Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro, like Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, is a GLP-1 medication and it is the first drug of its kind to be FDA approved for blood glucose control in type 2 diabetics. Along with this recent groundbreaking approval, there is also excitement among medical professionals about Mounjaro’s potential weight loss benefits for obese and overweight patients without type 2 diabetes. Read on to learn more about it.1
1.1 What is Mounjaro?
Mounjaro is an FDA-approved once weekly injection that helps regulate blood sugar levels when combined with diet and exercise for adults with Type 2 diabetes. Mounjaro is a receptor agonist for both GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 (Glucagon-like peptide-1) hormones which regulate appetite and satiety.2,3
1.2 How does Mounjaro work?
Mounjaro works differently than other type 2 diabetes medications by activating GIP and GLP-1 pathways to help regulate blood sugar. Mounjaro works for type 2 diabetes, as well as, for weight loss in several ways by helping the body release insulin when blood sugar is high, removing excess sugar from the blood, stopping the liver from making and releasing too much sugar, reducing hunger/appetite, and improving satiety by slowing down digestion. 5
1.3 Will Mounjaro get FDA approval for Weight loss?
Mounjaro approved as a type 2 diabetes medication. However, due to recent clinical trial results indicating it significantly aides with weight loss for obese and overweight adults without type 2 diabetes, it has been FDA-approved for weight loss as Zepbound.
1.4 Who is Mounjaro for?
Mounjaro is FDA-approved for adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
It is not known if Mounjaro is safe for those who have had pancreatitis, those under 18 years of age, or those who are breastfeeding. It is not used for people with Type 1 diabetes and should not be used by those that are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It should not be used by patients if they, or any of their family, have had medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or if they have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).6
As with all medications, Mounjaro does have a variety of side effects and there are some patients who should not take Mounjaro.
1.5 What are the side effects of Mounjaro?
In clinical trials for Mounjaro most side effects were mild to moderate. The most common side effects include:
- Reduced Appetite
- Stomach Pain
Other more serious side effects include pancreatitis, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), allergic reactions, kidney problems, stomach problems, changes in vision, gallbladder problems.7
1.6 Mounjaro Clinical Trial Results for Weight Loss
In a 72-week trial, participants with obesity who took 5 mg, 10 mg, or 15 mg of Mounjaro once weekly saw substantial and sustained reductions in body weight.7, 8
The trial enrolled 2,539 adults weighing an average of 231 lbs with an average BMI of 38. Participants in the study were randomly selected to receive Mounjaro at different doses, or a placebo. At the highest doses of Mounjaro participants lost almost 21% of their body weight compared to the participants taking the placebo who lost only 2-3% body weight.9
These results are very exciting for the world of weight loss medications.
1.7 How much does Mounjaro Cost?
Out of pocket cost may be quite daunting for Mounjaro. According to GoodRX, it will retail between $900 and $1000/month.10
However, we may see similar programs like the one for Wegovy, where out of pocket expense could be reduced to as little as $25/month for qualifying patients.