As Zepbound (tirzepatide) emerges as a groundbreaking treatment for weight loss and obesity, many are considering switching from existing treatments such as Wegovy (semaglutide).

But before making any change, it's important to understand the specifics of both medications. While moving to Zepbound could be a great move for your weight-loss journey, there are many things to consider first, including dosage, side effects, expectations, and suitability.

Let’s walk through these considerations together and learn how to make a safe and effective transition from Wegovy to Zepbound.

Related article: How to Get Zepbound: Prescription, Eligibility, Coverage Explained!

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Switching Between GLP-1s Weight Loss Drugs

Both Zepbound and Wegovy belong to the class of GLP-1 drugs (glucagon-like peptide-1), along with Mounjaro, Ozempic, and others. These medications are mainly used to manage type 2 diabetes and obesity. They primarily work by mimicking the action of the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1, which is involved in regulating blood sugar levels. But GLP-1 drugs also slow gastric emptying and increase feelings of fullness after eating, making them an efficient treatment option for patients with obesity and overweight issues.   

Switching between GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs like Wegovy and Zepbound is quite common in the management of obesity and related conditions. However, each has unique properties and effects, making the decision to switch something that should be carefully considered and supervised by your healthcare provider.

So, before we delve into the specifics of switching from Wegovy to Zepbound, let's take a moment to understand what each of these medications is exactly, their shared characteristics, and the differences between them.

Related article: Zepbound, Mounjaro, Wegovy, Ozempic: What’s the Difference?

What is Zepbound?

Zepbound is the newest prescription injection for weight loss approved by the FDA in November 2023. It contains tirzepatide, which is quite a unique and innovative drug because it targets two hormones at the same time: the GLP-1 hormone, like Wegovy and Ozempic, but also the GIP hormone (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide). This dual action not only helps reduce appetite but also enhances the body's ability to manage blood sugar and process calories more efficiently, promoting even more substantial weight loss.

Zepbound is approved for chronic weight management in:

  • Adults who have obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m² or higher.
  • Adults with overweight (BMI of 27 kg/m² or higher) and at least one weight-related health issue, like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or dyslipidemia.

It is a weekly subcutaneous injection that you inject yourself at home thanks to an easy-to-use, single dose injector pen. It exists in different dosages from 5 mg to 15 mg. The treatment typically begins with a low starting dose followed by a gradually increased maintenance dose depending on tolerance to the treatment and side effects.

Related article: How to Use the Zepbound Injector Pen: A Comprehensive Guide.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy has been on the market since June 2021. Its active ingredient is semaglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist designed to treat obesity.

Unlike Zepbound, Wegovy primarily focuses on the GLP-1 hormone, enhancing satiety and reducing calorie intake. It's been effective for many users but may not work for everyone, particularly those who experience side effects or less than optimal weight loss.

Like Zepbound, Wegovy also received FDA approval for chronic weight management in adults who are either obese or overweight with at least one weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol). Their respective applications and target patients are quite similar.

Wegovy is also administered once a week via a subcutaneous injection. The medication is available in a pre-filled pen, designed to make self-administration as straightforward as possible for the user. Just as with Zepbound, the dosing of Wegovy typically starts at a lower dose to improve tolerability and is gradually increased over several weeks to the target dose, helping to minimize side effects such as nausea, which are common with GLP-1 receptor agonists.

Related article: A Step-by-Step Guide to Injecting Wegovy the Right Way.

Is Zepbound better than Wegovy?

Not necessarily. While Zepbound has shown greater weight-loss results in clinical trials, with up to 22% weight loss compared to 16% for Wegovy, it does not necessarily mean that it is “better” than Wegovy.

When considering whether Zepbound is better than Wegovy, the clinical results aren’t the only factor to look at. The choice between Zepbound and Wegovy may also depend on:

  • Individual health conditions. For instance, patients with specific metabolic issues may find the additional GIP receptor activity in Zepbound offers better control over blood sugar levels. Besides, both medications come with contraindications for certain medical conditions.
  • Side effects. While both medications share common side effects like nausea and diarrhea, the intensity and occurrence can vary a lot between individuals. Some people may experience more side effects with Wegovy and find relief in Zepbound while the opposite may be true for others.
  • Response to treatment. Some patients may lose more weight with Zepbound while others may respond better to Wegovy.

Ultimately, whether or not you should switch to Zepbound must be considered with your healthcare provider.

Related article: How Much Weight Can You Actually Lose on Zepbound?

How to Switch from Wegovy to Zepbound

So, you’ve been on Wegovy for quite some time now and are considering a switch to Zepbound to see if it works better for you? You're not alone! Many are turning to Zepbound, intrigued by its recent launch and high potential for better weight-loss results.

But while the idea of switching weight-loss injections might be exciting, it's crucial to handle the transition thoughtfully. From understanding how each treatment works to managing dosages and expectations, the transition must be done under medical supervision to ensure your switch is as smooth and effective as possible.

Both Wegovy and Zepbound are administered via weekly subcutaneous injections, making the switch somewhat easier.

However, because they act on different hormonal pathways, the transition must be gradual to minimize any disruptions in therapy or side effects. That’s why when switching from Wegovy to Zepbound, your doctor will likely advise you to taper off Wegovy while gradually introducing Zepbound. This helps your body adjust to the new medication without overlapping effects that could increase side effects.

Related article: How Long Does it Take for Zepbound to Work?

Stop Wegovy Before You Start Zepbound

It’s important to stop taking Wegovy before you begin your Zepbound injections to prevent overlapping effects that could increase side effect risks. It is not recommended to take Zepbound and Wegovy or any other GLP-1 drugs together.

