In recent times, the world of weight loss medications has garnered considerable attention in the media and on social platforms. Among the notable contenders in this arena are Mounjaro (tirzepatide) and Wegovy (semaglutide), both of which have made headlines since their introduction to the market. The key highlight of these medications is their capacity to facilitate significant weight loss.
In this article, we will delve into a detailed analysis of Mounjaro and Wegovy, exploring their similarities, differences, mechanisms of action, side effects, and FDA approvals.
What Is Wegovy?
Wegovy is prescribed as part of a comprehensive weight management program that includes a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. It is intended for use in the following patient groups:
- Adults: Wegovy is indicated for adults who have an initial Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater (considered obese) or those with a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater (classified as overweight) if they have at least one weight-related comorbid condition. These comorbid conditions may include hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or dyslipidemia.
- Pediatric Patients: It is also approved for pediatric patients aged 12 years and older who have an initial BMI at or above the 95th percentile when standardized for age and sex, indicating obesity.
Limitations Of Use
Several limitations apply to the use of Wegovy:
- Wegovy contains semaglutide, and it should not be used in combination with other products that contain semaglutide or any other GLP-1 receptor agonist.
- The safety and effectiveness of Wegovy when used with other products intended for weight loss, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal preparations, have not been established. Therefore, combining Wegovy with such products is not recommended.
- Importantly, Wegovy has not been studied in patients with a history of pancreatitis, so caution should be exercised when considering its use in individuals with this medical history.
What Are The Side Effects Of Wegovy?
Patients using Wegovy may experience common gastrointestinal side effects, including nausea attributed to prolonged stomach retention of food. While these side effects may subside in some individuals, they persist in others. Additionally, the medication shares other side effects with Ozempic, such as constipation, upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. Given the potential for side effects, consulting a healthcare provider before using these drugs is vital.
It is worth noting that using these medications without medical supervision can lead to an array of side effects, and they have not been extensively studied in pregnant individuals, potentially posing risks to fetal development. The drugmaker also highlights the potential for serious side effects like pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, kidney issues, and thyroid tumors, including cancer.
What Is Mounjaro?
Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is an injectable peptide designed for weekly subcutaneous use. It has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Mounjaro is an injectable medication manufactured by Eli Lilly. This medication is prescribed to T2DM patients along with dietary changes and physical activity to help regulate their blood glucose levels.
Mounjaro operates as an agonist for two important hormones in the body: glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). These hormones are naturally occurring incretins. What makes Mounjaro unique is that it is the first medication approved by the FDA to combine both of these actions into a single molecule.
The effectiveness and safety of Mounjaro for individuals with T2DM were confirmed through phase three SURPASS clinical trials, where it successfully improved A1C levels in diabetic patients. Tirzepatide offers notably improved treatment effectiveness compared to existing medications. As per 2022 study, Mounjaro outperforms both semaglutide and insulin degludec in terms of therapeutic benefits.
There are some restrictions on the use of Mounjaro:
- Mounjaro has not been tested in individuals with a prior history of pancreatitis.
- Mounjaro is not intended for individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus.
What Are The Side Effects Of Mounjaro?
Mounjaro may lead to significant side effects, including:
- Thyroid C-cell Tumors: There is a risk of developing tumors in the thyroid gland.
- Pancreatitis: It may increase the risk of inflammation in the pancreas.
- Hypoglycemia with Concomitant Use of Insulin Secretagogues or Insulin: When used with certain other diabetes medications, it can potentially cause low blood sugar levels.
- Hypersensitivity Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions.
- Acute Kidney Injury: There is a risk of sudden kidney problems.
- Severe Gastrointestinal Disease: It may worsen pre-existing gastrointestinal conditions.
- Diabetic Retinopathy Complications: In some cases, it can lead to complications related to diabetic retinopathy, a condition affecting the eyes.
- Acute Gallbladder Disease: It may increase the risk of sudden gallbladder issues.
Wegovy Vs. Mounjaro: Which One Is Better For Weight Loss?
Both Mounjaro and Wegovy have demonstrated their ability to facilitate significant weight loss. However, Mounjaro appears to have a more pronounced effect:
- Clinical trials comparing Mounjaro to a placebo over approximately 18 months revealed that individuals with diabetes who received the highest Mounjaro dose experienced an average weight loss of 15.7% of their body weight, with nearly one-third achieving a reduction of at least 20%.
- In contrast, Wegovy, during clinical trials of approximately 16 months in individuals with diabetes, resulted in an average weight loss of 9.6%.
It’s important to note that direct comparisons between Mounjaro and Wegovy have not been conducted. Head-to-head studies are typically the most informative way to discern the differences in the mechanisms of action of two medications. An ongoing clinical trial is expected to provide this crucial comparison by evaluating the weight loss effects of Mounjaro and Wegovy in individuals without diabetes. This study is anticipated to conclude in early 2025.
Is It Safe To Use Both Mounjaro And Wegovy Simultaneously?
No, it’s not advisable to use both Mounjaro and Wegovy together. These medications operate in similar ways, and combining them can increase the risk of side effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
If you are taking the highest prescribed dose of Mounjaro for diabetes and haven’t achieved your weight loss goals, it’s recommended to have a discussion with your healthcare provider. They can suggest alternative weight loss medications that are better suited for combination with Mounjaro compared to Wegovy.
The weight loss medication landscape has gained widespread attention, with Mounjaro (tirzepatide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) emerging as prominent contenders. These drugs offer the promise of substantial weight loss, albeit with distinct features.
Wegovy is approved for adults and adolescents meeting specific BMI and comorbidity criteria, emphasizing the importance of diet and exercise. However, it should not be combined with other semaglutide products or GLP-1 receptor agonists. While effective, Wegovy can lead to gastrointestinal side effects and poses risks, particularly for individuals with a history of pancreatitis.
Mounjaro, originally designed for type 2 diabetes treatment, has demonstrated weight loss potential through its unique action on GIP and GLP-1 hormones. It boasts significant therapeutic benefits but also carries potential side effects like thyroid tumors and pancreatitis. While direct comparisons between these medications are lacking, Mounjaro appears to excel in weight loss. It’s essential to consult healthcare professionals for personalized choices, as combining Mounjaro and Wegovy is discouraged due to potential side effects. Weight loss medications should be used cautiously under medical guidance, taking individual health conditions and goals into account.