Young woman on laptop researching Mounjaro® vs. Wegovy® for weight loss

Mounjaro® Vs. Wegovy® For Weight Loss

Medically reviewed on Aug 23, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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In the US, an estimated 73.6% of adults aged 20 and over are overweight. [1] To that end, weight loss to improve health outcomes is a common concern amongst Americans.

If you’re looking to lose body weight to improve your overall well-being, you may have come across medications like Mounjaro® or Wegovy®. While both of these medications may help support weight loss goals, it’s important to understand how they work, the potential side effects, and what requirements you need to meet to secure a prescription from a healthcare provider.

Below, we cover the key distinctions between Mounjaro® vs. Wegovy® to help you decide which medication could be right for you.

How Does Mounjaro® Work?

Mounjaro® is the brand name for a drug called ‘tirzepatide’. It’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. [2] However, as of 2022, it hasn’t been approved for the treatment of weight loss in the absence of type 2 diabetes. [3]

Tirzepatide is used to treat type 2 diabetes because it impacts two metabolic hormones related to blood sugar regulation [4]:

  • Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP)
  • Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)

By impacting these hormones, Mounjaro® increases insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that allows the body to absorb glucose obtained from food sources. [5] Insulin resistance is a condition in which your body becomes less responsive to insulin, flooding the bloodstream with glucose. [5] People with type 2 diabetes are insulin resistant. [5]

Thus, Mounjaro® works to repair insulin resistance, helping the body do a better job of processing and removing glucose from the blood. It also has the effect of [5]:

  • Stalling digestion, specifically by delaying gastric emptying [2]
  • Decreasing appetite

In combination, these effects may also result in weight loss.

Who Can Use Mounjaro®?

Healthcare providers may prescribe Mounjaro® to qualifying patients who have type 2 diabetes.

The medication is not prescribed to patients who [2]:

  • Have type 1 diabetes
  • Exclusively want to lose weight

How Does Wegovy® Work?

Wegovy® is the brand name for a version of a drug known as ‘semaglutide’. [6] Semaglutide is primarily used to manage type 2 diabetes, though it can also assist with weight loss. [7] It works as a weight loss treatment in two ways [7]:

  • Raises levels of insulin, helping to lower glucose levels in the bloodstream (blood sugar). [7]
  • Inhibits glucose from flooding the bloodstream, slowing down digestion.

For this reason, people who take Wegovy® may feel fuller earlier, or after eating less food than usual. Wegovy® is taken by injection, usually to the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. [6,7]

Semaglutide is the same weight loss drug found in the medication Ozempic®, which may also be used for weight loss purposes. [6] However, Wegovy® has a higher maximum dose— as the dose for Ozempic® is 2 milligrams per week, while Wegovy®’s dose is 2.4 milligrams per week. [6]

Who Can Use Wegovy®?

A healthcare provider may prescribe Wegovy® if you meet the following criteria [8]:

  • You have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more
  • You have a BMI of 27 with one or more of the following conditions:
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    • High cholesterol

If you’re prescribed Wegovy®, it’s likely your weight loss treatment plan will also involve making dietary and behavioral changes.7 Proper nutrition and regular exercise are equally important components of a weight loss protocol that includes Wegovy®. [7]

Pros And Cons of Mounjaro® Vs. Wegovy®

Mounjaro® and Wegovy® are two very different drugs, though they both may result in body weight loss for people who use them. If you have type 2 diabetes, you might qualify for a prescription, but you’ll need to consult with a healthcare provider to get one.

If your healthcare provider has recommended one or both of these medications, knowing the following advantages and disadvantages of either weight loss drug can help you choose which is right for you.

See related: Overweight vs. Obese

Mounjaro® Side Effects And Drawbacks

Mounjaro® can be a helpful drug for people with type 2 diabetes, but it may require some planned adjustments in cooperation with your healthcare provider. If you’re considering using Mounjaro®, bear in mind that:

  • Mounjaro® requires frequent blood sugar monitoring – People who take Mounjaro® as a weight loss medication must keep a close eye on their glucose levels.9 In some cases, the medication can cause blood sugar to dip too low, which could result in a condition known as ‘hypoglycemia’ or even loss of consciousness. However, many people with type 2 diabetes already monitor their glucose levels frequently.
  • Mounjaro® should not be used in conjunction with insulin injections – Taking an insulin injection for type 2 diabetes and Mounjaro® at the same time could put users at risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). [2] If you’re in the habit of using insulin, be sure to discuss how to use the two medicines in your routine while minimizing adverse health reactions.
  • Mounjaro® may require you to limit your intake of alcohol – If you drink alcohol regularly or occasionally, you may be at risk of developing extremely low blood sugar. [9] It’s crucial to discuss your habits with your healthcare provider to avoid health repercussions when using Mounjaro®. [9]
  • Mounjaro® requires you to keep a close eye on your use of other medications – Some drugs, including over-the-counter (OTC) medications like aspirin or antihistamines, may be counteracted when used alongside Mounjaro®. [2] If you need to use these types of medications for a common concern like headaches or allergies, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before taking Mounjaro®.

