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Mounjaro vs. Ozempic

Ozempic is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, mimicking essential gut hormones to enhance fullness and lower blood glucose. Mounjaro, a dual GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist, offers enhanced mechanisms of appetite and blood sugar control. This dual action could lead to more weight loss than medications solely targeting GLP-1.

Continue reading for a more detailed discussion

Mounjaro (tirzepatide) vs Ozempic (semaglutide): what is the difference?

Injectable weight loss drugs have become all the rage in the news and across social media—but, unlike most popular weight loss trends, this one has legs.

There are many drugs on the market now with strong evidence for helping people lose weight and keep it off, especially when combined with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Two such drugs—Mounjaro and Ozempic don’t yet have FDA approval as weight loss medications, but they’re often prescribed off-label for this purpose.

How do Mounjaro and Ozempic compare? What can you expect from these drugs? Keep reading to find out more:

Mounjaro (tirzepatide) and Ozempic (semaglutide) are both injectable medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with diet and exercise for controlling blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic is also approved for preventing cardiovascular events (like heart attack or stroke) in people who have both type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It’s important to mention that both drugs are not a type of insulin, and they don’t help treat type 1 diabetes. Instead, they help regulate blood sugar in other ways (more on that below).

While neither of these type 2 diabetes medications is approved (as of this writing) for weight loss, they’ve both proven effective at helping people with obesity or excess body weight lose weight. Because of this, many providers prescribe these drugs off-label to help with weight loss if they decide this is the best option for their patient.

These drugs have a lot in common, but how do they differ? The main distinction is they’re slightly different types of drugs:

  • Ozempic is a type of drug called a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (often called GLP-1s for short).

GLP-1 and GIP are two hormones called incretins, involved in many functions, including controlling how much insulin the pancreas releases into the blood when blood sugar levels spike (the reason these drugs treat type 2 diabetes), how quickly food moves through the digestive system, and the brain’s appetite signals. The body naturally activates these receptors when we eat, but only for a short burst.

Drugs like Mounjaro and Ozempic keep these receptors activated for much longer (up to a week), which prevents too much sugar from circulating in the blood (leading to lower blood sugar), slows down digestion, and tells the brain you’re satiated (keeping you fuller for longer). 

Ozempic vs. Mounjaro for weight loss

Studies show that both Ozempic and Mounjaro work well at helping people with obesity lose weight and sustain that weight loss for as long as they stay on the drug.

You’re probably wondering which of these weekly injections works better for weight reduction, though.

While both Ozempic and Mounjaro have led to significant weight loss in study overweight and obese participants (when combined with lifestyle changes), Mounjaro seems to offer more impressive weight loss results when taken at the highest available dose.

  • Studies on semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy; see Important Safety Information) show participants lost an average of up to 7% of their body weight in one year when they combined the weekly injection of 1mg with diet and exercise, outshining the placebo group by several percentage points.  A weekly dose of 2.4 mg of semaglutide has been shown to lead help people lose an average of 15% of body weight

  • With Mounjaro, more than half of the participants in one study lost over 20% of their body weight (on the highest dose — 15mg per week — of tirzepatide). This amount of weight loss is unparalleled by any weight loss intervention other than bariatric surgery. 

Of course, every person is going to respond differently, and the dose has a big impact. Just because Mounjaro shows better weight loss results in clinical trials doesn’t mean it’s the better drug for you. There are many factors in figuring out which one is best for you.  Your tolerance of one drug’s side effects might not be the same as the other’s, and cost can be a factor, too. Your healthcare provider will help you decide which is right for you.

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