Public discourse around medications like Ozempic® and Wegovy® has intensified over the last year as the drugs have been rumored to be behind the dramatic weight loss of numerous celebrities. While medication-assisted weight loss has been around for decades and the use of off-label medications for this purpose is well documented, the TikTok uproar around GLP-1 agonists (the class of medications that Ozempic and Wegovy belong to) has turned into a zeitgeist moment that has lifted the veil on this practice and its efficacy for long term weight management.
On the heels of the Ozempic and Wegovy frenzy, Eli Lilly released Mounjaro® (tirzepatide)—a brand-name medication that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved to treat type 2 diabetes in May 2022. Not surprisingly, since its release, Mounjaro’s popularity has sky-rocketed. The simple reason: it’s effective at promoting weight loss in adults with excess weight and obesity. It helps control hunger, satiety, and appetite, and stimulates the body’s insulin production, helping to control blood sugar levels which ultimately aids with weight loss.
However, because these medications are new to the market, they’re notorious for their price tag. This is largely driven by the fact that insurance doesn’t always cover these drugs whether or not they’re prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes. So the question for those who are prescribed Mounjaro: Are there ways to save money on this medication?
The answer is yes. Found, an evidence-based obesity treatment clinic bringing personalized care to each member, has gathered all available resources to help you save money by using Eli Lilly’s own Mounjaro Savings Card (also known as the Mounjaro coupon), additional savings programs, and cost-effective alternatives.
The tirzepatide injection for weight loss is a once-weekly GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonist that’s FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes. One fill of the medication equals roughly a month’s supply (four pre-filled pens for a 28-day supply).
There is already some promising data about Mounjaro. In one groundbreaking 72-week clinical trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2022, patients lost up to 22.5 percent of their body weight versus only three percent in the placebo group.
Even more promising, the manufacturer, Eli Lilly, announced it expects the FDA to approve Mounjaro in late 2023 for weight management for those with excess weight and obesity. This summer Eli Lilly released results of two phase 3 studies, the final phase a prescription drug goes through to test efficacy, safety, and the Mounjaro side effects before it’s FDA-approved. So, tirzepatide could be marketed and prescribed for obesity soon.
Finally, health care providers are already prescribing the drug off-label to treat clinically excess weight and obesity. But before you start looking into what it would take to get a prescription, consider that Mounjaro (and at times, GLP-1 receptor agonists as a medication class) isn’t always the right fit for an individual’s unique biology. One of Found’s pillars for clinical excellence is considering a person’s unique biology, medical history, lifestyle, and prescription medication needs to find the most effective medication for them. At times, it’s a GLP-1, however, many of our members find lasting success with medications that are more widely available and cost-effective.
Not surprisingly, whether you get Mounjaro prescribed to you off-label or for type 2 diabetes, Mounjaro’s cost can be a deal breaker for many.
Eli Lilly is notably transparent about Mounjaro's list price. Without insurance coverage or the Mounjaro coupon card, Mounjaro's retail price is $1,023.04 per fill (roughly a month’s supply).
The manufacturer says specific insurance plan pricing data isn’t available yet. Because the drug is so new, Eli Lilly can’t share out-of-pocket costs for tirzepatide. However, once the data is available later in 2023, the company “is committed to sharing” the average out-of-pocket cost for patients.
Because Eli Lilly is aware of the drug’s cost, the company created the Mounjaro Savings Card program for patients looking to get a coupon for Mounjaro. Think of it as a Mounjaro manufacturer coupon—it’s easy to access and available to those who qualify. In fact, the Mounjaro discount card is straightforward to get online—users can complete the three simple steps on the Mounjaro site to get the card in no time.
Worth noting—the Mounjaro coupon has terms and conditions for eligibility. Among them is that you don’t qualify if you’re “enrolled in any state, federal, or government funded healthcare program, including, without limitation, Medicaid, Medicare, Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage, Medigap, DoD, VA, TRICARE®/CHAMPUS, or any state prescription drug assistance program.”
In summary, you must have commercial drug insurance to be eligible. Within this category, Eli Lilly offers two types of discounts: one for policies that cover Mounjaro and and one for those that don’t.
