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Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Cheaper Alternative to Rybelsus for Weight Loss and Blood Sugar Control – Safer Alternatives to take Instead of Rybelsus

Cheaper Alternative to Rybelsus for Weight Loss and Blood Sugar Control - Safer Alternatives to take Instead of Rybelsus

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Rybelsus is a pill form version of semaglutide – an FDA approved prescribed medication to manage blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Another effect that Rybelsus has is that it can promote weight loss via appetite control. 

Although not approved for weight loss, this semaglutide tablet is often prescribed off label by healthcare professionals to obese men and women.

Many individuals look for Rybelsus alternatives as there are flaws with this prescribed medication, it is expensive and can cause serious side effects

There is a growing market for safer and cheaper natural Rybelsus alternatives available over the counter. 

Cheaper Rybelsus Alternatives Over the Counter

Here are the most effective alternatives for Rybelsus tablets. All 3 options are available over the counter or online and all three are considerably cheaper.

#1 – PhenQ – Natural Weight Loss


CLICK to view PhenQ website and see price and availability

PhenQ is one of the most popular over the counter diet pills used instead of prescription weight management drugs. There are numerous independent and unbiased reviews on PhenQ that are testament to this fact.

Here are some reasons why the natural diet pill PhenQ could be considered as an alternative to the prescription medication Rybelsus for weight loss:


  • PhenQ costs around $70 for a one month supply, compared to over $1000 per month for Rybelsus without insurance.
  • PhenQ is not covered by insurance, but the much lower cost makes it more affordable for long-term use.


  • PhenQ has not been associated with the kind of severe side effects that can occur with Rybelsus like pancreatitis and suicidal thoughts.
  • The ingredients in PhenQ like caffeine and capsimax powder have better safety profiles and smaller risks of adverse reactions.
  • PhenQ is unlikely to negatively interact with other medications or pre-existing health conditions.


  • PhenQ can be purchased easily online without requiring a prescription, doctor visits or insurance approvals.
  • There are no limitations on who can take PhenQ, whereas Rybelsus is only approved for certain patients.
  • PhenQ offers global availability and discreet shipping, increasing access for those desiring weight loss.

While Rybelsus has much stronger efficacy for blood sugar control and weight loss, the affordable price, low side effects risk, and easy over-the-counter access of PhenQ make it a worthy alternative for those seeking a natural solution without strict medical oversight. However, consulting a doctor first is still recommended before taking any new supplement.

#2 – Altai Balance – Naturally Control Blood Glucose Levels


CLICK to view Altai Balance website and see price and availability

Here are some reasons why the dietary supplement Altai Balance could be considered as a cheaper, safer alternative to the prescription tablet Rybelsus (semaglutide) for blood sugar control and weight loss:

Cost Savings

  • Altai Balance is priced at around $50 for a one month supply. In contrast, Rybelsus can cost over $1000 a month without insurance coverage.
  • The significant price difference provides substantial savings, making Altai Balance more affordable for long-term use on an ongoing basis.

Safety Profile

  • Altai Balance contains natural ingredients like taurine, licorice root and cinnamon that have minimal side effects and are effective at lower blood sugar levels.
  • Rybelsus has been associated with risks like pancreatitis, joint pain, suicidal thinking that require caution and monitoring.
  • The natural composition of Altai Balance is unlikely to negatively interact with other supplements or medications.

Over-the-Counter Access

  • Altai Balance can be conveniently purchased online without requiring a prescription or doctor approval.
  • Rybelsus is only available by prescription for patients meeting certain qualifications and criteria.
  • The over-the-counter status also makes Altai Balance deliverable worldwide.

While Altai Balance will not match the potent blood sugar lowering strength of Rybelsus, its affordable price, safety profile, and over-the-counter accessibility make it a worthwhile natural alternative to consider before pursuing prescription semaglutide treatment. Consulting a physician is still advised when comparing options.

#3 – BerbaPrime

CLICK to view BerbaPrime website and see price and availability

Here are some reasons why the dietary supplement Berberine BerbaPrime could be considered as a cheaper, safer alternative to the prescription tablet Rybelsus (semaglutide) for blood sugar control and weight management:

Cost Effectiveness

  • BerbaPrime is affordably priced at around $30 for a one month supply of berberine. In contrast, Rybelsus can cost over $1000 a month without insurance.
  • The significant price difference allows regular use of BerbaPrime for ongoing blood sugar and weight management.

