Tirzepatide 101

Also known as Mounjaro, take a crash course on Tirzepatide. Learn about the most frequently asked questions on this powerful weight-loss medication

Updated on
September 6, 2023

Here’s a guide of everything you need to know about the new weight loss medication Tirzepatide. Tirzepatide is made by the brand Eli Lilly. It is made of a dual agonist to the receptor GLP-1/GIP. The GLP-1 receptor (glucagon -like peptide) is a receptor responsible for controlling appetite.

What is Tirzepatide used for?

Tirzepatide is primarily used for type II diabetes, prediabetes, and obesity. Tirzepatide is a great medication for decreasing or insulin resistance, reflected by your A1c lab or your fasting glucose level. Tirzepatide is also called the brand name Mounjaro.

Tirzepatide was initially released in the US market in the summer of 2022. While the initial studies were done for its use in type II diabetes, recent research has shown that it is also beneficial for weight loss. Particularly in patients who have struggled with previous weight loss medications, there is appetite can be a great option.

Insurance and pricing of Tirzepatide

What does Tirzepatide cost? Tirzepatide can be very expensive if you do not have any insurance. However, with the current manufacturer's coupon medications are able to get Tirzepatide for only $25 per month. Patients with prior authorization for the medication to his appetite, and without prior authorization for the medication Tirzepatide tide are eligible for this coupon. You can find a coupon on the Mounjaro website.

Unfortunately, if you do not have any form of health insurance and you live in the United States Tirzepatide is likely not a good option for you. Tirzepatide without health insurance or for patients who have Medicare or Medicaid plans can cost upwards of $1000 per month.

Will Tirzepatide be covered by insurance?

It's hard to know if the GLP-1/GIP medication Tirzepatide will be covered by your health insurance. Most patients who have type II diabetes, or prediabetes, will get coverage from their health insurance plans.

What are the uses of Tirzepatide?


Tirzepatide otherwise called Mounjaro is a prescription medication that can be used for type II diabetes, prediabetes, obesity. It is helpful to reduce insulin resistance, suppress appetite, and delay the rate that your stomach empties. All of these mechanisms work together to decrease appetite improve satiety and lead to weight loss in patients.


Can Tirzepatide be used for weight loss?


Tirzepatide is a great medication for weight loss. Tirzepatide shown in studies to help patients lose over 20% of their weight in 48 weeks. This weight loss has been maintained long-term for many of these patients. Tirzepatide can be prescribed for weight loss.


Can Tirzepatide be prescribed?


Tirzepatide is prescribed by our providers at Mochi health. As it is a medication that has been approved by the FDA, our prescribers use this medication for both type II diabetes, prediabetes, and weight loss.


Is Tirzepatide safe?


Tirzepatide is a very safe medication that has been approved by the FDA. There was a series of clinical trials done called the surpassed series that all worked to prove its benefits and show its side effects. There was also the surmount trial series which was done to prove the benefits of this medication. Tirzepatide is a GLP-1/GIP medication dual agonist.


How long will it take to see weight loss on Tirzepatide?


Many patients lose up to 5 to 6% of their weight in just a first few weeks on Tirzepatide. Some patients will notice up to 20% of their weight loss over the first 12 weeks on medication. Many patients will need to adjust their dose over time, thus many of our providers asked to see patients back every four weeks while the doses being adjusted. The starting dose for this medication is 2.5 mg, and in many patients feel they need to increase to 5 mg or 10 mg as needed for both insulin resistance and weight loss.


Does Tirzepatide cause pancreatitis?

One of the side effects of Tirzepatide is pancreatitis. This can be caused by many mechanisms. Tirzepatide is a medication that works at the GLP-1 and GIP receptors. Because of this, as many patients lose weight, some patients will develop gallstones, which can obstruct the cystic duct and lead to pancreatitis.


However, it is important to note that this is not a common side effect. It is important to screen patients on their prior history, however for patients who do not have a history of pancreatitis, this is not a serious concern.


If you start taking Tirzepatide, and you notice abdominal pain that is sharp in your upper abdomen and worse with eating, call your doctor.


Can you take Tirzepatide with metformin?


Metformin and Tirzepatide can be taken together. Both of these medications work well for type II diabetics and pre-diabetic patients at controlling insulin resistance. Metformin is an older medication that works primarily on insulin resistance, while Tirzepatide is a newer medication is also called Mounjaro, and also works on weight loss.


Can you drink alcohol while on Tirzepatide?


It is not recommended to drink heavy alcohol while on Tirzepatide. This is because heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of pancreatitis, as previously mentioned pancreatitis is at increased risk while on this medication. This medication can also delay the rate that your stomach empties, thus altering your metabolism of alcohol.


Drinking small quantities of alcohol in moderation is safe.


Are Tirzepatide and Ozempic the same thing?


No. While these medications are similar, they have some key differences. Tirzepatide is a medication that is a dual agonist of the GLP-1 – GIP receptors. This medication acts on both pathways to suppress appetite and improve insulin resistance. It is an injectable medication.


Ozempic is a medication that primarily acts at the GLP-1 receptor alone. This medication is also good for weight loss, and can be useful for type II diabetics and for insulin resistance.


Consider Tirzepatide to be a newer class of medication that is a slightly improved version of older GLP-1 medications.


What does Tirzepatide do?


Tirzepatide works to suppress your appetite, improve satiety, delay the rate that your stomach empties, improve insulin resistance, and also has secondary benefits for your heart and your cholesterol. It has many benefits! Working along many pathways can perform many actions at once.

Dr. Eva Shelton, M.D.

Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital

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