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Lose weight: what is the Mounjaro that could supplant the Ozempic?


Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is an injectable drug from the Eli Lilly laboratory which has recently been authorized for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in several countries: in the United States in May 2022, in Europe in September 2022, in Canada in March 2023… It is not yet marketed in France.

In addition to reducing blood sugar (glycemia), it has the effect of causing weight loss.

Although the drug is not (yet) authorized in people who are not diabetics for the treatment of obesity, it is likely to be used for this purpose outside of marketing authorization (MA).

In the United States, a request for authorization for the treatment of obesity is being assessed through an accelerated procedure.

The mode of action

Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) slows the emptying of the stomach, which makes you feel full longer, and also inhibits hunger signals from the brain, which decreases your appetite.

It mimics two hormones naturally produced in the body: GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) and the GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide). It is said to be a double agonist of these hormones produced by the intestine (incretin hormones).

GLP-1 agonist drugs already approved for weight loss

Two injectable GLP-1 agonist class anti-diabetic drugs are currently licensed in some countries for weight loss in people who do not have diabetes: semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) and liraglutide (Saxenda), both from Novo Nordisk laboratory.

Greater efficacy of tirzepatide (Mounjaro)

Some studies have shown tirzepatide (Mounjaro) to be more effective for weight loss than semaglutide (Ozempic or Wegovy), which is more effective than liraglutide.

In particular, a study comparing tirzepatide (Mounjaro) and semaglutide (Ozempic or Wegovy) published in 2021 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEMJ), showed that tirzepatide led to a greater reduction in blood sugar and greater weight loss.

The side effects

According to Akshaya Srikanth Bhagavathula of the University of Arkansas, relayed by the New York Times, along with greater weight loss, Mounjaro could, due to its dual mode of action, cause side effects. more severe than semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy). Users often experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. In rare cases, the drug can lead to kidney failure, pancreatitis, hypoglycemia and gastrointestinal bleeding, he adds.

For more information on side effects, contraindications and interactions with other medicines, see the summary of medicinal product characteristics on the European Medicines Agency (EMA) website.


These new treatments, points out the Washington Post, “have not been studied long-term in obesity, and more information is still needed on the safety and effectiveness of this use. The longest study conducted on the Wegovy to date lasted two years.»

There is no solid research examining how tirzepatide (Mounjaro) might affect people who do not have diabetes or obesity, the New York Times points out. “We simply don’t have enough information to inform the individual about the bet they are makingsaid Dr. Dean Schillinger, professor of medicine and diabetes expert at the University of California, San Francisco.

Those taking the drug should be under close medical supervision, warns Dr. Andrew Kraftson, a diabetes specialist at the University of Michigan, in part because there is a risk that an extreme lack of appetite can lead to malnutrition and eating disorders. “We don’t want to make people anorexic“, did he declare. “The goal is not to get rid of all hunger.»

A drug to be taken long term

If approved for the treatment of obesity, tirzepatide (Mounjaro), like semaglutide (Ozempic or Wegovy) and liraglutide (Saxenda), would be a treatment intended for long-term use because weight has tends to resume after discontinuation of the drug.

These relatively expensive drugs are generally not reimbursed by public systems for people who do not have diabetes.

For more information, see the links below.

Psychomedia with sources: EMA, FDA, New York Times, Washington Post, NEJM, NEJM, Lilly.
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