Ozempic vs Mounjaro
In the world of diabetes management, several medications have emerged to help individuals with type 2 diabetes achieve better glycemic control. Two notable medications are Ozempic and Mounjaro. Both medications work in similar ways and have similar side effects but with different compounds. Mounjaro is a newer drug that’s approved in May 2022 while Ozempic has been on the market since December 2017.
In this blog, we will compare these medications in terms of their uses, side effects, efficacy, and potential off-label use.
How they work
Both Ozempic and Mounjaro work by mimicking incretin hormones in our body. Incretin hormones are a group of hormones that are released when we eat food to regulate blood sugar levels and insulin secretion in our body. The two main incretin hormones are glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP).
GLP-1, or glucagon-like peptide-1, is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels and appetite. It is released by intestines in reponse to food intake.
GLP-1 regulates digestive and metabolic processes in several ways:
- It releases insulin when blood sugar levels are high
- It reduces glucagon secretion which helps to reduce glucose production
- It slows down the emptying of the stomach, leading to increased feelings of fullness and reduced appetite
GIP, or glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, is another hormone released by the intestines in response to food intake. It works in conjunction with GLP-1 to control glucose metabolism and appetite. While GIP has potential implications in diabetes and obesity, it is primarily known for its role in insulin secretion.
GIP works similar to GLP-1 and helps GLP-1 enhance its action.
- Its main role is to promote insulin release when blood sugar levels are high
- It inhibits glucagon secretion, but to a lesser extent than GLP-1
- It reduces appetite and slows down gastric emptying, but to a lesser extent than GLP-1
7 most questions about Ozempic
Ozempic vs Mounjaro
Along with proper diet and exercise, the FDA has approved Mounjaro and Ozempic for controlling blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes.
The main difference is the active ingredients they use. Ozempic uses semaglutide as the active ingredient which mimics the effects of GLP-1 while Mounjaro’s active ingredient, tirzepatide, mimics the effects of both GLP-1 and GPI. Since tirzepatide mimics two hormone groups, it’s called a dual GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist or a ‘twincretin’ medication.
By targeting both the GIP and GLP-1 receptors, tirzepatide aims to provide enhanced glycemic control compared to Ozempic that target only one of these receptors.
However, this does not imply that Ozempic is an inferior for improving metabolic health. The effectiveness of Ozempic relys on multiple individual factors, including genetics, medical history, physical tendencies, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
Additionally Ozempic has been approved for the prevention of cardiovascular events, including heart attack or stroke. It's also critical to note that neither medication is an insulin, and neither aids in the management of type 1 diabetes. They instead support blood sugar regulation in various ways.
Administration and doses
Ozempic (semaglutide) and Mounjaro (tirzepatide) are injectable medications for type 2 diabetes. They can be administered as a subcutaneous injection (injection under the skin) once a week.
- Ozempic is available in doses 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg. The 2.0 mg Ozempic pen is a recently approved medication by the FDA in March 2022.
- Mounjaro is available in doses ranging from 2.5 mg to 15 mg. The recommended starting dose is 2.5 mg. After 4 weeks, the dose may be increased in 2.5 mg increments up to 15 mg.
Ozempic vs Mounjaro
|Ozempic (semaglutide)||Mounjaro (tirzepatide)|
|FDA approved||December 2017||May 2022|
|Administration||Once weekly injection||Once weekly injection|
|Doses||0.25 mg–2 mg||2.5 mg–15 mg|
|Target hormones||GLP-1||GLP-1 and GIP|
|Avg. weight loss in clinical trials||15% body weight||20% body weight|
Both medications have similar mechanisms of action and can help improve blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes, and have similar side effects, including the following:
- Stomach pain or discomfort
- Decreased appetite that could lead to weight loss
- Injection site reactions
- Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar
If you experience any adverse effects that annoy you or do not go away, inform your doctor right away.
Can Mounjaro and Ozempic be used for weight loss?
Although Mounjaro and Ozempic can cause weight loss, they are not yet FDA-approved to do so.
By slowing down how rapidly food goes through your digestive tract, Mounjaro and Ozempic help facilitate weight loss. While taking these medications, a majority report having less of an appetite. This results from a combination of food passing through your digestive tract more slowly and your brain informing your body that it is full. Moreover, anyone experiencing stomach discomfort would inevitably feel less hungry.
Additionally, in a Phase 2 trial, patients treated with Mounjaro achieved significant weight loss compared to placebo, with some patients losing over 20% of their body weight. Further studies are however still ongoing to evaluate its effectiveness for weight management.
And in a Phase 2 trial, patients treated with Ozempic achieved significant weight loss compared to placebo, with some patients losing over 15% of their body weight.
Despite these studies, these medications have not yet received FDA approval for weight reduction. Both of them are recognized as effective diabetes medications for managing blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Since Wegovy, which is another weight-loss medication with the same active ingredient as Ozempic, is already on the market and was approved in 2021, it’s unlikely that Ozempic will be approved as a weight-loss medication. However, at some point in 2023, Mounjaro may receive FDA approval as a weight-loss medication.
And although these medications are not FDA-approved for weight loss, they may be used off- label for weight loss in those who are overweight to improve health outcomes.