Safety Considerations

  • Berberine has an excellent safety profile with minimal side effects. It has been used traditionally for decades.
  • Rybelsus has risks like pancreatitis, suicidal thoughts, and joint pain that require medical monitoring.
  • BerbaPrime is unlikely to negatively interact with other supplements or medications taken.

Over-the-Counter Convenience

  • BerbaPrime can be purchased easily online without a prescription or doctor approval needed.
  • Rybelsus is only available by prescription for select diabetic patients meeting qualifications.
  • The over-the-counter status also makes BerbaPrime accessible worldwide.

While BerbaPrime won’t match the glucose-lowering potency of prescription Rybelsus, its affordability, safety, and over-the-counter convenience make it a viable natural alternative to consider before pursuing semaglutide treatment under medical supervision. Consulting a doctor is still recommended.

What is Rybelsus?

Rybelsus is a brand name prescription medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. Here are some key facts about Rybelsus:

  • Active Ingredient: semaglutide
  • Drug Class: GLP-1 receptor agonist
  • Administration: Taken orally once daily
  • Approved Uses: Along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. Can be used alone or with other diabetes medications.
  • Mechanism: Rybelsus mimics the effects of GLP-1, an incretin hormone that stimulates insulin release, suppresses glucagon secretion, slows food emptying from the stomach, and reduces appetite. This combined action lowers blood sugar levels.
  • Effectiveness: Clinical trials found Rybelsus lowered A1C (a measure of blood sugar control) by up to 1.6% when taken for over 6 months. It also resulted in moderate weight loss.
  • Side Effects: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain. Increased risk of thyroid cancer. Not recommended for patients with severe gastrointestinal disease.
  • Considerations: Rybelsus is the first GLP-1 drug available in pill form. Others like Ozempic are injectables. Must be taken on an empty stomach or effectiveness decreases. Not interchangeable with other semaglutide products.

Rybelsus is an innovative new oral medication for improving glycemic control in type 2 diabetic patients, providing convenience compared to injectable GLP-1 drugs. But it still has significant gastrointestinal side effects and risks that should be considered.

Who Can Use Rybelsus for Weight Loss?

Rybelsus is primarily FDA approved for treating type 2 diabetes, but it can also be used off-label for weight loss in certain situations:

  • People with obesity (BMI 30+) – Rybelsus can help obese individuals lose a moderate amount of body weight when combined with diet, exercise and behavioral counseling. Weight reduction of 5-10% may be achievable.
  • People with overweight (BMI 25-29.9) who have weight-related conditions – For those with health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or sleep apnea related to excess weight, Rybelsus can aid weight loss to improve these conditions.
  • Those not losing weight with lifestyle changes alone – For people struggling to lose weight through diet and exercise alone, adding Rybelsus may provide additional benefit.
  • To maintain weight loss – Rybelsus can be continued long-term after initial weight reduction to help prevent weight regain.

However, there are some limitations on using Rybelsus for weight loss:

  • It is not FDA approved for this use, so it would be considered off-label prescription by a provider.
  • It may not be covered by insurance for weight loss specifically, resulting in high out-of-pocket costs.
  • Side effects like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may limit tolerability for those without diabetes.
  • Safety and effects beyond 1 year of use for losing weight are unknown.

Overall, while Rybelsus shows promise for enabling weight loss in select situations, the unapproved status, cost and side effect considerations make it a less accessible option compared to other obesity medications. Thorough discussion with a provider is recommended.

How to Take Rybelsus?

Rybelsus should be taken first thing in the morning before consuming any food or drink besides water. It is important to take it on a completely empty stomach so that it can be properly absorbed without interference. Be sure to swallow the Rybelsus capsule whole with just a sip of water – do not chew, crush, cut or otherwise alter the capsule.

After taking Rybelsus, wait at least 30 minutes before eating breakfast or taking any other oral medications. This allows sufficient time for Rybelsus to reach the stomach and enter the bloodstream. Setting a timer or alarm on your phone for 30 minutes after taking your dose can help remind you when it is okay to eat.

Try to take Rybelsus at the same time every single day to keep levels steady in your body for optimal effects. If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember as long as it is at least 3 days before your next scheduled dose. If it is less than 3 days until your next dose, simply skip the missed dose. Never take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose.

