Mounjaro® (tirzepatide) and Ozempic® (semaglutide) have been gaining popularity recently, and you may be curious about the reasons behind their rise. Although weight loss is one of the effects these drugs may have, their impact goes beyond that.
Both Mounjaro® and Ozempic® influence metabolic systems in various ways. However, it’s important to note that they are not standalone “magic” solutions.
WHAT IS OZEMPIC® (SEMAGLUTIDE)?
Semaglutide, marketed under various brand names including Ozempic®, Wegovy®, and Rybelsus®, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1). Ozempic® and Rybelsus® are indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, while Wegovy® specifically targets overweight and obesity however patients need to meet specific criteria.
COMPARING TIRZEPATIDE (MOUNJARO®) AND SEMAGLUTIDE (OZEMPIC®, WEGOVY®)
Both tirzepatide (Mounjaro®) and semaglutide (Ozempic®, Wegovy®) exhibit promising results in improving metabolic health, reducing hemoglobin A1C (hbA1C) levels, and aiding in weight loss. Furthermore, data suggests that these drugs may decrease the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes and enhance cardiovascular outcomes.
Among the three brands, Ozempic®has been available for the longest time and Mounjaro might have a better weight loss success.
WHAT IS MOUNJARO?HOW DOES IT WORK?
Mounjaro® (tirzepatide) is an injectable medication designed for individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Mounjaro® operates similarly to other drugs in the GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) family but with an additional GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) receptor agonist. This combination stimulates the release of two distinct incretin hormones naturally produced by the human body.
According to a press release from Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical company manufacturing the medication, GIP is a hormone that complements the effects of GLP-1 receptor agonists. In preclinical models, GIP has demonstrated a decrease in food intake and an increase in energy expenditure, leading to weight reduction. When combined with GLP-1 receptor agonism, it may have more pronounced effects on metabolic dysregulation markers such as body weight, glucose, and lipids.
Incretin hormones are released when we consume food and serve various functions. They promote a feeling of fullness by delaying gastric emptying and activating the satiety centers in the brain.
In addition, they stimulate insulin production in the pancreas and suppress glucagon production, both of which help regulate blood sugar levels. Importantly, these effects occur in a glucose-dependent manner, reducing the risk of severe hypoglycemia when using incretin hormones or their synthetic counterparts, like GLP-1 and GIP receptor agonists, without other diabetes medications.
Overall, Mounjaro® and other medications in the GLP-1 family are believed to assist in lowering the body’s set point weight. The set point weight is the natural weight at which your body tends to settle due to factors such as genetics, biology, and environment. By reducing the set point weight, the likelihood of maintaining weight loss increases.
In individuals with overweight or obesity, studies have shown a potential reduction in the effects of natural incretin hormones, particularly if they have experienced frequent weight fluctuations from yo-yo dieting or have undergone bariatric surgery and experienced weight regain. GLP-1 medications help bridge this gap, making it easier to achieve weight loss goals and lower the metabolic set point.
WHAT IS Ozempic®(SEMAGLUTIDE) /HOW DOES IT WORK?
Ozempic® (semaglutide) functions similarly to Mounjaro®/tirzepatide by mimicking the incretin hormones naturally produced by the body when food is consumed. This action helps regulate appetite and can lead to lower blood glucose and A1C levels.
Ozempic® is a once-weekly medication in the GLP-1 receptor agonist class, used in adults with type 2 diabetes along with diet and exercise to improve glucose control. It is also prescribed to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events in adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease. Ozempic® helps release insulin and decreases glucose production by the liver in response to rising glucose levels during meals. Additionally, it slows down the absorption of glucose from meals.
Semaglutide has been extensively studied for over five years and has proven to be safe and effective for individuals with type 2 diabetes, as well as those with obesity or overweight. It is administered as a subcutaneous injection once a week.
While Mounjaro®/tirzepatide acts on both GIP and GLP-1 receptors, Ozempic® specifically targets GLP-1 receptors. This distinction does not make Ozempic® inferior in terms of improving metabolic health. The effectiveness of Ozempic® or any other drug depends on various individual factors, including genetic profile, health history, physical predispositions, lifestyle, and preferences.
For instance, some individuals may find that semaglutide is better tolerated by their bodies and produces fewer side effects compared to other more potent medications, while still achieving their goals at the same pace. Similarly, dosage requirements can vary, with some individuals needing to increase the dose quickly, while others may make progress on a lower dose for a longer duration.
These medications must be used in combination with other strategies to support metabolic health and enable sustainable weight reduction. These strategies may include dietary modifications, exercise routines, and other healthy lifestyle changes.
We are using both these medications with our patients with really good results, and we are happy to set up an initial evaluation. In addition to the medications our program is meticulously crafted to assist you in making minor adjustments to your dietary choices, sleep patterns, exercise routines, and emotional well-being practices. These adjustments are effortlessly sustainable and tailored to suit your specific circumstances, ensuring a personalized approach to your journey.
To your health,
Dana Neacsu, MD