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Wegovy vs Mounjaro – Comparing Weight Loss Treatments

David Fuller

Last Updated On: July 5, 2024

Studies have shown that weight loss treatments are gaining prominence. This highlights the growing efficacy and importance of advanced weight loss treatments in addressing the obesity epidemic. With obesity affecting millions worldwide, finding effective and sustainable weight management solutions has never been more critical.

Two prominent weight loss treatments are Wegovy and Mounjaro. Wegovy utilizes semaglutide to aid weight loss by mimicking a hormone that regulates appetite. Meanwhile, Mounjaro shows promising results in clinical trials. It shows substantial weight loss benefits by targeting multiple hunger and energy balance pathways. Both medications represent cutting-edge approaches to weight management, but they differ in their mechanisms and patient suitability.

In this article, we will explore the nuances of Wegovy and Mounjaro and their mechanisms, efficacy, and potential impact on weight management.

Key Takeaways

  • Wegovy mimics the GLP-1 hormone to increase fullness, while Mounjaro targets both GIP and GLP-1 hormones for a broader effect on appetite and blood sugar control.
  • Wegovy can lead to around 15% weight loss over 68 weeks, while Mounjaro may result in up to 22.5% weight loss in some patients, making it potentially more effective.
  • Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, though severity can vary. Patients should discuss these with their healthcare provider.
  • Wegovy is approved for adults with a BMI of 30+ or 27+ with weight-related conditions. Mounjaro is approved for type 2 diabetes but shows promise for weight loss in non-diabetics.
  • Costs and insurance coverage vary. Wegovy is more established, potentially making it more accessible. Mounjaro, being newer, may face initial coverage challenges.

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Mechanism of Action

Wegovy and Mounjaro support weight loss through different mechanisms. Wegovy mimics the GLP-1 hormone to enhance fullness, slow stomach emptying, and boost metabolism for better energy use. 

Mounjaro targets GLP-1 and GIP hormones to reduce hunger and manage blood sugar levels, slowing stomach emptying and increasing insulin release. Both medications are effective in weight loss and represent significant advancements in obesity treatment by addressing key metabolic pathways.

Clinical Efficacy

Studies show significant changes in weight loss when we examine the effectiveness of Wegovy and Mounjaro. People using these drugs have seen their weight drop by a good amount, pointing to solid results.

Wegovy

The FDA approved Wegovy based on the results of the Semaglutide Treatment Effect in People with Obesity (STEP) clinical trial program. This program included four 68-week, randomized, double-blind trials with approximately 4,500 participants who were either obese or overweight.

Image courtesy of Welzo

Notably, Wegovy significantly reduced weight and lowered the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (such as cardiovascular death, heart attack, and stroke) compared to placebo. Its efficacy and safety profile make it a promising option for those seeking sustainable weight loss.

Mounjaro

The FDA approved Mounjaro based on evidence from nine clinical trials involving a substantial cohort of 7,769 patients with type 2 diabetes. These trials were conducted globally and assessed both safety and efficacy. 

Image courtesy of Reddit

Notably, Mounjaro was evaluated as a monotherapy with other FDA-approved diabetes medications. Its unique mechanism of action makes it an intriguing addition to the arsenal of treatments for managing diabetes and potentially impacting weight loss.

Safety Profiles

Wegovy and Mounjaro are prescription medications medical professionals use to help patients lose weight. By targeting key metabolic pathways, both medications represent significant advancements in obesity treatment. 

Similar to any other treatments, they, too, have some common side effects associated with Wegovy and Mounjaro for weight loss:

  • Nausea: Common, especially early in treatment.
  • Diarrhea: Frequent adjustment symptom.
  • Constipation: Alternates with diarrhea for some users.
  • Vomiting: More common at the start.
  • Headache: Occasional side effect.
  • Fatigue: Unusual tiredness may occur.
  • Dizziness: Some experience dizziness post-dose.
  • Stomach Pain: Abdominal discomfort can occur.
  • Increased Heart Rate: A slight increase was noted by a few.
  • Gas with Oily Spotting: Digestive issues may include gas and oily spotting.

Serious Side Effects of Wegovy and Mounjaro

Wegovy and Mounjaro are popular weight loss treatments that also come with serious side effects that medical professionals should be aware of. Here’s what to watch for:

  • Thyroid C-cell Tumors: Increased risk in rodents; human risk unclear.
  • Pancreatitis: Acute cases reported; be aware of symptoms.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: May worsen in type 2 diabetes patients.
  • Gallbladder Problems: Link to gallstones and inflammation.
  • Increased Heart Rate: Monitor for faster heart rate.
  • Kidney Failure: Instances of kidney harm, including severe injury.
  • Allergic Reactions: Severe reactions to Mounjaro may include rash, itching, and breathing difficulty.
  • Mood Changes: Possible worsening of mood swings and depressive symptoms.

Each patient’s risk varies based on their health profile and existing conditions. Healthcare providers must weigh these risks against the potential benefits of using Wegovy and Mounjaro for weight loss before prescribing either.

