Ozempic vs. Victoza: What’s the Difference?

Ozempic vs. Victoza: What’s the Difference?

Authored by Monique Deluge, / Medically Reviewed by Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS
Last Updated: January 11, 2022


Ozempic and Victoza are both brand-name medications prescribed for people with abnormally high blood sugar levels, such as those caused by type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Previously, healthcare providers recommended the use of oral medications combined with adequate diet and exercise to gain blood sugar control. More recently, however, these oral medications have been replaced by drugs injected under the skin.

Ozempic and Victoza are two injectable medications that have been successful in treating symptoms in patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Clinical trials have also revealed that these medications show promise for reducing severe risk factors associated with diabetes, such as heart disease. Unsure which medication is better for you? This article offers a comprehensive comparison of Ozempic and Victoza.

Essential diabetes FAQs

Symptoms of diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have similar symptoms but different causes and risk factors. Symptoms of both types include:

  • Extreme hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Fatigue and/or irritability
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow healing of cuts
  • Frequent skin or vaginal infections
  • Excess ketones in the urine (caused by the breakdown of fat and muscle when not enough insulin is produced)

The hemoglobin A1C test is a blood test for diagnosing diabetes and monitoring blood sugar control after starting treatment. This blood test can show your average blood sugar levels for the past two to three months and can help your doctor determine if they need to adjust your medication. Doctors prefer a level below 5.7%, and a patient is considered prediabetic if levels are between 5.7% and 6.4%. Those with numbers above 6.5% are considered diabetic and require treatment and lifestyle changes to lower blood sugar levels.

Diabetes risk factors and complications

A diabetes diagnosis does not require complete avoidance of sugar and other enjoyable foods. Under the guidance of a healthcare provider, one can achieve normal blood sugar levels with medication and a few lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise. If left untreated or managed improperly, however, diabetes carries an increased risk of serious complications, some of which can be fatal.

Diabetes may cause several complications:

  • Cardiovascular disease, such as coronary artery disease, is common among those with diabetes. Those with other chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, are at specially elevated risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage) can cause numbness, a tingling or burning sensation, or pain in the upper and lower limbs. Neuropathy usually affects arms and legs, but some men experience it as erectile dysfunction. Those with neuropathy may not receive normal pain signals to alert them to cuts or blisters, and if untreated, such injuries can become severely infected, possibly even requiring amputation.
  • Diabetes can cause significant damage to kidney tissue, impacting its ability to filter blood. This can lead to kidney failure and premature death if dialysis or a kidney transplant are unavailable.
  • Retinopathy, caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, can lead to blindness. People with high blood sugar commonly develop cataracts or glaucoma.
  • Diabetes can also cause myriad skin conditions, including dry skin, rashes, and bacterial or fungal infections.
  • Chronic dehydration is a regular complaint among people with diabetes. It is important that they drink plenty of water to improve kidney function and cell and skin health.

The effectiveness of Ozempic vs. Victoza

Similarities between Ozempic and Victoza

Both Ozempic and Victoza are injectable prescription drugs that belong to a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. This drug class helps people maintain normal blood sugar levels and promotes weight loss. Amazingly, Ozempic and Victoza have also been shown to reduce the risk of developing kidney and cardiovascular disease, which is important because diabetes puts people at increased risk of these comorbidities. Neither medication interacts with any food, and they can both be taken with or without food. Both medications may initially cause nausea or intestinal discomfort, but these symptoms usually subside after a few weeks. Both may be used alone or with other oral medications as approved by a physician. Some serious side effects include pancreatitis, kidney problems, low blood sugar, allergic reactions, and thyroid cancer.

Which is more effective, Ozempic or Victoza?

When paired with diet and exercise, both Ozempic and Victoza have been shown to be effective in keeping blood sugar within the normal range. Those taking Ozempic show average hemoglobin A1C decreases between 1.2% and 2.1%, while Victoza users show an average reduction between 0.8% and 1.5%. Clinical studies suggest that Ozempic is slightly more effective than Victoza at achieving lower blood sugar levels. However, Ozempic may be more likely to cause adverse effects.

Diabetes is a serious and common chronic condition. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in people with type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar damages the blood vessels and nerves that supply and control the heart, decreasing its ability to pump blood effectively. Diabetes is often accompanied by other chronic conditions, such as hypertension and kidney disease, that also increase the risk of heart disease. Both Ozempic and Victoza decrease the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. When choosing between Ozempic and Victoza, your doctor will consider factors such as your personal and medical history, lifestyle, and specific health needs.

Ozempic vs. Victoza – Cost, dosage, and methods of use

Which is cheaper, Ozempic or Victoza?

Ozempic and Victoza are more or less around the same high cost. Many Americans are unable to afford these medications without insurance coverage or other forms of financial assistance, such as coupons or savings cards. Prescription drug prices vary depending on factors such as dosage, patient location, pharmacy location, and whether the patient has an adequate health insurance plan. The Rx Advocates can make prescription drugs more affordable by helping you apply for patient assistance programs. These programs offered by pharmaceutical companies grant access to prescription medications at a fraction of their retail cost. Contact us today to find out if you qualify.

Ozempic and Victoza dosage and usage tips

Both Ozempic and Victoza are used subcutaneously (i.e., injected underneath the skin). However, there are a few differences in their dosing and scope of use. One’s dosage of these prescription drugs is decided by their healthcare provider and depends on their condition, associated symptoms, and whether they have other chronic illnesses.


