Ozempic Shortage: Tirzepatide & Liraglutide as Alternatives for Weight Loss

While it's hard to pinpoint the exact reasons, many have attributed the shortage due to the recent popularity for its off-label use for for weight loss. Just on TikTok alone, the hashtags #ozempic and #ozempicweightloss have more than 300 million views and counting. The following article will explore and explain the differences in alternatives currently being used for weight loss.

April 2024 Update: We now offer ozempic and other glp-1 agonists for both weight loss and diabetes.

What is Ozempic

Ozempic is a brand name for the medication semaglutide, used primarily in the management of type 2 diabetes. Semaglutide functions as a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It works by increasing insulin production and reducing the amount of glucagon released by the liver, which helps to lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, it slows down gastric emptying, contributing to a decreased appetite and potential weight loss, a feature that has made it a subject of interest for weight management as well. In plain English, GLP-1 agonists helps you feel full after a meal.

Product monograph for Ozempic

Will Ozempic ever be available again?

Please see canada.ca for the latest information: “Novo Nordisk has advised Health Canada that the intermittent shortage of Ozempic that had been reported to end in October 2023 is now expected to last longer. Novo Nordisk expects intermittent shortages of the Ozempic 1 mg pen will last until March 31, 2024. It is also reporting intermittent shortages of their lower-dose pen (0.25/0.5 mg) until March 31, 2024. This is due to increased worldwide demand for the products and overall supply constraints.

What are some alternatives?

As it stands, there are five GLP-1 receptor agonists approved by Health Canada, only 2 of which have been approved for weight loss.


  • Dulaglutide (Trulicity): A once-weekly injection that improves glycemic control and reduces body weight.
  • Liraglutide (Victoza, Saxenda): A once-daily injection that improves glycemic control and reduces body weight. Saxenda is approved for weight management in adults with a BMI of 30 kg/m^2 or more, or 27 kg/m^2 or more with weight-related comorbidities.
  • Semaglutide (Ozempic, Rybelsus): A once-weekly injection (Ozempic) or a once-daily oral tablet (Rybelsus) that improves glycemic control and reduces body weight. Rybelsus is the first oral GLP-1 agonist approved in Canada.
  • Tirzepatide (Mounjaro): A once-weekly injection that improves glycemic control and reduces body weight.
  • Exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon): A twice-daily injection (Byetta) or a once-weekly injection (Bydureon) that improves glycemic control and reduces body weight.
  • Lixisenatide (Adlyxin, Soliqua): A once-daily injection that improves glycemic control and reduces body weight.

Weight Loss

The price will vary from one pharmacy to another, with Costco Pharmacy often being the most cost-effective choice.

  • Semaglutide (Wegovy): Approved by Health Canada but supply is currently limited. Ozempic is usually around $200 to $300 for a month's supply.
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda): $400 to $600 for a month's supply.
  • Tirzepatide (Zepbound): Approved by FDA but not by Health Canada. Mounjaro is usually around $300 to $500 for a month's supply.

What’s the difference between Ozempic & Rybelsus?

Ozempic and Rybelsus are both medications used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but they differ in their formulation, mode of administration, and some aspects of their usage. The primary difference being that Ozempic is administered as a subcutaneous injection, meaning it's injected under the skin, typically once a week whereas Rybelsus is taken orally, in the form of a tablet, and is the first GLP-1 receptor agonist that comes in a pill form. It's usually taken once daily, on an empty stomach.

What’s the difference between Ozempic & Wegovy?

Wegovy and Ozempic are both brand names for medications that contain the active ingredient semaglutide but are used for different purposes. Ozempic was originally developed for adults with type 2 diabetes whereas Wegovy is approved for weight management in adults. It's indicated for individuals who are either obese (with a body mass index, BMI, of 30 or greater) or overweight (BMI of 27 or greater) with at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. They are produced by the same company, Novo Nordisk.

The key difference lies in their intended use and dosing. While they contain the same active ingredient, the dosages and the specifics of how they are administered may differ to suit their respective purposes.

  • Ozempic: The dosage is typically lower, focusing on improving glycemic control in diabetes. It's usually started at a lower dose and gradually increased, mainly to minimize gastrointestinal side effects.
  • Wegovy: It has a higher dosage compared to Ozempic, as it's intended for weight loss. Wegovy is available in slightly higher doses of 2.4mg, compared to Ozempic, which is offered in doses of 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, and 2mg. The gradual increase in dosage over time is similar, primarily to allow the body to adjust to the medication and reduce side effects.

A preference for Wegovy over Ozempic is noted by some individuals due to the design that conceals the needle from view.

Which is better for weight loss? Tirzepatide, Liraglutide, or Semaglutide?

Semaglutide: It is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Clinical studies have shown that Semaglutide significantly reduces body weight by enhancing insulin secretion, suppressing appetite, and slowing gastric emptying. It is administered through subcutaneous injection.

Tirzepatide: This medication is a dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and GLP-1 receptor agonist. It not only enhances insulin secretion and suppresses appetite but also mimics the effects of GIP, potentially providing additional benefits in glucose control and weight reduction. Like Semaglutide, it is administered by subcutaneous injection.

Liraglutide: Also a GLP-1 receptor agonist, Liraglutide shares a similar mechanism of action with Semaglutide, but there are differences in their molecular structure and dosage. Liraglutide is effective in weight loss and glycemic control, and is also administered via subcutaneous injection.

In terms of effectiveness for weight loss:

  • Semaglutide has demonstrated substantial efficacy in weight reduction in clinical trials.
  • Tirzepatide, given its dual agonist action, may offer advantages over GLP-1 receptor agonists alone. Some studies have shown a slightly higher average weight loss compared to Semaglutide but direct comparative studies with Semaglutide or Liraglutide are limited.
  • Liraglutide has been proven effective for weight loss, but it may be less potent compared to Semaglutide based on available data.

It's important to note that the choice of medication depends on individual patient factors, including medical history, co-existing conditions, and specific health goals. Healthcare providers consider these factors when recommending a treatment plan.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider for personal health concerns.