Navigating the intricate pathways of diabetes and weight management becomes more promising with the advent of new treatment options. Two such contenders are Wegovy and Mounjaro, the latest injection to make the buzz.
While one is approved for weight loss (Wegovy) and the other for type 2 diabetes (Mounjaro), their mechanisms of action are quite similar, and both affect weight and blood sugar.
This article intends to compare and contrast Wegovy and Mounjaro, evaluating their efficacy, side effects, mode of administration, and cost. It does not replace your doctor’s advice and the necessity of a medical assessment of your situation before choosing one drug or the other.
Related article: Wegovy vs. Saxenda, Comparing Two Weight-Loss Injections!
What is Mounjaro?
Mounjaro is the newest diabetes injection to have received FDA approval for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in May 2022. Developed by Eli Lilly and Company, it contains Tirzepatide, a GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist drug.
Unlike other injectable diabetes treatments such as Insulin or Ozempic, Trulicity, Victoza, or Byetta, Mounjaro stimulates two hormones that regulate insulin production: the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This dual action helps lower blood sugar levels by both increasing insulin secretion and decreasing glucagon production.
Combined with diet and regular physical exercise, Mounjaro substantially reduces the risk of serious diabetes-related complications, including heart and kidney disease, vision loss, and neuropathy. It can be prescribed as a monotherapy for type 2 diabetes or in combination with other diabetes medications like metformin or insulin.
Mounjaro is a once-weekly subcutaneous injection self-administered with an easy-to-use, single-dose autoinjector pen.
In addition to its primary function, Mounjaro has demonstrated promising results in aiding weight loss. While its current FDA-approved use is solely for type 2 diabetes, clinical trials are underway to seek approval for its use as a weight loss medication. Meanwhile, U.S. doctors commonly prescribe Mounjaro off-label for weight loss purposes.
Related article: How Does Mounjaro Work for Diabetes and Weight Loss?
What is Wegovy?
Wegovy (semaglutide) is an injectable medication manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.
It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2021 for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition (like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol) when used along with a reduced calorie meal plan and increased physical activity.
Semaglutide, the active drug in Wegovy, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It works by mimicking the GLP-1 hormone that is naturally released by the body after eating to:
- Slow stomach emptying: Wegovy slows down the rate at which the stomach empties after eating, which helps make patients feel full for longer, leading to a decrease in food consumption and, ultimately, weight loss.
- Reduce appetite and food intake: GLP-1 drugs like Wegovy act on areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake.
- Regulate blood sugar levels: GLP-1 also has effects on the pancreas, encouraging insulin release when blood sugar levels are high (after a meal) and reducing the release of glucagon (a hormone that raises blood sugar levels) when blood sugar is low. This can help keep blood sugar levels steady.
These actions, combined with lifestyle changes such as increased physical activity and a reduced-calorie meal plan, can significantly help with weight management.
Wegovy is an injectable drug, available in autoinjector pens and typically administered once weekly by the patients themselves.
Related article: A Step-by-step Guide to Using Wegovy Pens!
Wegovy vs. Ozempic
Semaglutide is also used in a smaller dose in Ozempic. But while Wegovy and Ozempic use the same semaglutide formulation, they are used and dosed differently.
- Wegovy is a high-dose formulation of semaglutide (2.4mg once a week) that is FDA-approved for weight loss.
- Ozempic is a lower-dose formulation of semaglutide (0.5mg or 1mg once a week) that is FDA-approved for type 2 diabetes treatment. While Ozempic also causes weight loss, it is not approved by the FDA for this purpose.
The two medications are not interchangeable. They have different uses and dosages. The specific formulation and dosage depend on individual needs and the condition being treated.
Related article: Wegovy vs. Ozempic, Comparing Two Semaglutide Injections!
Mounjaro vs. Wegovy: Comparison
Mounjaro (tirzepatide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) share many similarities. Both have weight loss effects and help reduce blood sugar levels. However, they are different medications, approved for different purposes, with varying mechanisms of action and side effects.
The first difference between Mounjaro and Wegovy is their FDA approval. While Wegovy is approved solely for weight loss purposes, Mounjaro is only approved for treating diabetes.
Nonetheless, stay informed about potential updates as Mounjaro is presently undergoing clinical trials for FDA approval as a weight loss treatment.
