weight management, Victoza can be used in addition to diet and exercise in patients with a BMI ≥30 or patients with a BMI ≥27 with one or more associated conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes.

It is administered daily via an injection pen into the belly, thigh, or upper arm. 

Starting dose: 0.6 mg per day for one week, then increase to 1.2 mg

Maintenance dose: 1.2 mg or 1.8 mg if needed additional glycemic control or weight loss. This will be dependent on each patient’s tolerance to the medication. For example, a doctor may recommend a more gradual increase for someone prone to nausea.


Ozempic is also FDA-approved to be used with diet and exercise in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. For weight management, Ozempic can be used in addition to diet and exercise with a BMI ≥30 or patients with a BMI ≥27 with one or more associated conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and especially in those with diagnosed cardiovascular disease (6). 

It is administered weekly via an injection pen into the belly, thigh, or upper arm. 

Starting dose: 0.25 mg for four weeks, then increase to 0.5 mg

Maintenance dose: 0.5 mg or if additional glycemic control or weight loss is needed, increase to 1 mg after four weeks. Dosage can be adjusted up to 2mg after another four weeks in needed. For patients who cannot tolerate this high dose, it is recommended to discontinue the medication if weight loss of less than 5% has not been achieved by 3 months (13).  

Of note, significant interactions between GLP-1 medications and other prescription medications may alter your personalized dosing plan.

Side Effects of Victoza and Ozempic

Side effects are often mild to moderate and most prominent when starting the medication. Your provider may suggest gradually increasing your dose to minimize unpleasant side effects. Rest assured, most side effects often improve after being on the medication for some time, after your body has adjusted

The most common side effects of any GLP-1 medication, including Victoza and Ozempic, include: 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache

While these symptoms can be unpleasant, they are generally not an indication to be alarmed.  GLP-1 medications can lead to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), however, which is a more serious risk. The risk of developing dangerously low blood sugar while on a GLP-1 is low, however, certain people are at increased risk depending on other factors such as their list of other medications (14). Nonetheless, it’s important to be aware of the risk. Signs you may be experiencing low blood sugar due to being on a GLP-1 medication include shaking, sweating, dizziness or light-headedness, nausea, fatigue, headache, anxiousness or irritability (15). 

There have been documented cases linking acute kidney injury, gallbladder disease, acute pancreatitis, and more to GLP-1 medications, though uncommon. If you experience severe or concerning side effects while on either of these medications, you must notify your doctor immediately. 

Key Takeaways

If you want to learn more about medication-assisted weight loss, Mochi Health has board-certified obesity medicine physicians who can offer expert guidance. Find out if you’re eligible for the program today and get access to 1-on-1 provider visits, nutrition consultations, 24/7 customer support, and medications delivered to your door.


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  2. Davies, M. J., Bergenstal, R., Bode, B., Kushner, R. F., Lewin, A., Skjøth, T. V., Andreasen, A. H., Jensen, C. B., DeFronzo, R. A., & NN8022-1922 Study Group (2015). Efficacy of Liraglutide for Weight Loss Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: The SCALE Diabetes Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA, 314(7), 687–699.
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  6. Marso, S. P., Bain, S. C., Consoli, A., Eliaschewitz, F. G., Jódar, E., Leiter, L. A., Lingvay, I., Rosenstock, J., Seufert, J., Warren, M. L., Woo, V., Hansen, O., Holst, A. G., Pettersson, J., Vilsbøll, T., & SUSTAIN-6 Investigators (2016). Semaglutide and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. The New England journal of medicine, 375(19), 1834–1844.
  7. Rubino, D. M., Greenway, F. L., Khalid, U., O'Neil, P. M., Rosenstock, J., Sørrig, R., Wadden, T. A., Wizert, A., Garvey, W. T., & STEP 8 Investigators (2022). Effect of Weekly Subcutaneous Semaglutide vs Daily Liraglutide on Body Weight in Adults With Overweight or Obesity Without Diabetes: The STEP 8 Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA, 327(2), 138–150.
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