Which is better for weight loss, Ozempic or Mounjaro?

Both Ozempic and Mounjaro can be effective in helping with weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes. Consult healthcare provider to discuss your treatment

January 8, 2023

Obesity is becoming a commonplace health risk worldwide, affecting many individuals and their quality of life. The advent of new medication based therapies has made obesity management much like any other chronic disease. Among these medications and weight loss drugs, Ozempic and Mounjaro are two commonly used medications that are used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Ozempic’s counterpart, Wegovy is another semaglutide-based medication FDA-approved for weight loss. Mounjaro is not yet approved by the FDA for weight loss, however there’s lots of promising trial data from the SURMOUNT-1 Trial.

Ozempic and Mounjaro, How Do They Help with Weight Loss?

Ozempic is a brand-name medication that contains the active ingredient Semaglutide. It is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, which means it works by increasing the amount of insulin released by the pancreas in response to meals. This can help lower blood sugar levels and improve glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes.

Mounjaro is a brand-name medication that contains the active ingredient Tirzepatide. It is also a GLP-1 receptor agonist (a dual-agonist, in fact! also acting on GIP) and works in a similar way to Ozempic.

In terms of weight loss, both Ozempic and Mounjaro have been shown to cause modest weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes. In clinical trials, people taking Ozempic lost an average of 2-3% of their body weight, while those taking Mounjaro lost an average of 3-4% of their body weight. Patients who used Ozempic or Mounjaro off-label for weight loss, rather than type 2 diabetes, lost more weight– on average around 10% for Ozempic and up to 15% for Mounjaro.

Overall, both Ozempic and Mounjaro can be effective in helping with weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes. However, the specific amount of weight loss may vary depending on a person's individual circumstances and how well they are able to stick to their treatment plan. It is important to discuss your treatment options with a healthcare provider to determine the best medication for your needs.

What is the difference between Ozempic and Mounjaro?

Both of these medications have a somewhat similar mechanism- they are both GLP-1 receptor agonists, meaning that they can bind to the GLP-1 receptor in your brain, stomach, and pancreas to alter your hunger signaling pathways, fullness, and insulin resistance. Mounjaro, or Tirzepatide, has the additional factor of being a GIP agonist and can thus further help with insulin resistance and weight loss.

Different patients can respond differently to each of these medications. Head-to-head trials have only compared a “medium dose” of Ozempic 1 mg to Mounjaro ‘high dose” 15mg. Comparing data from these, preliminary data seems to suggest patients lost more weight on Mounjaro.

Who is a good candidate for Ozempic or Mounjaro for weight loss?

Both medications are FDA approved for Type 2 diabetes and, given their profound impact on weight loss, often prescribed off-label for obesity. Patients who have a BMI over 27 with any weight related disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, PCOS, cardiac conditions, may be eligible for obesity medications. Patients with a BMI over 30 are also eligible, with or without weight related conditions.

Who should not take Ozempic or Mounjaro?

In order to be an eligible candidate for either of these medicines, consulting a healthcare professional is optimal. These drugs can affect our health, and patients with chronic diseases or other health risks may be more prone to their side effects.  The drug isn't approved for use in people with type 1 diabetes. Mounjaro treatment should not be started in people who have a history of pancreatitis

If you or a family member has a history of MTC (Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma) or MEN2 disorder, you should not take this medication.

Patients with a history of pancreatitis should also use caution when taking GLP-1 agonist type medications like Ozempic (Semaglutide) or Mounjaro (Tirzepatide).  After proper consultation and sharing your health history with your healthcare professional, you can learn whether you are or are not an ideal candidate for these drugs.

Dr. Eva Shelton, M.D.

Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital

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