Does Mounjaro Cause Headaches? Causes, Treatment, & More

Investigate whether headaches are a common side effect of Mounjaro for weight loss, including causes and how to deal with them.

Table of Contents
  • Does Mounjaro Cause Headaches?
  • Identifying the Causes of Headaches While on Mounjaro
  • Managing Headaches on Mounjaro
  • More on Mounjaro and Weight Management

Mounjaro, a brand-name prescription drug label for the medication tirzepatide, is gaining attention in the medical community for its efficacy in treating type 2 diabetes and, more recently, its ability to aid in weight loss (1). Tirzepatide is also sold under the brand Zepbound, specifically approved for weight loss and billed at a higher price. Like any medication, it comes with a spectrum of possible side effects. The most commonly reported side effects are gastrointestinal in nature and include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and stomach pain (2). While some people report headaches with Mounjaro, there’s no evidence that Mounjaro directly causes headaches. Mounjaro is known to cause other side effects that may lead to headaches. This article explores the relationship between Mounjaro and headaches, offering insights into causes and management strategies.

Does Mounjaro Cause Headaches?

Research shows that Mounjaro does not directly cause headaches. A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine examined over 2,500 patients who were either taking tirzepatide (generic form of Mounjaro) or a placebo. They found that headaches were a reported side effect amongst 6.5-6.8% of participants in the tirzepatide group. Compared to the placebo group, where 6.5% of participants reported headaches, there is almost no difference in the reported incidence of headaches between those on tirzepatide and those not on tirzepatide (1). Headaches are common in the general population and not necessarily due to being on Mounjaro.

The study found that the most common side effects were nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.

Jastreboff, 2022

Identifying the Causes of Headaches While on Mounjaro

There are various categories of headaches, the most common being tension headaches (3). Tension headaches can be caused by many different factors such as stress, inadequate sleep, anxiety, depression, dehydration, muscle tenderness, dental issues, and sinus disease (3, 4). With so many underlying causes of headaches, it’s reasonable to believe that Mounjaro may be contributing to your headaches, though it’s unlikely to be the root cause

Headaches experienced by those on Mounjaro are typically mild to moderate in intensity and generally not a cause for concern. While there is no direct link between Mounjaro and headaches, there are a few reasons why you might be experiencing headaches including: 

  • Blood Sugar Fluctuations: One of Mounjaro's primary functions is to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce appetite. Missing meals and fluctuating glucose levels may trigger headaches or migraines in some individuals (5, 6, 7). 
  • Dehydration: GLP-1 medications, like Mounjaro, have been shown to decrease food and water intake and increase urinary volumes (8). Decreased water intake and increased urination can lead to dehydration, another common headache trigger.
  • Stress: If you’ve made other changes in your life since starting a weight-loss medication, chances are you may be more stressed than usual! This could also lead to increased headaches, though with time your headaches may subside as you adjust to your new lifestyle. 

If your headaches are accompanied by any of the following characteristics, alert your healthcare provider or follow up with emergency services right away: 

  • Fevers
  • Altered consciousness
  • Painful eye movements
  • Preceded by an aura
  • Positional (i.e. headache is worse when sitting upright and better when lying down)
  • Came on abruptly with 10/10 pain
  • Following overuse of painkillers
  • Following trauma to the head
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer in the past
  • If this headache is unlike any other headache you’ve ever experienced

Managing Headaches on Mounjaro

Though headaches can be a nuisance, several strategies may help manage or reduce their occurrence:

  • Hydration: Maintain adequate fluid intake to prevent dehydration.
  • Balanced Meals: Ensuring stable blood sugar levels through regular, balanced meals (no skipping meals!) may mitigate headache triggers.
  • Rest and Recovery: Adequate sleep and stress management can prevent headaches (3, 9).
  • Consultation: Always consult a healthcare provider for headaches with concerning characteristics as listed above

In conclusion, while Mounjaro may not directly cause headaches, it's essential to recognize potential triggers so you can take proactive measures to minimize discomfort. Headaches can often stem from various factors such as dehydration, changes in diet, or stress, which may be exacerbated by the medication. By adopting healthy habits such as staying hydrated, eating balanced meals throughout the day, managing stress levels, and communicating concerns with healthcare providers, individuals can stay on top of their headaches while on Mounjaro.

More on Mounjaro and Weight Management

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  1. 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. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2206038. Epub 2022 Jun 4. PMID: 35658024.
  2. Mounjaro® Compared to Other T2D Medicines | Mounjaro® (Tirzepatide), Eli Lilly and Company, 
  3. Jensen R. H. (2018). Tension-Type Headache - The Normal and Most Prevalent Headache. Headache, 58(2), 339–345.
  4. Ashina, S., Mitsikostas, D. D., Lee, M. J., Yamani, N., Wang, S. J., Messina, R., Ashina, H., Buse, D. C., Pozo-Rosich, P., Jensen, R. H., Diener, H. C., & Lipton, R. B. (2021). Tension-type headache. Nature reviews. Disease primers, 7(1), 24.
  5. Islam, M. R., & Nyholt, D. R. (2022). Glucose-Related Traits and Risk of Migraine-A Potential Mechanism and Treatment Consideration. Genes, 13(5), 730.
  6. Hufnagl, K. N., & Peroutka, S. J. (2002). Glucose regulation in headache: implications for dietary management. Expert review of neurotherapeutics, 2(3), 311–317.
  7. Del Moro, L., Rota, E., Pirovano, E., & Rainero, I. (2022). Migraine, Brain Glucose Metabolism and the "Neuroenergetic" Hypothesis: A Scoping Review. The journal of pain, 23(8), 1294–1317.
  8. Gutzwiller, J. P., Tschopp, S., Bock, A., Zehnder, C. E., Huber, A. R., Kreyenbuehl, M., Gutmann, H., Drewe, J., Henzen, C., Goeke, B., & Beglinger, C. (2004). Glucagon-like peptide 1 induces natriuresis in healthy subjects and in insulin-resistant obese men. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 89(6), 3055–3061.
  9. Lyngberg, A. C., Rasmussen, B. K., Jørgensen, T., & Jensen, R. (2005). Prognosis of migraine and tension-type headache: a population-based follow-up study. Neurology, 65(4), 580–585.

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