Mounjaro: the New Diabetes Drug and Its Weight-loss Impact
Many people dream of a simple way to lose weight and permanently maintain it. Mounjaro, made by the manufacturer Eli Lilly, is the latest weight loss drug on the market and is hailed as a secret weapon. It follows the trend of the weight loss injection Ozempic, which made waves in 2022. Mounjaro has been approved in the USA since 2022 and has also received approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), but is currently not yet available in the UK, but could be available in 2024 in England and Wales.
Here you can read up on all the essential information about the weight loss injection Mounjaro.
In this article:
What is Mounjaro and how does it work?
How is Mounjaro used?
Is Mounjaro for Weight Loss approved in Europe?
Do you need a prescription for Mounjaro?
What are the possible Mounjaro side effects?
Is It Suitable to Take Mounjaro for weight loss?
Where can you get Mounjaro in the UK?
Frequently asked questions about Mounjaro
What Is Mounjaro and How Does It Work?
Mounjaro is an innovative medication with the active ingredient Tirzepatide, which helps patients with type-2 diabetes regulate blood sugar levels and stimulate insulin release. The active ingredient mimics two important intestinal hormones (GLP1 and GIP), which also delay gastric emptying, contributing to prolonged satiety, which can lead to the added effect of weight loss. Having a more stable blood sugar level also reduces cravings, which can be a reason for overeating.
The long-term result can therefore lead to weight loss. But a medication like Mounjaro works best alongside lifestyle changes, involving healthy eating and regular exercise.
How Is Mounjaro Used?
Mounjaro is an injectable solution that diabetes patients administer to themselves once a week. In the approval studies, a small dose was started with, and the active ingredient dosage was increased weekly to 2.5mg to the final Mounjaro dosage, which is also now recommended in practice.
Is Moujaro for Weight Loss Approved in Europe?
Various studies on type-2 diabetics have demonstrated the positive effect of Mounjaro compared to placebo groups. Having assessed the side effects, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Mounjaro in 2022 as a medication for type-2 diabetes patients. The EMA has also already approved Mounjaro in Europe for diabetics. However, the medication is prescription-only for people with diabetes, like comparable injections, whilst Mounjaro for weight loss is not an approved use of the drug.
Currently, the medication is not available in the UK even for diabetes patients. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published draft guidance to approve the use of tirzepatide. Once the final guidance is published, the NHS will start rolling out the drug's use, but only for diabetes patients, and not as a general weight-loss injection. Note that this will only apply to England and Wales.
Do You Need a Prescription for Mounjaro?
Where it has been approved, Mounjaro is only available through prescription, and then only for patients with type-2 diabetes.
Ozempic is a similar injectable. In countries where it is legal to do so, some doctors prescribe it for ‘off-label’ use, meaning specifically for weight loss rather than diabetes. This leads to Ozempic often not being available – not even for the diabetics who have started therapy.
Whether similar scenarios would occur with Mounjaro when the medication is made available in the UK remains to be seen.
What Are the Possible Mounjaro Side Effects?
Amongst the study participants, the following Mounjaro side effects frequently occurred from administering Mounjaro dosages:
Most side effects were described as mild to moderate; only a small portion of the patients complained of side effects in stronger form.
In addition, the manufacturer Eli Lilly also warns of rare, severe side effects, such as:
If a patient has a family history of thyroid cancer diseases, the manufacturer advises against using Mounjaro.
Is It Suitable to Take Mounjaro for weight loss?
The study suggests that overweight diabetes patients can achieve a significant weight reduction of up to 20 percent of their starting weight with the steady use of Mounjaro dosage. Since the medication is not approved for overweight persons without diabetes, there is no data on its effect on these cases. Off-label use is strongly discouraged because:
There is no experience with therapy in non-diabetic overweight individuals.
It would lead to significantly higher demand and supply shortages for diabetes patients, as seen if comparing Moujaro vs. Ozempic.
Where Can You Get Mounjaro in the UK?
Tirzepatide is currently going through approval for NHS prescription in England and Wales. Until then, it remains unavailable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Beneficial to Take Mounjaro for weight loss?
Currently, type-2 diabetes patients are the only instances where Mounjaro is administered. Further studies are required to confirm its efficacy in helping people without diabetes to lose weight.
Is Mounjaro Available in the UK?
No, however it is on the cusp of approval as a prescription medication for type-2 diabetes patients only, who will be able to use a course of Mounjaro for weight loss and aleviating the symptoms of their condition.
How Much Weight Can You Lose with Mounjaro?
Study participants lost an average of over ten percent of their starting weight over the study period, though a weight reduction of 20 percent is not uncommon. However, the relapse rate and weight gain after the end of the Mounjaro therapy are high if a permanent change in diet and more exercise are not maintained after the course of therapy.
At Qunomedical, we are committed to providing you with the latest information and developments in the healthcare sector. If you have any questions about Mounjaro or other topics, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The Ohio State University (2022): 'Tirzepatide (Mounjaro)', last accessed on 12.10.2023
Diabetes UK (2023): 'Mounjaro Approved by NICE for Treating Type-2 Diabetes', last accessed on 12.10.2023
Ania M Jastreboff, MD et al (2022): 'The New England Journal of Medicine: Tirzepatide Once Weekly for the Treatment of Obesity', last accessed on 12.10.2023