Practical Considerations

Choosing between Wegovy and Mounjaro means considering how often they must be taken, how they’re given, who should use them, and the right Mounjaro and Wegovy dosing. 

Dosing Schedules for Wegovy

  • Start with 0.25 mg once a week for the first four weeks. This initial dose helps your body adjust to the medication.
  • To help the body adapt, increase the dose to 0.5 mg once a week from weeks five through eight.
  • From week nine to twelve, up the dosage to 1 mg once a week. 
  • The dose then goes up to 1.7 mg once weekly from the thirteenth week onwards. 
  • Some patients might increase to a maximum dose of 2.4 mg once a week if advised by their healthcare provider, depending on their response and tolerance to the medication.

Dosing Schedules for Mounjaro

  • Patients start Mounjaro with a low dose of 2.5 mg once a week.
  • After four weeks, the dose increases to 5 mg once weekly.
  • Depending on the patient’s response and tolerance, the dose can be increased to 7.5 mg after another four weeks.
  • The maximum recommended increase, if needed, is to 10 mg once weekly after an additional four-week period.
  • In some cases, further increments to 12.5 mg and then to the highest dose of 15 mg once weekly may be considered based on efficacy and tolerability.
  • Each injection is given under the skin, which means it’s not like taking a pill.
  • The day chosen for the injection should stay the same each week to maintain consistency.
  • Patients must not miss doses; if they do, they should take it as soon as possible, within three days after the missed one.

Administration Methods for Wegovy and Mounjaro

Wegovy and Mounjaro are both administered via weekly injections using easy-to-use pens. Wegovy requires weekly doses, starting low and increasing gradually to help your body adjust. Store it in the fridge and let it warm to room temperature before use. Ensure the liquid is clear and colorless before injecting it into a clean, non-tender area on your belly, thigh, or arm.

Mounjaro, also given weekly, is flexible enough for home or on-the-go use without frequent doctor visits to support consistent weight loss management.

Patient Selection Criteria for Wegovy

Choosing the right patients for Wegovy involves clear guidelines and understanding. Matching this weight loss treatment with individuals who will benefit most from its use is crucial.

  • Adults with a BMI of 30 kg/m² or higher qualify for Wegovy.
  • BMI of 27-29.9 kg/m² with at least one weight-related condition (e.g., hypertension, type 2 diabetes) also qualifies.
  • Previous attempts at weight loss through diet and exercise without significant success are necessary before starting Wegovy.
  • Patients with heart issues should discuss risks with their healthcare provider, as Wegovy can affect heart rate.
  • Not suitable for pregnant women due to potential risks to the baby.
  • Avoid if there’s a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma.
  • It is not ideal for those currently using another GLP-1 receptor agonist.
  • Wegovy requires a commitment to long-term lifestyle changes.
  • Assess mental health before starting treatment.
  • Ensure no allergies to semaglutide before use.

Patient Selection Criteria for Mounjaro

Choosing suitable patients for Mounjaro treatment is vital to achieving the best weight loss outcomes. The drug’s unique action on appetite and metabolism suits specific individuals.

  • Recommended for those struggling with blood sugar management alongside diet and exercise.
  • Beneficial for individuals with conditions like hypertension or dyslipidemia.
  • Suitable for patients whose blood sugar remains high despite other treatments.
  • Patients must be able and willing to administer injections.
  • Ideal for those needing both blood sugar management and weight reduction.

Conclusion

Wegovy and Mounjaro support weight loss through different mechanisms—Wegovy controls appetite and boosts metabolism, while Mounjaro targets appetite and blood sugar. Both have side effects, so considering these and their dosing schedules is crucial. The choice depends on what best fits the patient’s needs.

FAQs

1. What is the difference between Wegovy and Mounjaro?

Wegovy and Mounjaro are both weight loss treatments but operate differently. It is essential to review each medication’s mechanism, side effects, and effectiveness to understand their distinctions.

2. How does Wegovy facilitate weight loss?

Wegovy aids weight loss by mimicking a hormone that targets brain regions responsible for appetite regulation, thereby increasing satiety.

3. How does Mounjaro facilitate weight loss?

Mounjaro (tirzepatide) facilitates weight loss by acting as an agonist for GLP-1 and GIP receptors, which helps suppress appetite, slow gastric emptying, and enhance insulin sensitivity. These actions promote a feeling of fullness, reduce food intake, and improve glucose metabolism, leading to effective weight loss.

4. Are Wegovy pen malfunctions common?

Reports of Wegovy pen malfunctions exist, but they are not widespread. Patients should consult their healthcare provider if they encounter any issues with the pen.

References

Aungst C. Wegovy vs. Mounjaro: 6 Important Differences. GoodRx. Published July 18, 2023. Accessed July 1, 2024. https://www.goodrx.com/conditions/weight-loss/mounjaro-vs-wegovy 

Wegovy vs. Mounjaro: What’s the Difference? Healthline. Published September 29, 2023. Accessed July 1, 2024. https://www.healthline.com/health/drugs/wegovy-vs-mounjaro

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