Additionally, like most medications, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the side effects that can come with the use of Mounjaro®. These include [2]:

  • Risk of thyroid tumors in people with thyroid cancer
  • Kidney damage
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders
  • Gallbladder disorders
  • Pancreatitis

Everlywell Weight Loss Support

Wegovy® Side Effects And Drawbacks

Wegovy® can be a supportive weight loss medication for people with type 2 diabetes, as well as people who are focused on losing weight. That said, there are some considerations to bear in mind before starting Wegovy®:

  • Wegovy® may cause allergic reactions in some people – Some people are allergic to semaglutide. Common symptoms of an allergy to Wegovy® include [7]:
    • Rash
    • Hives or itchiness
    • Swelling, especially of the tongue, throat, mouth, and face
    If you experience any of these symptoms, contact a healthcare provider immediately.
  • Wegovy® may interfere with oral contraceptives – If you’re on oral hormonal contraceptives (e.g. birth control pills), your healthcare provider may require you to choose a different birth control method. [10]
  • Wegovy® may be hazardous to babies in utero – Medical studies have yet to be conducted on Wegovy®’s effects on pregnant people, so it’s unclear whether the medication may be hazardous for fetal development. [10] If you’re pregnant or considering growing your family, be sure to let a healthcare provider know before taking Wegovy®. [10]
  • Wegovy® may not be ideal for people with certain pre-existing conditions – Wegovy®’s efficacy and effects may be complicated or reduced if you’re living with a chronic health condition. It’s important to discuss your options with a healthcare provider if you have any of the following health conditions [7]:
    • Eye disease
    • Kidney disease or damage
    • Digestive or stomach issues
    • Thyroid cancer or a family history of thyroid cancer

It’s common for people who take Wegovy® to observe side effects, particularly as they adjust to the medication. The side effects that may not require medical intervention include [7]:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Mild nausea
  • Slight stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you’re persistently experiencing these symptoms to the point of distress, it’s best to reach out to your care team. Wegovy® isn’t the only way to treat type 2 diabetes or meet weight loss goals, and it may be worth exploring other options with your healthcare provider’s guidance.

Mounjaro® Vs. Wegovy®: Which Should I Use?

Your clinical eligibility for taking Mounjaro® or Wegovy® may differ. If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may be eligible to use either medication. If your goal is to lose weight, but you do not have type 2 diabetes, you may be eligible for a Wegovy® prescription if your healthcare provider deems it necessary.

But, before taking either medication to help with chronic weight management, it’s important to acknowledge that both medicines may require you to make significant lifestyle or behavioral changes. These adjustments can help you weather any side effects you may experience, as well as support your weight loss goals.

And remember, better health isn’t solely about weight loss. A balanced diet full of nutrient-dense foods, regular physical exercise, and activities that reduce stress can all help your body get back to a healthy baseline and help you cultivate a sense of enduring well-being.

See related: What is a Balanced Diet?

Take Action On Your Weight Goals With Everlywell

Whether you want to monitor your metabolism or keep tabs on your thyroid health during your weight loss journey, Everlywell helps you stay informed about your wellbeing from the comfort and convenience of home with a collection of easy-to-use, at-home test kits.

Additionally, our Weight Care+ program provides you with access to a broad network of telehealth experts in weight loss. By enrolling in our online weight loss program, you’ll find a comprehensive support system alongside one-on-one virtual visits with licensed clinicians, healthy lifestyle content, and access to GLP-1 receptor agonist prescriptions for qualified candidates.

To discover how Everlywell can complete your picture of total health, visit Everlywell online today.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FastStats - Overweight Prevalence. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published 2019. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  2. DailyMed - MOUNJARO- tirzepatide injection, solution. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  3. News ABC. Popular diabetes drug Mounjaro could be FDA-approved for weight loss this year, company says. ABC News. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  4. Jastreboff AM, Aronne LJ, Ahmad NN, et al. Tirzepatide Once Weekly for the Treatment of Obesity. New England Journal of Medicine. 2022;387(3). Doi:10.1056/nejmoa2206038URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  5. Cleveland Clinic. Insulin Resistance: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment. Cleveland Clinic. Published December 16, 2021. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  6. Semaglutide (Subcutaneous Route) Side Effects - Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  7. Semaglutide Injection. Cleveland Clinic. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  8. FDA. FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014. FDA. Published June 4, 2021. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  9. Tirzepatide (Subcutaneous Route) Precautions - Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed Aug 21, 2023.
  10. DailyMed - WEGOVY- semaglutide injection, solution. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
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