Buzzy new weight loss drugs often trend on social media. The latest, hottest news? Eli Lilly’s Zepbound™. In November 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved tirzepatide, under the brand name Zepbound, as a treatment for obesity and excess weight. This is welcome news for those seeking medical care for weight management. It’s true that tirzepatide is already on the market and used for weight management: In 2022, the FDA approved tirzepatide—branded Mounjaro®—as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Given the drug’s significant effect on body weight, doctors have been prescribing the medication off-label for weight loss since it’s been on the market. So what’s the difference between these medications?
Found’s doctor-designed program leverages a variety of medications to tailor treatment for weight loss to your unique biology. Let’s dive into tirzepatide and look at the ins and outs of Zepbound vs Mounjaro.
Since Zepbound and Mounjaro both contain the same active ingredient, tirzepatide, they work in the same way. The only difference between the two is how they are branded and their indicated use: Zepbound is approved for excess weight and obesity, and Mounjaro is approved for type 2 diabetes. Unlike the GLP-1 or GLP-1 receptor agonist class of drugs, which includes the semaglutide medications Wegovy® and Ozempic,® tirzepatide is a dual agonist, meaning it mimics two gut peptides: glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). Tirzepatide is a synthetic molecule that mimics these incretin hormones and binds to your body’s receptors like your natural hormones do. Clinical trials show that tirzepatide helps reduce body weight and improve glycemic control by regulating insulin levels, balancing blood sugars, slowing digestion, and reducing appetite when paired with exercise and diet changes.
Patients take both Mounjaro and Zepbound as weekly injections. Dosing varies, and health care providers can customize the amount depending on weight, tolerability, and other factors. Typically, patients start with a 2.5 mg weekly dose for the first four weeks, and health care providers increase the amount over time, up to 15 mg maximum.
A study of adults with overweight or obesity taking tirzepatide and following lifestyle interventions showed an average of 18.4% of body weight loss by the end of the 72-week trial. Participants taking the placebo lost an average of nine pounds, and those on tirzepatide taking doses of either 10 mg or 15 mg lost an average of almost 48 pounds.
But as with any treatment for overweight and obesity, results will vary. For some, tirzepatide may not address the root causes of their weight challenges; for others, it may be the key to sustainable weight loss. (That’s why a personalized weight management program like Found, which offers a wide toolbox of prescription drugs, can create a plan tailored to your unique biology and needs.)
The list price for Mounjaro is $1,023.04 per month. The list price for Zepbound is $1,059.87 per month. That said, your cost will depend on your insurance coverage.
Lilly offers savings programs for Zepbound. If you have commercial insurance, you may be eligible to pay $25 for a one- to three-month prescription fill with the Zepbound Savings Card. The Zepbound savings offer runs through the end of 2024, and it can be used to save up to $1,800 per calendar year. If you’re not eligible for the card, you may qualify for a reduced rate of $550 for a one-month prescription.
The most common side effects for Zepbound and Mounjaro include:
People using Zepbound for weight loss have also reported injection site reactions, fatigue, allergic reactions, belching, hair loss, and heartburn.
Though less common, using tirzepatide can lead to more serious side effects, including severe stomach problems, kidney failure, serious allergic reactions, hypoglycemia, and depression or thoughts of suicide.
Don’t use Zepbound and Mounjaro together or with any other GLP-1 medication. Those with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 should not take tirzepatide. Do not take it if you've ever had thyroid cancer. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant, do not take tirzepatide. Find detailed side effects and risk information for tirzepatide here.
Zepbound and Mounjaro both contain the active ingredient tirzepatide, and they work in the same way to achieve weight loss. Making a weight-loss plan is a highly personal choice, shaped by your individual biology and preferences, so it’s best to talk to a health care provider to determine which options are best for you.
At Found, board-certified clinicians trained in obesity medicine help you customize a plan that suits your unique needs. Find the most effective plan for your biology and what you need for weight loss with Found. Our clinicians can prescribe a broad range of medications, including GLP-1s, tirzepatide, and more, to personalize the best treatment for you. You can find detailed side effects and risk information for specific GLP-1 and non-GLP-1 medications here.
To discover your MetabolicPrint and start your journey with Found, take our quiz. Found is among the largest medically supported weight care clinics in the country, having served more than 200,000 members to date.
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.