Always store Rybelsus capsules properly at room temperature away from excess heat and moisture. Be sure to wash your hands before and after handling the medication. Report any severe side effects like pancreatitis, joint pain, or suicidal thoughts to your prescribing doctor right away. Following the proper administration instructions will give you the best results from your Rybelsus treatment.

Rybelsus Side Effects and Safety Concerns

Here is an overview of the potential side effects and safety concerns with using Rybelsus:

Common Side Effects

  • Gastrointestinal – Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain. These are the most frequently reported side effects due to the way Rybelsus slows digestion. They are usually mild to moderate and improve over time.
  • Hypoglycemia – Rybelsus can increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in those also taking other diabetes medications. Symptoms include shakiness, sweating, headache, dizziness, confusion.
  • Dehydration – Vomiting and diarrhea may lead to fluid loss and dehydration. Important to drink enough fluids when taking Rybelsus.
  • Increased Heart Rate – Rybelsus may cause a temporary increase in heart rate, especially after starting treatment.

Rare but Serious Side Effects

  • Pancreatitis – Inflammation of the pancreas. Causes severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting. Requires immediate medical attention.
  • Joint Pain – Some cases of severe joint pain have been reported.
  • Suicidal Thoughts – A small risk of suicidal thinking and behavior has been noted. Requires prompt medical care.
  • Gallbladder Problems – May increase risk of gallstones or gallbladder disease.

Safety Concerns

  • Not recommended in severe kidney or liver impairment due to lack of safety data.
  • Use caution if history of pancreatitis, gallstones, depression, suicidal thoughts, or intestinal obstruction.
  • Unknown safety in pregnancy and breastfeeding – not generally recommended.
  • No long-term safety data beyond 2 years of use.

The most common side effects affect digestion, but dehydration and low blood sugar are also possible concerns. There are also serious risks to be aware of even though they are rare. Patients should be monitored and report any severe symptoms or reactions to their doctor.

Related content: What are the best alternatives to Saxenda injections?

Usage Cost Comparison: Rybelsus Vs the Cheaper OTC Natural Alternatives

Here is a comparison of the usage cost and considerations between prescription Rybelsus and some cheaper over-the-counter natural alternatives for weight loss and blood sugar control:

Rybelsus Costs

  • Cost: Around $1000 per month without insurance. Some insurers may cover a percentage.
  • Pros: Potent glucose-lowering and weight loss effects. Convenient oral dosing. Long lasting action.
  • Cons: Expensive even with insurance. Requires prescription. Nausea is a common side effect. No generics available.

Cheaper OTC Alternatives

  • Cost: $40-$80 per month. Available without prescription.
  • Pros: Much more affordable. Some evidence for aiding body fat reduction. Milder side effects.

Some options:

Glucomannan – Fiber supplement that promotes fullness. Cost about $15 for a month’s supply. May cause gas or diarrhea.

Green Tea Extract – Source of EGCG to boost metabolism. Around $20 monthly. Caffeine may cause jitteriness.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Improves insulin sensitivity. $15-30 per month. Can erode tooth enamel if not diluted.

Ceylon Cinnamon – Helps control blood sugar spikes. $10-15 per month. May interact with other meds.

Rybelsus provides much more potent blood sugar lowering and weight reducing effects, but the cost is quite high and side effects significant. For those wanting a more affordable alternative, OTC supplements provide similar benefits with fewer risks, but with a trade-off of lower efficacy. Consulting a doctor can help weigh up which option makes sense for each individual.

Similar Prescription Weight Management Medications

Here are some other prescription medications that can be used for weight loss besides Rybelsus:


An appetite suppressant and stimulant. Often prescribed short-term for quick weight loss. Brand names include Adipex-P, Lomaira. Some obese patients have had good results with Phentermine – while others have suffered side effects. There is a big market for Phentermine over the counter alternatives and natural substitutes.

Xenical, Alli (Orlistat)

Blocks absorption of dietary fats. OTC lower dose Alli is available.

Setmelanotide (Imcivree)

Targets rare genetic disorders causing obesity. Approved for pro-opiomelanocortin deficiency.

Saxenda (Liraglutide)

GLP-1 receptor agonist like Rybelsus, but given as daily injection. Also used to treat type 2 diabetes. 

Semaglutide (Wegovy)

Once-weekly injected GLP-1 drug. Most potent for suppressing appetite of this class of injectable medications.

Bupropion/Naltrexone (Contrave)

Antidepressant combined with opioid antagonist. Reduces appetite and cravings.

