Semaglutide vs...
There are other medicines available that are similar to Semaglutide, but what are the differences between them? We take a look at some other GLP-1 receptor agonists as well as metformin and explain the differences.
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This content was reviewed and approved for its accuracy on 14/04/2021 by Professor Frank Joseph

Photograph of Professor Frank Joseph, weight loss expert for myBMI

Semaglutide vs…

 

Semaglutide has been compared to many medications in its time, especially other GLP-1 receptor agonists, but what are the differences between them, and do they all do the same thing?

 

Are Semaglutide and Trulicity the same?

 

Semaglutide and Trulicity are closely related – both are injectable GLP-1 receptor agonists, but they don’t contain the same active medicine.

 

Trulicity contains Dulaglutide, where Semaglutide is the active ingredient in medications like Wegovy. 

 

Trulicity was approved for use in the UK for adults with type 2 diabetes in 2015, whereas Semaglutide wasn’t approved until a few years later.

 

Similarly to Semaglutide, Trulicity is injected once a week but Dulaglutide at the standard doses isn’t particularly comparable when it comes to efficacy for weight management in those with a BMI of over 30.

 

Trulicity is produced by Eli Lilly, whilst Semaglutide is manufactured by Novo Nordisk.

 

Are Semaglutide and Victoza the same?

 

Victoza is a brand name for daily injections of Liraglutide. Liraglutide is another GLP-1 receptor agonist that works in a similar way but isn’t as potent as Semaglutide.

 

However, Saxenda contains the same medication as Victoza and also comes as a daily injection.

 

The difference between Saxenda and Victoza comes down to the product license and what it can treat.

 

Victoza is a drug that’s reserved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, whilst Saxenda is the first GLP-1 receptor agonist to be approved for weight loss.

 

Whilst Semaglutide is similar to Victoza in the fact that it belongs to the same family of medicines and helps people to lose weight, there are some key differences between them.

 

For example, Semaglutide is injected once a week and Victoza is injected once a day.

 

In addition to this, Semaglutide has been shown to be more effective for weight loss in people with obesity than Liraglutide.

 

Whilst the two medicines are related and have similar side effects and benefits, they aren’t the same thing, and one shouldn’t be substituted for another. 

 

Despite the fact that these are two different medications, they shouldn’t be taken together due to the fact that they interact with each other and can put you at risk of experiencing severe side effects.

 

Are Semaglutide and Metformin the same?

 

Semaglutide and Metformin are different drugs that can both be used for the same purpose – to reduce blood glucose levels in those with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

 

However, they don’t work in the same way.

 

Metformin isn’t a GLP-1 receptor agonist like the other medicines in this article; instead, it belongs to a group of medicines called biguanides.

 

Metformin works by reducing the amount of sugar that the liver releases, as well as helping insulin to work better in the body.

 

It’s usually given to people with type 2 diabetes mellitus as a first-line treatment for controlling blood glucose (depending on how severe the symptoms and blood results are).

 

Semaglutide works in a different way to metformin, as we’ve talked about here, but both medicines help to reduce blood glucose levels.

 

Both medicines can be taken together, but you must tell your prescriber during your consultation if you’re already taking Metformin, as this can, in some circumstances, increase your risk of experiencing hypoglycaemia.

 

Not everyone that takes Metformin has diabetes – it can also be used in some cases to treat symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome or insulin resistance, which isn’t always caused by diabetes. 

 

In terms of weight management, there have been some reports of Metformin helping people to lose weight, but not with the kind of efficacy of certain GLP-1 receptor agonists.

 

Which is better Semaglutide or Trulicity?

 

It would be unfair to draw comparisons between these two medications in terms of which is better, as it completely depends on what you’re being prescribed either of them for.

 

However, when you compare studies carried out on the two medications, it would appear that the best drug for weight management out of Semaglutide and Dulaglutide (Trulicity) appears to be the former, with participants in the STEP program losing significantly more weight than those involved in any study with Dulaglutide.

 

In the case of type 2 diabetes mellitus, which medicine is best comes down to various factors that your diabetes physician or nurse would individualise for you.

 

Both are weekly injections, so it depends on which one you’re able to tolerate better or which device you might prefer.

 

At myBMI, we don’t currently offer Dulaglutide for weight management purposes, but our weekly injections have been proven to be incredibly effective when used in adults with a BMI of over 30 to help them to reduce their weight.  

 

Which is better Semaglutide or Victoza?

 

Again, Liraglutide and Semaglutide are two different medications, despite the fact that they work in a similar way. 

 

Victoza is injected once a day, where Semaglutide is only injected once a week, which is a deciding factor for many people, particularly as it’s advised to change the injection site for each dose.

 

Semaglutide has also shown itself to be more effective than Liraglutide for weight management, though plenty of people that struggle with obesity have found success with Liraglutide under the brand name Saxenda. 

 

The side effects of the two medicines are incredibly similar, with both tending to cause more gastrointestinal related symptoms above anything else.

 

However, it once again comes down to how well you tolerate each drug. Some people find that they’re better able to tolerate Semaglutide than Liraglutide and vice versa.

 

At the end of the day, all of these treatments depend on you, your current healthcare needs, and your own personal circumstances, and your prescriber will need to consider all three before they decide whether or not to prescribe a GLP-1 Receptor Agonist for you. 

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