Related article: Mounjaro Vs. Ozempic, Comparisons in Weight loss and Diabetes Therapies
Weight loss efficacy
Mounjaro, with its active ingredient tirzepatide, seems to present more significant weight loss and blood sugar reduction benefits compared to Wegovy, which contains semaglutide.
However, it's important to note that a direct comparison of the two drugs in a double-blind, randomized controlled trial, the gold standard of medical research, has not been performed. Therefore, a definitive statement cannot be made on which one is more effective.
Safety and side effects
Side effects are another important factor to consider when comparing Wegovy and Mounjaro. Wegovy appears to be better tolerated, with fewer side effects and a lower discontinuation rate due to adverse events.
Thus, if you're considering GLP-1 medications for weight loss or blood sugar control, Mounjaro might offer superior effectiveness, while Wegovy might provide better tolerability.
But it's essential to remember that everyone responds differently to medications. Always consult your healthcare provider to determine what would work best for you.
Cost and availability
In terms of cost, the availability and price of Mounjaro and Wegovy depend on various factors, such as your location, insurance coverage, the pharmacy, and any available discounts or savings programs.
Out of pocket in the U.S., Mounjaro costs roughly $1500 a month, while Wegovy costs about $1350 per month, so it’s a little less expensive than Mounjaro.
In the U.K., Wegovy is available for about £126 per month or £1520 per year. Currently, Mounjaro is only available in the U.S., while Wegovy is available in both the U.S. and U.K.
Related article: All You Need to Know About Praluent Injections for Cholesterol!
Is Mounjaro better than Wegovy?
Many people are questioning whether Mounjaro is superior to Wegovy, particularly with the recent buzz surrounding Mounjaro's introduction and its future approval for weight loss purposes.
However, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The efficacy of medication varies significantly from person to person.
The choice between these two drugs largely depends on each individual's unique medical history, overall health, the severity of their condition, and their body's response to medication, among other considerations. Factors such as potential side effects and how a drug interacts with other medications or existing conditions are also crucial when deciding between Mounjaro and Wegovy, whether for diabetes or weight loss management.
For instance, Mounjaro might be significantly effective for one person, while another may find Wegovy to be more beneficial. But the reverse may also be true. In the same manner, one person might handle the side effects of Mounjaro better than those of Wegovy, or vice versa.
Hence, any decision regarding these drugs should be made in thorough consultation with a healthcare provider.
Wegovy vs. Mounjaro vs. Ozempic vs. Saxenda
Wegovy and Mounjaro aren't the only options available to help lose weight, lower blood sugar levels, or both simultaneously. Ozempic and Saxenda are other injectable drugs that may be worth considering depending on your medical situation.
Here’s a brief comparison between these 4 injections that we invite you to discuss with your doctor:
- Wegovy (semaglutide) is approved by the FDA for chronic weight management in adults. It's used as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy, is the same as in Ozempic but at a higher dose. It’s a GLP-1 receptor agonist drug.
- Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is only approved as a type 2 diabetes treatment, although it will most probably be approved for weight loss soon. Its active ingredient is a GIP/GLP-1 agonist drug.
- Ozempic (semaglutide) is approved by the FDA to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. While it's not officially approved for weight loss, weight reduction is a common side effect. It contains the same active ingredient as Wegovy (semaglutide) but at a lower dose.
- Saxenda (liraglutide) is also approved by the FDA for chronic weight management in adults. Liraglutide, the active ingredient in Saxenda, is another GLP-1 agonist drug (like Ozempic and Wegovy). It’s the same drug as in Victoza, currently approved for type 2 diabetes only, but at a higher dose.
It's important to remember that while these medications can help with weight loss and blood sugar control, they are not interchangeable. Deciding between one or the other can have significant impacts on your health. And given the nuanced differences between these medications, one must have a detailed discussion with a healthcare provider to determine which medication might best suit their specific situation.
Related article: 10 Simple Ways to Increase Insulin Sensitivity Naturally!
What about you? Have you been prescribed Wegovy, Mounjaro, or other injections like Ozempic or Saxenda? Or are you one of the many patients that have recently switched from Wegovy to Mounjaro? We'd be happy to hear about your experience.