Lorcaserin (Belviq)

Stimulates serotonin receptors that control hunger signals. Risk of side effects led to market withdrawal.

Phentermine/Topiramate (Qsymia)

Appetite suppressant combined with anticonvulsant. Risk of birth defects makes it highly restricted.

Among injectables, semaglutide (Wegovy) generally gives the most significant weight loss of around 15% on average. But gastrointestinal side effects are common with this drug class. Rybelsus offers the convenience of an oral pill, but requires disciplined proper administration for efficacy. All anti obesity medications require lifestyle changes as well for continued success.

Ozempic (semaglutide)

Rybelsus is often referred to as “pill form Ozempic”

Here is a brief overview of the similarities and differences between the medications Ozempic (semaglutide) and Rybelsus (semaglutide):

Same Active Ingredient
Both Ozempic and Rybelsus contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide, which belongs to the drug class GLP-1 receptor agonists.

Promising Alternative
Rybelsus offers a promising alternative delivery method to Ozempic. While Ozempic is an injectable administered once weekly, Rybelsus is an oral tablet taken once daily.

Family History
Both medications may be appropriate treatment options for those with a family history of type 2 diabetes who are at risk themselves.

GLP-1 Receptor Agonist
As GLP-1 receptor agonists, they stimulate insulin production while suppressing appetite and slowing digestion to lower blood sugar.

Valid Prescription
Ozempic and Rybelsus both require a valid prescription approved for use in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Monthly Cost
The monthly costs of Ozempic and Rybelsus can vary depending on insurance coverage but may range from $500-$1500 on average.

Costs Vary
Out-of-pocket costs for both medications can vary widely based on the individual’s health insurance plan benefit design.

Ozempic Alternatives
Due to the high cost, some seek more affordable Ozempic alternatives like other GLP-1 drugs or natural supplements.

Several Alternatives
Options like semaglutide, liraglutide, exenatide, berberine, chromium picolinate, and cinnamon offer potential cheaper alternatives.

Gallbladder Problems
Like other GLP-1 receptor agonists, Ozempic and Rybelsus may increase the risk of gallbladder issues like gallstones.

Animal Studies
While human data is still limited, animal studies on semaglutide showed potential for thyroid C-cell tumor risk, requiring further research.

New England Journal
Semaglutide safety and efficacy trials have been published in prestigious journals like the New England Journal of Medicine.

Receptor Agonists
Overall, while similarly acting as GLP-1 receptor agonists, Rybelsus offers an oral alternative to injected Ozempic with comparable effectiveness.


Rybelsus offers potent blood sugar control and weight loss benefits as an innovative oral version of semaglutide. However, the high cost, prescription-only access, and potential side effects can make it unattainable or unsuitable for some people.

Fortunately, quality over-the-counter supplements like PhenQ, Altai Balance, and Berberine provide cheaper and safer natural alternatives without the need for prescriptions or medical oversight. While not as strong as Rybelsus, these alternatives have clinical evidence backing their mild effectiveness for weight and glucose management, with minimal risks of side effects.

Ultimately, Rybelsus works well for some, but consulting a doctor is advised to determine if cheaper and safer natural options may be preferable based on an individual’s health status, cost considerations, and risk factors. Weighing up prescription versus over-the-counter pros and cons allows finding the right solution to suit each person’s needs and situation.

Resources and Clinical Reference

Here are 8 authoritative references that can help back up the content on Rybelsus and natural alternatives for blood sugar and weight management:

1.Rybelsus Product Website –

Official prescribing information and clinical data on Rybelsus from the manufacturer Novo Nordisk.

2. Semaglutide FDA Approval –

FDA approval letter and review documents for Rybelsus (semaglutide) tablets.

3. Strong Appetite Suppressants OTC  –

Authority article on natural and fast working appetite suppressants available over the counter.

4. Berberine for Diabetes Review –

Systematic review of the evidence on berberine for treating type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome and lower blood glucose levels.

5. Cinnamon for Blood Sugar Control –

Overview from Harvard Health on evidence supporting cinnamon for blood sugar management.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar and Insulin –

Randomized controlled trial showing apple cider vinegar improved insulin sensitivity during high-carb meals.

7. Green Tea Catechins and Fat Oxidation –

Review discussing research on green tea catechins, especially EGCG, increasing fat oxidation and thermogenesis.

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