Rybelsus is the tablet form of Wegovy. Rybelsus and Wegovy contain the same active ingredient (semaglutide) to lower hunger and support weight loss.
Rybelsus is only available in the UK for people living with type 2 diabetes and isn’t available off-label for weight loss.
Meanwhile, Wegovy is approved for weight loss and type 2 diabetes in the UK.
However, Novo Nordisk recently announced that it plans to seek approval from U.S. and European regulators for a higher dose of Rybelsus for weight loss.
Recent research has suggested that Rybelsus 50mg might be as effective as Wegovy on weight loss after one year without the need for a weekly injection.
What’s the difference between Wegovy and Rybelsus?
Wegovy and Rybelsus contain the same active ingredient called semaglutide.
Semaglutide is in a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists that mimic the hormone GLP-1 to lower hunger and blood sugar levels and support weight loss.
The main difference between Wegovy and Rybelsus is the form you take. Wegovy is a weekly injection, while Rybelsus is a weekly pill. They also have different dosing volumes and schedules.
Rybelsus and Wegovy dosing schedules:
Do you lose more weight on Wegovy or Rybelsus?
Wegovy leads to more weight loss than Rybelsus based on research on the currently available doses.
Research shows that Wegovy can support weight loss of around 16% after one year.
In the abovementioned trial, Wegovy achieved around 11% weight loss by 26 weeks, 6% more than Rybelsus.
Interestingly, researchers have been investigating higher doses of Rybelsus, up to 50mg per day, and found it can support weight loss of over 20% after 68 weeks.
So, if higher doses of Rybelsus are approved and come to market, Wegovy and Rybelsus would lead to similar weight loss results after one year.
But based on the currently available doses, Wegovy is a more effective weight-loss medication than Rybelsus.
It’s important to note that Rybelsus is only available for people living with type 2 diabetes in the UK as of December 2023. However, Rybelsus may be approved as a weight-loss medication in the future.
What are the disadvantages of oral semaglutide (Rybelsus)?
Rybelsus has a safety profile similar to Wegovy’s. The main side effects of the medication are GI-related, like nausea and constipation.
Research shows that 92% of participants taking Rybelsus reported experiencing an adverse GI-related side effect. With Wegovy, around 86% of participants will experience an adverse side effect at least once.
Another consideration is adherence. Remembering to take a tablet daily can be challenging, particularly if you live a busy lifestyle.
Whilst most people report preferring an oral medication like Rybelsus over an injectable medication like Wegovy, one study found that after receiving education on the different medications available, and how they were administered, as many participants were open to an injectable medication as an oral one.
Take home message
The recent innovations in GLP-1 medications are pretty remarkable and have caused quite a stir in the world of healthcare.
We’re in new territory where obesity and type 2 diabetes medications treat an underlying cause instead of merely treating the symptoms to support better management.
However, these drugs shouldn’t be seen as miracle cures; they’re not designed to be used for life.
They’ve been designed to be taken alongside lifestyle changes that will enable you to eventually come off the medications and maintain your lower weight for the long term.
GLP-1s are safe and effective for most people in the short to medium term, but we don’t have long-term data to be sure they’re not causing severe adverse effects elsewhere.
At Second Nature, we’re not against using medications to support people in making healthy changes and reducing their risk of chronic disease.
However, we don’t recommend using medications as a reason not to make healthy lifestyle changes. The causes of obesity and type 2 diabetes aren’t merely rooted in biology but also psychology and sociology.
With these medications, you may lose weight and reduce blood sugar levels. But will you be happier? Will you be more fulfilled? Will you be content with your life and social relationships?
For that, you may need to consider a lifestyle change. If that’s something you want to commit to alongside taking GLP-1 medications, Second Nature has launched a new Wegovy weight-loss programme.