A quick Google search on Mounjaro (tirzepatide) for weight loss will yield hundreds of thousands of results on how effective it has been for weight loss. The drug, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, has unsurprisingly shifted to off-label prescription for weight loss because of its efficacy.
Manufactured by Eli Lilly, a phase 3 clinical trial discovered participants lost up to 22.5 percent of their body weight, according to Eli Lilly’s press release.
But, does it knock out Novo Nordisk’sOzempic (semaglutide), which has been FDA- approved to treat type 2 diabetes since 2017, has demonstrated remarkable weight loss results over the years, and has been studied longer?
Even though Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk may be going head-to-head to see who will hit the (weight loss) home run, it's important to understand that as the patient taking either medication, it's about what works best for you.
What’s more, while Mounjaro is close to getting FDA approval for weight loss,semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic) is already FDA-approved for weight loss at a higher dose under the Wegovy brand name.
You might be eager to take the medication with the best weight loss results, but it’s important to see how your body reacts to specific drugs first. It will depend on you individually—your body may feel better on Ozempic than on Mounjaro.
Let’s dive into what we know now about Mounjaro vs Ozempic.
Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is currently the only class of drug that is both a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor agonist. GLP-1 and GIP are incretins, naturally occurring hormones in your body that stimulate insulin secretion in response to increased blood glucose levels after you eat. GLP-1 also works to slow digestion, causing you to feel fuller longer after eating. Lilly's tirzepatide imitates these hormones helping to promote weight loss in patients with overweight and obesity.
In comparison, Ozempic is solely a GLP-1 agonist and only activates one hormone receptor.
Both drugs are once-weekly subcutaneous injectable doses, but they vary in dosage.
Doses of Ozempic
You’ll begin with the 0.25-mg pen for the first four weeks and increase to 0.5 mg on the fifth week of treatment. After that, you can up your weekly dose to 1 mg, then 2 mg if you continue to tolerate semaglutide injections and experience lower blood sugar levels.
Doses of tirzepatide
First four weeks: 2.5 mg weekly
Second four weeks: 5 mg once weekly
Third four weeks: 7.5 mg once weekly
Fourth four weeks: 10 mg once weekly
Fifth four weeks: 12.5 mg once weekly
Sixth four weeks: 15 mg once weekly
In a 72-week clinical trial published in 2022 in The New England Journal of Medicine, 2,539 participants with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or greater with at least one weight-related condition like high blood pressure took 5 mg, 10 mg, or 15 mg once weekly doses of tirzepatide or a placebo. They also made lifestyle changes, like a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
The results were astonishing, with the folks in the 10mg and 15mg dose groups having an average body weight reduction of almost 20 percent. The placebo group had an average of only a 3 percent reduction.
In 2018, The Lancet published the results of a similar 52-week trial on Ozempic’s weight loss results. Of the 957 participants, those who were given the 0.4-mg semaglutide dose had an average loss of almost 14 percent of their body weight. The placebo group saw only an average body weight reduction of 2.3 percent.
These results may make you think Ozempic is in Little League while Mounjaro is playing in the big leagues. Remember, tirzepatide is a different medication and in higher doses than Ozempic. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better, especially since these two drugs aren’t in the same medication class.
It turns out this is where tirzepatide and Ozempic are very similar. The most common side effects for both are gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. Headaches were another side effect. Both also come with warning labels with rarer adverse side effects that include:
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
We need to see more long-term research, but most healthcare providers advise not taking tirzepatide and Ozempic together. Sources say taking them together could result in more severe side effects and increase your risk of rare complications.
Some research suggests you might be able to take other types of diabetes medications with tirzepatide and Ozempic, such as metformin, but check with your health care provider before doing so.
When comparing tirzepatide versus semaglutide, science doesn’t lie. It seems that tirzepatide may be more effective at boosting weight loss, but it truly depends on you. Share your thoughts and concerns with your health care provider and any side effects you experience on either medication. Medical providers will often try different medications to determine the best for you for the most sustainable weight care journey.
*GLP-1 Note: "Found is not currently prescribing GLP-1medications for weight loss, but we are considering it as a part of our strategy to help members meet their weight-loss goals in the future. Stay tuned for updates on a potential GLP-1 rollout at Found. Until then, we can still help you meet your weight-loss goals with our current online weight loss program."
Found offers a science-backed approach to weight care that's based on your unique biology, psychology, lifestyle, and prescription medication needs. The average Found member loses 10% of their body weight during their first 12 months on the program. In total, members have lost 800,000 pounds to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.
Hausner H, Derving Karsbøl J, Holst AG, Jacobsen JB, Wagner FD, Golor G, Anderson TW. Effect of Semaglutide on the Pharmacokinetics of Metformin, Warfarin, Atorvastatin and Digoxin in Healthy Subjects. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2017 Nov;56(11):1391-1401.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5648738/
Jastreboff AM, Aronne LJ, Ahmad NN, Wharton S, Connery L, Alves B, Kiyosue A, Zhang S, Liu B, Bunck MC, Stefanski A; SURMOUNT-1 Investigators. Tirzepatide Once Weekly for the Treatment of Obesity. N Engl J Med. 2022 Jul 21;387(3):205-216.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35658024/
Lilly. May 2022. FDA approves Lilly's Mounjaro™ (tirzepatide) injection, the first and only GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes.https://investor.lilly.com/news-releases/news-release-details/fda-approves-lillys-mounjarotm-tirzepatide-injection-first-and
Mounjaro. Getting Started, Dosing, & Prescribing. 2022. Eli Lilly.https://www.mounjaro.com/hcp/getting-patients-started#prescribing
O'Neil PM, Birkenfeld AL, McGowan B, Mosenzon O, Pedersen SD, Wharton S, Carson CG, Jepsen CH, Kabisch M, Wilding JPH. Efficacy and safety of semaglutide compared with liraglutide and placebo for weight loss in patients with obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo and active controlled, dose-ranging, phase 2 trial. Lancet. 2018 Aug 25;392(10148):637-649.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30122305/
Ozempic. June 2022. Ozempic dosing. Novo Nordisk.https://www.ozempic.com/how-to-take/ozempic-dosing.html