If your insurance plan covers Mounjaro, your copay could be as little as $25 for up to 12 pens with the Mounjaro $25 coupon. The fine print: the Mounjaro $25 coupon program expires on December 31, 2023. Also, Eli Lilly may change the details and pricing for the Mounjaro $25 Savings Program at the company’s discretion.
If your insurance doesn’t cover Mounjaro, the fine print says that you can get up to $575 off a one-month supply of the medication (consistent with a 28-day calendar month, so up to four pens). So, there’s a Mounjaro coupon you could qualify for even without insurance coverage. The Mounjaro coupon without insurance also expires on December 31, 2023.
So whether you’re going the copay route or paying without insurance, make sure you take the time to look into what you qualify for so that you can get the lowest price for this medication.
Other Mounjaro weight loss coupon options and patient assistant programs are available. Here’s what we found:
Drugs.com: This company offers a free drug discount card, but again, it has a few stipulations, such as you can’t use your insurance if it's government provided, like Medicare and Medicaid.
Mounjaro Free Sharps Container Program: Because Mounjaro is an injectable, the pens must be disposed of in a sealed container for safety. This program doesn’t discount tirzepatide’s price, but it offers a free sharps container for the used pens.
Variability in price: The medication may be cheaper depending on your location and pharmacy. When researching, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, and Walmart all had different medication prices. It may help if you look at the various options in your area. And ask your health care professional about supply and demand in your area and where they recommend getting your prescription filled.
While Mounjaro and GLP-1 agonists are effective at driving weight loss, Eli Lilly’s SURMOUNT-4 study shows that tapering off these medications triggers weight regain. Given the cost per fill, the financial implications of these medications when used long term can be too burdensome for many.
Luckily, there are other options that don’t fall under the GLP-1 medication class but can be helpful for your weight-loss journey. One such alternative is metformin, an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes that health care professionals prescribe off-label for weight loss.
Like many non-GLP-1 medications, metformin works to help with weight loss. A Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group study published in 2012 in Diabetes Care determined that metformin works for weight loss and that long-term treatment helped sustain weight loss for at least ten years. According to the study, metformin also “lowers glucose and reduces risk for diabetes in part through weight loss.”
Rekha Kumar, MD, Found’s Chief Medical Officer explains, “Metformin is a plant-derived off-label option for weight loss, appetite control, and sugar and carbohydrate craving control. It may help people be more adherent to a low carbohydrate diet for those on that type of plan.” It’s also much more reasonably priced and easily accessible. Finally, metformin doesn’t involve injections and can be used for shorter or intermittent treatments.
Among GLP-1 receptor agonists as alternative treatments, there are also Ozempic and Wegovy. Both share the active ingredient semaglutide. However, Ozempic is prescribed at a slightly lower dose (and indicated for treating type 2 diabetes), and Wegovy is FDA-approved for chronic weight management. It’s important to understand the risks of taking medication for weight loss. Common side effects of GLP-1s and metformin include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and acid reflux. More serious but less common side effects of tirzepatide (Mounjaro) and GLP-1s such as Ozempic and Wegovy include pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, and worsening of diabetic eye disease. Those with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasias should not use these drugs. Metformin may cause lactic acidosis, which can result in death, hypothermia, hypotension, and resistant bradyarrhythmias. Studies show taking metformin long term may, in rare cases, lead to complications such as pancreatitis, hepatitis, abnormal blood clotting, abnormal vitamin B12 levels, and reactive hypoglycemia. Find detailed side effects and risk information for specific medications here.
Generic versions of Mounjaro, Wegovy and Ozempic are not available. Insurance coverage may be available depending on your current health condition: The FDA approved both Ozempic and Mounjaro for treating type 2 diabetes, and also approved Ozempic for preventing major cardiovascular events in people with type 2 diabetes.
GLP-1 prescriptions, filled through your local pharmacy, are now available as part of Found's weight-loss toolkit. While GLP-1s are effective for weight loss, they are not clinically appropriate for everyone. Eligibility for a GLP-1 is based on a thorough evaluation of your medical history, eating behavior, lab work, and insurance coverage. If a GLP-1 is not appropriate for you, our providers will work with you to determine an effective medication for your health profile.
Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, serving more than 200,000 members to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.