The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new drug called tirzepatide (Mounjaro is the brand name). It’s the first and only dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor and glucagon-like peptide-1receptor agonist (GLP-1 receptor agonist) for treating adults with type 2 diabetes. The benefit of being both a GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist is that GIP has been shown to decrease food intake and increases energy expenditure, so it aids in weight loss. Combining GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonists can have a more significant impact on metabolic dysregulation.
Manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company, MounjaroTM has also been shown to have an impressive impact on treating obesity. Although it hasn’t been approved by the FDA for this purpose yet, doctors can prescribe it for weight care. Learn more about this drug and how it can support sustainable weight loss.
Slinical data on Mounjaro weight loss shows that participants were able to drop between 5 and 22.5% of their total body weight. Those are impressive stats, given that people taking many existing FDA-approved medications for obesity, on average, lose between 5 and 10% of their total body weight.
Eli Lilly released preliminary results from its SURMOUNT-1 clinical trial in April 2022. The study found that people with excess weight or obesity who had at least one other comorbidity (but not diabetes) had a weight reduction of up to 52 pounds during the 72-week MounjaroTM (tirzepatide) trial.
Tirzepatide weight loss varied by dose. Study participants on a 5 mg dose of Mounjaro for weight loss experienced an average weight reduction of 35 pounds or 16% of their body weight. Those on a 10 mg dose lost an average of 49 pounds or 21.4% of their body weight. On the highest dose—15 mg—people on tirzepatide lost an average of 52 pounds or 22.5% of their body weight. On the other hand, the placebo group lost just pounds, or 2.4% of their body weight, over that same amount of time.
The double-blind weight-loss drug study included 2,539 randomized participants throughout the U.S., Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, and Taiwan, with a mean baseline body weight of 231 pounds. All those randomly placed in the MounjaroTM (tirzepatide) study began with a 2.5 mg weekly dose. They then went through a dose-escalation period that included an additional 2.5 mg every four weeks until they reached their target dose of 5, 10, or 15 mg.
While the FDA approved MounjaroTM (tirzepatide) to treat type 2 diabetes, doctors specializing in treating obesity are particularly excited about this medication given the preliminary SURMOUNT-1 results.
“As a board-certified obesity specialist, I believe that MounjaroTM (tirzepatide) has the potential to be a game-changer in the treatment of obesity for certain patients who may not have responded to other medicines,” said Found Chief Medical Officer Rekha Kumar, M.D., M.S. “A medication with this efficacy gives hope to patients who have run out of existing medication options because the mechanism of MounjaroTM (tirzepatide) is unique. We are excited about the possibility of adding MounjaroTM (tirzepatide) to the broad toolkit of medications Found clinicians already use to provide the best care possible to each Found member.”
Like other GLP-1 medications, MounjaroTM (tirzepatide) is an injectable medication used once weekly, that aids in controlling blood sugar levels and may also support weight loss.
GLP-1 receptor agonists seem to aid in weight loss in two key ways. First, they make the stomach empty more slowly, so you feel satisfied with less food. This helps reduce caloric intake without starving yourself. Second, the GLP-1 receptor agonists reduce appetite, tell your brain when you're full, and decrease cravings. This allows you to make nutritional choices that better align with your goals.
The biological changes from GLP-1 medications may also help reduce your set point weight—the weight your body strives to maintain due to hormones, biology, and surroundings. This means tirzepatide, like other GLP-1 medications—such as Ozempic, Saxenda, Trulicity, Rybelsus, Victoza—may help you lose weight and keep it off long-term.
The novel thing about tirzepatide is that it also works on GIP receptors. When you eat food, GIP hormones cause your body to release insulin. But when your blood sugar falls, they stimulate glucagon secretion. Controlling these processes can help support weight loss beyond what GLP-1 medications alone can do.
The FDA has approved MounjaroTM (tirzepatide) to treat type 2 diabetes. Eli Lilly, the manufacturer, is expected to file for FDA approval for an indication for obesity. Novo Nordisk, the company that manufactures Wegovy, took a similar path. It got FDA approval for the GLP-1 Ozempic (semaglutide) as a treatment for type 2 diabetes before getting the same drug, in different doses, approved for weight management.
Although FDA approval for tirzepatide obesity is still pending, there may be some cases where Found can prescribe medications like Mounjaro for weight loss before its FDA approval for weight management.
The most common MounjaroTM (tirzepatide) side effects are:
As with other GLP-1s, there is a boxed warning for patients with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or who have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2. They should not take tirzepatide for weight loss or other treatments.
Found offers a broad toolkit of various medications and distinct treatment pathways to help people with obesity achieve sustainable weight loss. Our medical team will assess a member's unique healthcare needs and prescribe medically appropriate treatments, which may include Mounjaro for weight loss or a GLP-1 medication.
Found offers a science-backed approach to weight care that’s based on your unique biology, psychology, lifestyle and prescription medication needs. Members receiving medication plus behavior change support from Found lost at least 13% more weight, and in some cases up to 229% more, compared to people receiving the same medication in clinical studies.
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GLP-1 Note: "Found is not currently prescribing GLP-1 medications 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."