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New Research Found: Diabetes Drug That Could Overshadow Ozempic

Over the past year, the injectable diabetes medication Ozempic has become a sensation on talk shows, TikTok, and in the media for its off-label use in weight loss and its management. The buzz grew even stronger this fall with Wegovy, another medication designed only for weight management. 

Now, a new diabetes drug, Mounjaro, is entering the spotlight as many people are using it off-label to shed pounds. Some studies suggest that Mounjaro might be even more effective than Ozempic or Wegovy. Further in this blog, we’ll discuss the research, its results, and what experts say about these findings. We’ll also look into how Mounjaro works and whether is it really safe to take this medication for weight loss. Let’s get down to business!

The Study Findings and Experts

In a recent study lasting 72 weeks and funded by Eli Lilly, the maker of Mounjaro, it was found that about half of the participants who were both obese and diabetic lost around 15 percent of their body weight while taking tirzepatide (the main ingredient of Mounjaro). 

In another study funded by Eli Lilly in October, individuals who were overweight or obese and had successfully lost at least 5% of their body weight through diet and exercise went on to lose an additional 21% of their body weight on average after 72 weeks of using tirzepatide.

Mounjaro is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating Type 2 diabetes only. Despite its official website stating that “Mounjaro is not a weight loss drug,” it also highlights that some users have lost up to 25 pounds. The FDA is currently reviewing data from Eli Lilly, the manufacturer, regarding the drug’s potential for weight management. If the review is favorable, Mounjaro could be authorized for weight management by the end of 2023. Moreover, an FDA representative mentioned that the agency typically does not comment on pending or product applications. 

Increasing Demand of Mounjaro

The demand for Mounjaro is on the rise. After facing a two-month shortage, the medication is now largely back in stock. However, Dr. Andrew Kraftson from the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes at Michigan Medicine mentions that many diabetes patients still find it challenging to obtain Mounjaro. He often advises patients to try contacting various pharmacies to find the medication. Dr. Kraftson also notes that he has had to adjust some patients’ doses to make the medication last longer. 

“It’s definitely frustrating for both patients and physicians,” he remarked. As more people turn to Mounjaro for weight management, it could outshine Ozempic in both media attention and sales. “Calling it a blockbuster wouldn’t be an exaggeration,” Dr. Kraftson added. But can we really say it without looking at the Important safety information that comes with these medications? 

How Does Mounjaro Work for Weight Loss?

Tirzepatide works by imitating two naturally occurring hormones in the body: glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide. These hormones regulate blood sugar levels.

Ozempic and Wegovy target only the GLP-1 hormone, while tirzepatide mimics both GLP-1 and another hormone. This dual action is believed to be the reason why tirzepatide is highly effective at reducing blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss, as the two hormones it imitates work together in a synergistic way.

Dr. Janice Jin Hwang, the head of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, explains that tirzepatide, like semaglutide, slows down stomach emptying, helping people feel fuller for longer. Additionally, tirzepatide reduces the brain’s hunger signals, which helps suppress appetite.

How Much Weight Can You Lose While on Mounjaro?

At a 2022 conference held by the American Diabetes Association, research showed remarkable results regarding the medication tirzepatide. Participants in the study who did not have diabetes experienced a significant weight loss of up to 22.5 percent of their body weight over 72 weeks. According to Dr. Robert Gabbay, the association’s chief scientific and medical officer, this level of weight reduction is almost as effective as undergoing weight loss surgery. 

A significant study compared tirzepatide and semaglutide and found that tirzepatide resulted in more substantial reductions in blood sugar levels and greater weight loss than semaglutide. Nevertheless, Dr. Dean Schillinger, a diabetes expert at the University of California, San Francisco, noted that the study compared different doses of the drugs, making it challenging to compare their effectiveness directly. Additionally, the study was sponsored by Eli Lilly, the maker of Mounjaro.

The long-term effects of using Mounjaro are still unknown, which is a critical concern since people need to continue taking the medication to maintain its benefits. This point was highlighted by Akshaya Srikanth Bhagavathula, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas who has researched tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Mounjaro.

Is It Safe to Take Mounjaro for Weight Loss?

Mounjaro might lead to more serious side effects compared to Ozempic and Wegovy, but it could also result in greater weight loss, Dr. Bhagavathula said. Possible side effects of Mounjaro include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. In rare instances, the medication might cause severe issues like renal failure, pancreatitis, low blood sugar, and gastrointestinal bleeding. There’s limited research on how tirzepatide affects people without diabetes or obesity. “We just don’t have enough data to tell someone what gamble they’re making,” explained Dr. Schillinger.

Patients prescribed this medication should be closely monitored by their healthcare provider. This is because there’s a risk that a significant reduction in appetite could lead to undernourishment and disordered eating. Dr. Kraftson emphasizes that the aim is not to eliminate hunger completely, as it’s not healthy to induce anorexia. The objective is to manage appetite, not to get rid of it entirely.

A spokesperson from Eli Lilly clarified that “Mounjaro is only approved for use in treating Type 2 diabetes, alongside diet and exercise. Additionally, Lilly does not endorse or encourage the off-label use of any of our medications.” However, experts have expressed concerns that as medications like Mounjaro and Ozempic become increasingly popular for their weight-loss benefits, patients may be left scrambling who have diabetes. Dr. Gabbay says this issue might recur, saying, “We’re probably going to watch this movie again in the future.”

Final Takeaway

The rising trend of using diabetes medications like Mounjaro and Ozempic for weight loss is a testament to their effectiveness. Recent studies funded by Eli Lilly have shown promising results, with participants experiencing significant weight loss. Mounjaro’s dual-action mechanism, targeting both GLP-1 and GIP hormones, sets it apart from other medications and could be the key to its success. However, possible side effects and the need for ongoing medication to maintain weight loss are important considerations. 
While Mounjaro is approved only for Type 2 diabetes, its potential for weight management is under review by the FDA. As demand for these medications grows, it’s crucial to ensure that patients with diabetes have access to them. For those looking to buy Mounjaro online Canada or elsewhere, it’s essential to consult healthcare professionals and use these medications as prescribed. The future of Mounjaro and similar drugs in weight loss treatment is promising, but a careful approach is necessary to maximize their benefits while minimizing risks.

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