  • Starting dose is 0.25 mg weekly
  • Maximum weekly dose is 2 mg
  • Available as a liquid solution within an injectable pen
  • Active ingredient is semaglutide
  • Not for use in the pediatric population


  • Starting dose is 0.6 mg once daily
  • Maximum daily dose is 1.8 mg
  • Active ingredient is liraglutide
  • Available as a liquid solution and injectable pen
  • Has been approved for children aged 10 and older

Ozempic and Victoza can both be injected in areas such as the abdomen, thigh, upper arm, and buttock, though the upper arm is reportedly the least painful. The key difference between these two prescription drugs that lower blood sugar is their injection frequency. Here are some tips on how to use these medications properly:

  • To avoid skin irritation, do not inject in the same area as the previous injection.
  • For Ozempic, inject the medication on the same day every week; for Victoza, inject at the same time every day.
  • Watch for color or consistency change in your medication before injecting. Ozempic and Victoza should be clear and colorless in appearance.
  • Wash your hands before injecting, and always use a new needle.
  • Use an alcohol swab to clean the area of injection.
  • For those using the injectable pen, after selecting your recommended dose, press the dose button until 0 mg lines up with the dose pointer. With the button still pressed and the needle still in your skin, wait six seconds to allow the full dose to be injected before removing the needle. Remove the needle and dispose of it appropriately.
  • Avoid sharing needles, as this may place you at increased risk for serious blood-borne infections.

Drug interactions of Ozempic and Victoza

Before starting any new treatment, you should inform your doctor of all the prescription drugs you’re taking, as certain drugs interfere with how others work. Here is a list of drugs interactions to be aware of:


Taking Ozempic with insulin and sulfonylureas can lead to potentially life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The other oral medications listed above may not be as effective if taken with Ozempic due to its slowing effect on gastric emptying. It is better to take these medications at least one hour before taking Ozempic.


If you are taking oral anticoagulation medication, its effectiveness will decrease if you start Victoza treatment. Taking glinides with Victoza can lead to a dangerous sudden drop in blood sugar, as medications in this drug class also trigger insulin release but work much faster than other oral diabetes medications. Because corticosteroids can cause an adverse effect of high blood sugar, one’s Victoza dosage may need to be increased when on such medications to achieve normal blood sugar levels.

Alternative medications to Ozempic and Victoza

Ozempic and Victoza are not for everyone, especially as these high-priced prescription drugs are not affordable for the average person. Fortunately, there is a wide range of medications to treat high blood sugar. Here are some other drugs to consider in consult with your healthcare provider:

Warnings and precautions of Ozempic and Victoza

Because every drug has side effects and risks, talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment. You should also do your own research using credible sources. You should avoid Ozempic and Victoza if you:

  • Have a family history of thyroid cancer or have been diagnosed with it. Ozempic and Victoza users may have an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer based on animal studies in similar medications. A strange lump in your neck, difficulty swallowing or breathing, and persistent hoarseness are signs of thyroid problems, so you should contact your doctor right away if you notice these symptoms.
  • Have a rare condition known as multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, as this disease can lead to thyroid cancer.
  • Are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant, as the effects of these medications on developing fetuses and breastfeeding babies are unknown. Clinical studies offer limited investigations and data.
  • Have had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in Ozempic or Victoza.
  • Have depression or suicidal tendencies, as these medications tend to worsen mental health conditions.

Side effects of Ozempic and Victoza

Because Ozempic and Victoza belong to the same drug class, their side effects are similar. Serious side effects are uncommon, and the drugs’ benefits typically outweigh the minor discomforts. Those using any diabetic medication should be closely monitored by their physician, who can determine if they should discontinue use. If you or a loved one is using prescription drugs to reduce blood sugar, it is good to know the side effects to watch for.

Common side effects of Ozempic and Victoza

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Headache
  • Decreased appetite
  • Injection site reactions, such as redness and swelling

These side effects usually subside in a few days or weeks and may not need medical attention. Contact your healthcare provider if these side effects become more severe or do not go away.

Serious side effects of Ozempic and Victoza

Seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which may manifest as dizziness, trembling, rapid heartbeat, and/or confusion
  • Pancreatitis, which may present as severe stomach pain that spreads to the back or chest, nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal swelling, and/or low blood pressure
  • Thyroid cancer/tumor, which may present as neck and throat pain and/or a lump on the throat
  • Gallbladder inflammation, which may cause severe pain in the right upper region of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and/or fever
  • Acute kidney injury, which can cause fatigue, irregular heartbeat, confusion, nausea, and/or vomiting

How to save money on your Ozempic or Victoza prescription

Struggling to access your monthly medications? Ozempic and Victoza are used to maintain normal blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Most people, however, cannot afford these medications without some form of financial assistance. The Rx Advocates is a drug advocacy program that helps people access their prescription drugs at affordable prices—whether or not they have insurance coverage. We work closely with US-based pharmaceutical companies that offer financial help in the form of patient assistance programs. These programs are long term and can get you access to your prescription medications at just $80–$110 monthly, depending on how many medications you need help with.

We have helped people save hundreds of dollars every month on Ozempic and Victoza as well as other medications. Contact us today to find out if you qualify!

  1. del Olmo-Garcia, M and Merino-Torres, J. (2023). GLP-1 Receptor Agonists and Cardiovascular Disease in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5902002/
  2. Wilson, A. (2023). Injection sites for Ozempic: where and how to inject Ozempic. Ro. https://ro.co/weight-loss/where-and-how-to-inject-ozempic/
  3. Brewer, A. (2023). Ozempic interactions: Alcohol, medications, and other factors. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/drugs-ozempic-interactions
  4. Weiser, P. (2023). Ozempic vs. Victoza: Which Is Better for Me? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/drugs/ozempic-vs-victoza
  5. Hoffman, S. (2023). Victoza vs. Ozempic: Similarities & Differences. Verywellhealth. https://www.verywellhealth.com/victoza-vs-ozempic-similarities-and-differences-7974022
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