Follow your doctor’s guidelines. Some recommend starting Zepbound the week after your last Wegovy injection, while others may need a few weeks in between the two medications.

Begin with a Low Dose of Zepbound

When switching to Zepbound, your doctor will likely initiate treatment at the lowest dose, typically 0.25 mg per week.

After the initial four weeks, Zepbound is generally increased to 5 mg once a week. Your healthcare provider may continue to increase the dosage in 2.5 mg increments every four weeks or decide to go one step back to a lower dose, depending on your needs and tolerability level.

This step-by-step approach allows for careful monitoring of your response to the medication. It gives time for your body to adjust and helps minimize tirzepatide side effects. The maximum recommended dose of Zepbound is 15 mg a week. But note that not everyone will reach that max dose!

Finding the correct dosage when switching medications often requires a period of trial and error, which can be frustrating, take time, and affect how quickly you see results.

Related article: Zepbound Side Effects: Deciphering Warnings and Contraindications.

Maintain a Balanced Diet and Regular Exercise

Achieving the best weight-loss results from Zepbound involves more than just medication—it requires a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Work with a healthcare provider to create a personalized diet and exercise plan that includes a variety of nutritious foods and at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

Related article: Zepbound Diet: What Foods to Eat, What Foods to Avoid?

Prepare for Initial Side Effects

While Zepbound and Wegovy have similar safety and side effect profile, you may be more sensitive to one or the other medication. It means that if you may suffer from side effects, mainly gastrointestinal ones, from Zepbound while you had none with Wegovy. The other way around, you may feel much better on Zepbound than on Wegovy.

Side effects with Zepbound are quite common, especially at the beginning of the treatment.

Talk to Your Doctor

Switching medications, especially for chronic conditions like obesity and overweight, can be present quite a lot of challenges. Your body needs time to adjust to the new medication’s mechanism of action and effects. This adjustment period may be unsettling or uncomfortable at first. During this period, it’s very important to keep open lines of communication with your doctor and report any side effects or discomforts you may have.

Psychological factors play a big role too, especially in weight-loss treatments. You might have high expectations based on your experiences with Wegovy or from what you’ve heard about the new Zepbound. It can be discouraging to wait too long for immediate results when it may take more time to achieve your goals. Remember that weight loss is a long journey and that it’s more sustainable when done steadily rather than quickly.

Support from friends, family, and online communities can provide encouragement and practical advice from others who have switched from Wegovy to Zepbound. It can really help in maintaining motivation, especially during periods when progress seems slow or when dealing with side effects.

Related article: Zepbound Reviews from Real Users: The Good and The Bad!

Explore Alternative Weight-loss Treatments If Needed

If Zepbound doesn’t meet your needs, or if you experience intolerable side effects, remember that other GLP-1 receptor agonists or weight management options are available.

Typically, a minimum of 5% weight loss within the first three months of taking Zepbound considered a sign of effectiveness. If this benchmark isn't met, Zepbound may not be the right medication for you. So, don’t hesitate to share your doubts with your doctor to explore alternative weight-loss treatments.

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FAQs About Switching from Wegovy to Zepbound

Can You Take Wegovy and Zepbound Together?

No, it's not recommended to take Wegovy and Zepbound together. Because they belong to the same class of drugs and act in similar ways, combining them can increase the risk of side effects without offering additional benefits. A proper transition plan should be followed when switching between these medications to make sure their effects do not overlap.

How long does it take to see results from Zepbound after switching?

The time it takes to see results from Zepbound after switching from another weight loss medication like Wegovy can vary. Some patients may begin to notice weight loss or reduced appetite within the first few weeks of starting Zepbound.

However, significant results are generally observed after two to three months of consistent use. That being said, individual results vary a lot and don’t depend on the medication alone. Your initial weight, diet, exercise, and personal metabolic rate have a great impact too.

Can I switch back to Wegovy if Zepbound doesn't work for me?

Yes, you can switch back to Wegovy if Zepbound does not meet your expectations or if the side effects are too much for you.

However, this decision should always be made in consultation with your doctor. Like switching from Wegovy to Zepbound, switching the other way around requires careful planning and medical monitoring. Repeatedly changing medications may affect your body's response to treatment.

Will my insurance cover Zepbound if I switch from Wegovy?

Insurance coverage is a common concern when switching from Wegovy to Zepbound. Weight-loss injections aren’t always covered by health insurance. However, if your insurance previously covered your Wegovy prescription, chances are they will cover Zepbound too. Especially since Zepbound is quite cheaper than Wegovy, with a list price of $1,059 for a month’s supply compared to $1,349 for Wegovy.

Related article: Zepbound Cost: Coupons, Insurance Coverage and Savings Card.

What if I experience a weight loss plateau after switching to Zepbound?

Hitting a plateau on a weight-loss journey is quite common. Many patients report a plateau effect on Zepbound, especially at the 5mg dose, where the weight-loss progress seems to stop. But for most, the increase in dosage after a few weeks helps restart the weight loss.

Patience is key here and it’s important to stick to your treatment and dosage as prescribed by your doctor. Changes in your diet or exercise routine can help push past the plateau. Remember, while frustrating, plateaus are a normal part of losing weight.

What about you? Have you switched from Wegovy to Zepbound or are you considering doing so? What are your motivations, worries, and experiences? Don’t hesitate to share below!

April 18, 2024

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The information presented in this article and its comment section is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns or questions you may have.