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Semaglutide (Ozempic) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes: Overview

Created: ; Next update: 2022.


Semaglutide (trade name: Ozempic) has been approved in Germany since February 2018 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults who can't lower high blood sugar levels enough through exercise and diet alone. It can be combined with other blood-sugar-lowering drugs such as metformin, sulfonylurea or insulin, and is also an option if metformin isn't well tolerated.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects many different parts of the body. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still produces enough insulin at first, but the body’s cells gradually lose the ability to absorb and use the insulin. If the blood sugar levels can't be lowered enough by diet changes and exercise, medications are used to regulate them.

Semaglutide helps to prevent strong fluctuations in blood sugar levels and the unpleasant effects of high and low blood sugar. A further goal of this treatment is to prevent long-term complications that may arise if blood sugar levels are too high.


Semaglutide is injected under the skin once a week (with or without meals) using a pre-filled pen. The dose prescribed will depend on a number of factors, including previous blood-sugar-lowering treatment, blood sugar levels and the target blood sugar level. It has to be adjusted individually.

Other treatments

Type 2 diabetes can be treated with a number of different medicines, either alone or in combination with each other. These medicines include metformin, sulfonylurea and insulin.


In 2019, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) looked into the advantages and disadvantages of semaglutide compared with the standard treatments for people with type 2 diabetes.

But the manufacturer didn’t provide any suitable data with which to do the assessment.

More information

This information summarizes the main results of a review produced by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). The review was commissioned by the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) as part of the “early benefit assessment of medications.” On the basis of the review and the hearings received, the G-BA passed a resolution on the added benefit of semaglutide (Ozempic).


  • Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). Semaglutide (type 2 diabetes mellitus) – Benefit assessment according to §35a Social Code Book V. Dossier assessment; Commission A18-75. January 30, 2019. (IQWiG reports; Volume 721).
  • IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health care services.

    Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. We do not offer individual consultations.

    Our information is based on the results of good-quality studies. It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods.

© IQWiG (Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care)
Bookshelf ID: NBK538538


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