Are you considering trying medication to boost your weight loss journey? If so, maybe you’re considering Mounjaro for weight loss. This trending diabetes medication can be prescribed off-label for weight loss.
Mounjaro, also known as tirzepatide, joins a growing list of drugs that are all the hype in the current weight loss world. Compared to its competitors Ozempic and Wegovy, Mounjaro may lead to greater weight loss and is on the fast track for FDA approval for weight loss.
Keep reading to learn all there is to know about Mounjaro, including how it works, expected weight loss, side effects, user reviews, and how it compares to Ozempic and Wegovy.
What is Mounjaro?
Mounjaro is an injectable prescription medication for adults with type 2 diabetes. Because weight loss is a common side effect, some doctors prescribe Mounjaro off-label for this purpose.
The FDA approved Mounjaro for type 2 diabetes in May 2022. Soon after in October 2022, the FDA granted Mounjaro a fast-track designation for weight loss.
Its manufacturer, Eli Lilly, expects FDA approval for weight loss by late 2023.
How Does Mounjaro Work?
Mounjaro’s active ingredient, tirzepatide, mimics two hormones: glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP).
Together, these hormones can boost your metabolism, reduce your appetite, and improve your blood sugar control. A handful of my clients who take Mounjaro report that their appetite is significantly lower since starting on it.
Similar to Ozempic and Wegovy, Mounjaro is taken as a once-a-week injection. It comes in 28-day supplies and has 6 doses, ranging from 2.5 mg (starting dose) to 15 mg (maximum dose). Each month, you increase your dose based on how well it’s working and your side effects.
Mounjaro Weight Loss Expected Results
As a registered dietitian, I’m always looking at what a large body of research tells us, not just one celebrity influencer’s results. Overall, weight loss on Mounjaro is gradual and dose-dependent, with the greatest weight loss within the first 36 weeks or so. This means that you will likely lose more weight as your dose increases closer to the upper limit of 15 mg.
A large, double-blind, randomized controlled trial on Mounjaro was done on adults with obesity or overweight without diabetes. Their weight loss results on different weekly doses of tirzepatide were compared to a placebo for 72 weeks. These were their results:
- The average weight loss was 15.0% on 5 mg, 19.5% on 10 mg, and 20.9% on 15 mg, compared to 3.1% in the placebo group.
- There were also improvements in waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting insulin, and blood lipids in the Mounjaro group that were not seen in the placebo group.
Eli Lilly recently released results of a similarly designed trial including adults with obesity or overweight with diabetes. In my experience, it can be harder for my clients with diabetes to lose weight. These were the results for those with diabetes:
- The average weight loss was 13.4% on 10 mg and 15.7% on 15 mg, compared to 3.3% in the placebo group.
- There were also improvements in A1C (a measure of average blood sugar levels over time) and other lab values.
It’s important to remember that weight regain is very likely after stopping any weight loss medications, and this is no different with Mounjaro. Because of this, you may need to take Mounjaro long-term for permanent weight loss, or work closely with a dietitian on strategies to prevent weight regain as you wean off of it.
Results are pending for a two-year clinical trial finished in May 2023 that looks at how well weight is maintained after stopping Mounjaro.
Side Effects and Safety
Like many of my clients, you may be hesitant about Mounjaro’s side effects.
The most common side effects include:
- Reduced appetite
- Stomach pain
The good news is that with time as your body adjusts, side effects generally improve. Eating smaller and blander meals, adjusting your dosing schedule, and limiting fatty foods can help minimize side effects.
There are also more serious, but rare, side effects to be aware of:
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Allergic reactions
- Kidney failure
- Severe stomach problems
- Changes in vision
- Gallbladder problems
Some people should not take Mounjaro, including those with a history or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
It’s recommended to talk to your doctor to see if Mounjaro could work for you. You can also try a telehealth weight loss service, such as the Calibrate weight loss program.
Mounjaro for weight loss reviews are generally positive, with an average rating of 8.5 out of 10 from 69 reviews on Drugs.com.
Many users report only mild side effects, which diminish with continued use. Users also commonly report non-scale successes reflected in their improved blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides.
One 10/10 reviewer praised Mounjaro as “the most amazing weight loss medication ever made,” sharing that they made the switch from Ozempic to Mounjaro because of fatigue and nausea.
Another 10/10 reviewer shared “I’ve been a yo-yo dieter for as long as I can remember. This is by far the best thing I’ve tried.”
One unhappy 2/10 reviewer reported frustration with their appetite coming back “ferociously” after trying to stop the medication. They recommended users work with a dietitian to manage these potential outcomes. I second this advice!
Mounjaro vs. Ozempic vs. Wegovy
What sets Mounjaro apart from Ozempic vs. Wegovy is that it targets not one but two hormones involved in appetite regulation. While Wegovy and Ozempic (semaglutide) target GLP-1, Mounjaro (tirzepatide) targets GLP-1 and GIP.
At first glance, research suggests Mounjaro may lead to greater weight loss than Ozempic and Wegovy. However, some further diving into the research reveals that dose-dependent weight loss may actually be similar between these drugs, meaning there may be greater weight loss with Mounjaro because it is given at a higher dose.
Keep your eyes out for more clinical trials for direct comparisons and long-term data. In the meantime, always discuss the pros and cons of each with your doctor.
Mounjaro is a first-of-its-kind medication on the fast track to be FDA- approved for weight loss. Users are sharing positive Mounjaro before and after stories, but it’s important to remember that individual results can vary.
If you’re eligible, Mounjaro for weight loss may be the boost in your weight loss journey you’ve been waiting for. Just remember insurance coverage varies, you likely need to stay on it for continued results, and it has side effects.
As a weight loss dietitian, I always guide my clients to make sustainable choices and move away from the all-or-nothing diet mentality. It’s important to combine, not replace, weight loss drugs with a healthy lifestyle.
It’s also essential for best results to continue to work on the underlying causes of your weight struggles and habits in the first place along the way. This will reduce the risk of weight regain after hitting a plateau on a weight loss medication like Mounjaro, or when coming off of it.
Check out these additional posts for my expert rundowns on the most popular weight loss medications:
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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace personalized medical guidance.