Mounjaro is the latest diabetes drug to be FDA-approved in May 2022 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Used along with physical exercise and diet, the medicine significantly helps lower blood glucose levels, lose weight, and reduce the risks of diabetes-related health complications.
If you're among the numerous patients who have recently started the new Mounjaro therapy, your doctor has probably warned you about its specific storage instructions. Like many other diabetes injections, Mounjaro is a biological drug. As a result, it's very sensitive to heat and must be kept refrigerated.
Let’s take a closer look at the newest diabetes medication on the block and ensure we all know how to handle and store Mounjaro correctly. The success of your diabetes management depends on it!
Related article: Does insulin need to be refrigerated?
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What is Mounjaro?Mounjaro is an injectable prescription medicine used to treat people with type 2 diabetes. It’s taken once weekly through subcutaneous injection with an easy-to-use single-dose autoinjector pen.
The active ingredient in Mounjaro is Tirzepatide. It belongs to the class of GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs. Technically speaking, it works by simultaneously stimulating two hormones that control insulin production: the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).
In other words, Mounjaro lowers blood sugar levels by boosting insulin secretion and reducing glucagon production at the same time. By lowering type 2 diabetes patients' blood sugar, it significantly helps reduce the risks of serious diabetes health complications like heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss, and neuropathy.
Mounjaro differs from other type 2 diabetes injections like Ozempic, Trulicity, Byetta, or Victoza, which are GLP-1 agonist drugs that only act on GLP-1 receptors (not GIP receptors).
It can be prescribed as a single therapy for type 2 diabetes (always with physical exercise and diet) or dual therapy with other diabetes medicines like metformin.
Related article: How Does Mounjaro Work for Diabetes and Weight Loss?
Can Mounjaro be used for weight loss?Studies show that people who take Mounjaro for diabetes experience significant weight loss (22.5% of their body fat on average). That's because Tirzepatide (its active ingredient) slows the absorption of food, makes you stay full longer, and increases energy expenditure, ultimately promoting weight loss.
However, Mounjaro has only been FDA-approved for treating type 2 diabetes. It is not approved as a weight loss drug. But it's currently under review and clinical trials so that it may be approved as a weight loss medication in the future. Meanwhile, many U.S. doctors are prescribing Mounjaro off-label to help their patients lose weight.
Related article: Wegovy vs. Mounjaro, Understanding the Differences in Diabetes and Obesity Treatments.
How to Store Mounjaro?If you've recently been prescribed this new diabetes treatment, you must already know about its specific storage conditions. Tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Mounjaro, has a limited shelf life and is very sensitive to temperature and light. It can quickly degrade and lose efficiency if not correctly stored.
So, let's zoom in on Mounjaro storage requirements and learn how to keep your medicine safe!
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According to Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Mounjaro, Mounjaro pens must be stored “in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). You may store your pen at room temperature up to 86°F (30°C) for up to 21 days.”
The manufacturer also warns about freezing temperatures that could destroy your medicine, making it important not to store your Mounjaro pens near the freezer compartment of your fridge. You must throw your pen away if it has frozen, even briefly, and even if it has thawed afterward.
Last, your single-dose injector pens must be protected from light. Please keep them in their original packaging before use. Do not expose your Mounjaro pens to direct sunlight when traveling or away from home.
Related article: How to Inject Mounjaro and Use the Injector Pen Correctly?
How Long can Mounjaro be out of the fridge?As mentioned above, Mounjaro can only be out of the fridge for a maximum of 21 days. After that, the medicine inside your pen will start spoiling and won’t be safe for use anymore.
You must throw away any pen that has been out of the fridge for more than 21 days, even if there’s still medicine inside and the expiration date labeled on the pen has yet to pass.
During these 21 days when refrigeration is not mandatory, you must ensure your pens never get exposed to temperatures above 86°F (30°C), which may require taking a few precautions if you live in or travel to hot-weather places.
Related article: Safety tips for traveling with Mounjaro!
How to keep Mounjaro pens cool while away from homeTraveling with refrigerated medications and temperature-sensitive drugs can seem challenging at first. But with a few common-sense habits and the right accessories, your Mounjaro pens will be just fine! Here are a few tips to keep your pens protected from heat when outside of your home:
- Use a medical-grade cooler whenever the outside temperature is above 86°F (30°C).
- Always keep Mounjaro pens in the shade.
- Avoid direct sunlight.
- Use a thermometer to keep track of temperatures.
- Never leave your medicine in the car.
- Do not place your injector pens near a heat source (fireplace, stove, etc.)
- Only carry your medicine with you if it’s necessary. Otherwise, leave it in the fridge / at home.
- Keep track of the expiration date and throw away any pen that’s been out of the fridge for more than 21 days.
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Our coolers are TSA-approved for airplane travel, lightweight, portable, stylish, and, most importantly, reliable! They can keep your Mounjaro pens refrigerated in all situations, even without electricity.
Related article: Mounjaro vs. Ozempic, a Comparison in Diabetes and Weight-Loss Therapies.
What Happens if Mounjaro is not Refrigerated?The active ingredient in Mounjaro, Tirzepatide, is a biologic. Biologics, also known as biological drugs or biopharmaceuticals, are at the cutting edge of biomedical research and show incredible results in treating numerous health conditions. But they're also extremely fragile because they're produced with living sources such as an animal or plant cell or a microorganism. As such, they're often unstable and can quickly degrade when exposed to heat and light.
Laboratory tests have shown that Mounjaro is only stable for 21 days when unrefrigerated, after which it will start degrading. The medicine inside your pen gradually loses its potency when left out, eventually until it becomes completely inefficient.
It’s not like injecting Mounjaro that has been unrefrigerated for too long will poison you, but it can seriously impact your treatment, blood sugar levels, and ultimately your health.
That’s why you must always write down the date you've taken your Mounjaro pen out of the fridge and keep track of time. When in doubt, throw the pen away and get a new one from the refrigerator. Never use a Mounjaro pen that's been out of the fridge for too long. It simply isn't safe.
Related article: 10 Best Diabetic Snacks on-the-go for Travels & Road trips!
When does Mounjaro Expire?Mounjaro actually has two expiration dates:
- The one officially labeled on the pen by the manufacturer usually occurs about one year after purchase.
- The one that occurs 21 days after a pen has been removed from the fridge.
You must keep track of both expiration dates to ensure you never inject expired medicine.
Related article: Does insulin expire? How long is it good for?
How to know if Mounjaro has gone bad?
Additionally, it's essential to be aware of visual signs that can indicate your Mounjaro pen has gone bad before its expiration date.
Mounjaro is a clear, water-like-looking medicine. It’s colorless to slightly yellow. Do not use the pen if the liquid inside looks cloudy or has particles. These can be signs it has gone bad and isn't safe for use anymore. Throw it away or take it back to the pharmacy and get a new one from the fridge.
Air bubbles in the Mounjaro pen are normal and nothing to worry about.
Related article: How to Tell if Insulin Has Gone Bad?
What to do with expired Mounjaro?Mounjaro pens are considered sharps, as the needles used for injection are connected to the pen. Therefore, they must be disposed of safely not to put anyone at risk, especially children.
Do not throw your pens in the household trash. Instead, please put them in an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container. If you don't have a sharps container, you can use a laundry detergent heavy-duty plastic bottle, for example, or request a free one for your Mounjaro pens here.
Are you using Mounjaro? What do you think about this newly approved diabetes injection?