You’ve Heard of Ozempic, but Do You Know about Mounjaro?

If you've struggled with weight loss, consider talking to your doctor about Mounjaro. It's showing great potential as a weight-loss aid.
Feet on scale or weight loss

I was on a girls trip for a weekend when I first heard about Mounjaro. Two of the gals who were with us showed up much thinner than the last time they’d been around the gang. One weighed 50 pounds less, and the other had lost 30 pounds. After telling them how great they looked, of course, we all wanted to know how they made it happen. They both shared that they’d been getting Mounjaro shots for a few months and made it clear it was the easiest path to weight loss they’d ever tried. They explained that the medicine simply zapped their appetite, and because they just didn’t want to eat as much anymore, the weight was melting off.

Yeah, it was that simple. And, of course, I wanted to know all the details. So I asked the questions, did the research, joined a Facebook group packed with information about it (along with a Reddit chain or two), and decided to give it a whirl. I’m one month in and down 16 pounds so far. And they weren’t kidding when they said it was the easiest way to lose weight ever. At this point, with my limited experience on the med, I see it as a total game changer not just for me but for anyone dealing with obesity in this country. 

However, before you head to your doctor to ask for a prescription, you should know a few things about it.

The 411 on Mounjaro

Woman walking with hand weights

Mounjaro is actually the brand name for the drug called tirzepatide. Eli Lilly makes it, and it’s an injectable medication you give yourself once a week. It works by making you feel fuller and suppressing your appetite. It changes digestion, adjusting the rate at which your stomach empties. According to its website, “Mounjaro is an injectable prescription medicine that is used along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar (glucose) in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.”

Mounjaro was first approved in May of 2022 for diabetes and is part of the same class of drugs, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, as another FDA-approved weight loss drug called semaglutide, also known as Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus. Mounjaro hasn’t been approved for weight loss yet, though it’s been fast-tracked and could be approved by the FDA before the end of the year. Clinical trials have shown people who do not have diabetes – but do have elevated body mass indexes (BMI) – lost considerable weight when they used Mounjaro. Some say it works even better than the semaglutides.

This is called a dual-agonist, which activates two receptors at the same time. Semaglutide is a single-receptor agonist, and the double approach appears to be more effective. The receptors stimulate hormones that control blood sugar levels and reduce appetite, leading to weight loss. FDA regulators say clinical trials on Mounjaro showed the average weight loss with the maximum recommended dose (15 milligrams) resulted in patients losing 12 pounds more (on average) than those who used semaglutide. That dose of 15 milligrams led to participants losing as much as 21% of their body weight. 

How Does it Work?

Patients are typically started on the lowest dose, 2.5 milligrams, and that is the dosage where I’ve lost 16 pounds so far. You can go up in dosage after the first month or stay on the same amount as long as you’re seeing results. I’m part of a Facebook group of patients who have tried both options, with results being as individual as the person. Some say the higher dosage gives them more side effects. I can’t speak to that yet since I’m staying with the dosage that has worked for me so far.

The exciting part is that study participants not only lost weight but also made a dent in their diabetes symptoms. In fact, the Mounjaro website says over 90% of people who were part of the trial taking 10 milligrams of the med were able to get their A1C below 7%.

Hold Your Horses

Woman talking to a doctor or nutritionist

However, Mounjaro is still relatively new, and we just don’t have the information on how it impacts people long-term or even what the results are for taking it for a short time and then coming off it. It’s believed at this point this is a medication you’ll take forever to keep the weight off since there’s no reason to think the weight loss will last unless other life changes are made, too. And there’s no way to know whether it impacts your body and makes it harder to lose weight in the future. With no long-term studies yet, it’s hard to say what all the side effects will be.

It’s not approved for everyone; it is not for use in people with type 1 diabetes, and it’s not clear yet whether it’s safe and effective for people under 18. The FDA warns that it may cause tumors in the thyroid (it did in rats in clinical tests), including thyroid cancer, and you shouldn’t use it if you or any family member have ever had a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). 

Those who take it complain of various side effects, from hair loss after getting the shots for a few months to gastrointestinal issues. Some say they lead to sulfur burps, and others claim they get stomach cramps. I haven’t experienced any of those yet. 

Get Out Your Checkbook

Expensive healthcare or medication

One big downfall is the expense. There were coupons last year that made it only $25 a month for most people, but that has since expired, and you never know when others will be released. The regular expense is many, many times higher. There are doctors online who will prescribe it for issues like metabolic syndrome, but without the type 2 diabetes diagnosis, the coupon may not apply.

Without a coupon, I’ve been quoted as much as $1025/month for the shot. That’s beyond my budget, so I went another route and chose to get the compounded version of the drug sent in the mail through a pharmacy. I was able to use an online doctor to get the prescription as a pre-diabetic and had the tirzepatide sent to me in the mail for closer to $350. That’s still expensive, but less than I’ve paid for other weight loss plans, and as I said earlier, nothing has made it easier to lose weight. Another downfall is the demand; it may not always be in stock at your pharmacy, and in my case, I had a 12-15 business day wait time for shipping. 

Closing Thoughts

The way I see it, the benefits that weight loss can bring outweigh the drawbacks, at least so far. With about 70% of American adults obese or overweight, dealing with serious health problems because of it, I imagine it will be worth it for many, many more people, too. That said, before you consider it for yourself, talk to your doctor to ensure it’ll be the right choice. We just don’t have enough information to say who it’s suitable for or in what circumstance. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that dozens of other drugs similar to this are in development. That’s exciting news because with more options, hopefully, prices will go down, and availability will go up. And ultimately, they’ll all be game-changers in my book. 

This article is for informational purposes only. Always talk to your healthcare provider before beginning a new medication or if you have concerns about your weight or overall health.

Read Next:

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