Rybelsus vs Metformin: What’s the Difference? All You Need To Know

Both these are medications for type-2 diabetes. Metformin is a name that is familiar to many and a medication that has been around for years. While Rybelsus is comparatively a new one. There are some ongoing talks about these two, as one is more efficient than the other and so on.

So, we thought of looking at both of them and to find out how they differ. In this article, let us look at the differences between these two.

What Is Rybelsus?

It is a prescription medication that has the approval of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). It is a brand-name drug and is used to fight against type 2 diabetes and regulate blood sugar levels.

Diabetic test

The key ingredient in Rybelsus is semaglutide. It is a GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide) receptor agonist and stimulates the production of insulin in the body after a meal. Rybelsus mimics the functions of the GLP-1 hormone. 

It comes as oral tablets and comes in different strengths such as in 3mg, 7 mg, and 14 mg.

What Is Metformin?

Metformin is a prescription medication that is approved by the FDA. It is a generic drug and a few of its major brand name versions are Fortamet and Glumetza. It helps to manage type 2 diabetes and optimize blood sugar levels.

It supports the body to restore its natural response to insulin. Metformin lowers the blood sugar absorption in the stomach and the intestines and also reduces the blood glucose that the liver produces. 

It comes as oral tablets in 2 different forms: IR tablet (oral immediate-release tablet) and ER tablet (oral extended-release tablet). The different strengths that it comes in are 500 mg, 850 mg, and 1000mg. 

Both these are oral medications and come in tablet form, are approved by the FDA, and have their own way of working. Now let us look at how they are different from each other. 

Rybelsus vs Metformin: What Is There To Know?

1. Who can use it?

Rybelsus is safe to be used by adults. 

Metformin can be used by adults and children who are 10 or above (children clinically diagnosed with type 2 diabetes)

2. Possible side effects

The possible side effects that one can have from these two are different. Let us look at what they are. 

  • Rybelsus side effects

The most commonly reported side effects of Rybelsus are nausea, vomiting, digestive and gas issues. There can also be diarrhea, constipation, and reduced appetite. Reports of weight loss, and abdominal pain. 

  • Rybelsus serious side effects 

Pancreatitis, acute kidney injury, high chances of thyroid cancer

  • Metformin side effects

The most common side effects reported from Metformin are nausea, vomiting, ingestion, and gas trouble. There are also reports of feeling weak and having abdominal pain. 

  • Metformin has serious side effects

Low blood sugar, low Vitamin B12 levels, lactic acidosis

3. Availability of variants 

Rybelsus: Lower cost generic not available 

Metformin: Lower-cost generic is available 

4. Available forms

Rybelsus: Available as oral tablets 

Metformin: Available as oral tablets, oral solutions, and oral extended-release tablet

5. Price 

Rybelsus: Price range varies between 700 USD and 1200 USD

Metformin: average price is 10 USD

Rybelsus or Metformin: Which Is Best?

It can not be said that one is better than the other one. What makes any one of them more efficient for the patient depends on a variety of factors. It is according to the kind of type 2 diabetes that the patient has and the type of treatment that is suitable for them. Your doctor will analyze the following factors and decide which one is better for you.

  • Health history
  • Type 2 diabetes family history
  • Other health conditions that the individual has
  • Lifestyle 
  • Food habits
  • Accessibility to insurance


Note that both these medications are not for weight loss and you are not to consume them for the sole purpose of weight loss. However, in some cases, doctors do prescribe these medications for the other purposes that io also serves. So if your blood sugar levels are normal or below normal, then taking any of these two can be unhealthy. Therefore, you are to consult with your doctor and discuss the possibilities before you start to take it. 


Q. Can you take Rybelsus without metformin?

These medications are not to be used with one another. Therefore, you can take Rybelsus without Metformin. 

Q. Have people lost weight on Rybelsus?

Yes, there have been reports of people losing weight after they started to use Rybelsus. In a clinical study, it was seen that an average user lost 8 pounds in 6 months. 

Q. Why am I not losing weight on metformin?

The diet choices can be the reason. If you are on a course of metformin but still taking sweets and sugary treats then you cannot expect a modest weight loss.

About the Author

Nicole Carter is a dedicated and passionate nutritionist, committed to helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through the power of proper nutrition. With a Bachelor's degree in Nutritional Science and years of practical experience.

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