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Like other well-known GLP-1 drugs—such as Wegovy®, made by competitor Novo Nordisk—Mounjaro™ is a once-weekly injectable medication that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Currently, it is indicated for use in patients with type @ diabetes but it shows promise as a weight-loss drug as well.
Clinical trials found doses of tirzepatide effective in reducing hemaglobin A1C levels and assisting with weight loss. Early data suggests that it may even reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke, though a trial tackling this question has not yet concluded.
Mounjaro™ is meant to be used alongside lifestyle changes, which include: changes to food, sleep, and exercise. It is expected that the drug will work best when accompanied by coaching and support from trained professionals.
The recommended starting dosage of Mounjaro™ is 2.5 mg. After 4 weeks, doses may be increased in 2.5 mg increments, as tolerated, up to a maximum of 15 mg once weekly. Doses are set and monitored by a healthcare provider and may be adjusted to help patients meet their blood sugar, weight loss, and metabolic health goals.
Mounjaro™ works similarly to the other drugs in the GLP-1 family, but it contains an extra molecule that may give it a slight edge.
The medication has a dual-action design, mimicking the action of not one but two incretin hormones involved in blood sugar control: Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). This unique dual action makes it the first-in-class medicine that acts on both of these receptors.
According to a press release published by Eli Lilly, “GIP is a hormone that may complement the effects of GLP-1 receptor agonists. In preclinical models, GIP has been shown to decrease food intake and increase energy expenditure therefore resulting in weight reductions, and when combined with GLP-1 receptor agonism, may result in greater effects on markers of metabolic dysregulation such as body weight, glucose and lipids.”
Incretin hormones are released whenever food is consumed. Among other things, they help promote a feeling of fullness by delaying gastric emptying and activating the satiety centers of the brain. They also boost insulin production in the pancreas, and suppress glucagon production, both of which help normalize blood sugar. All of this happens in a glucose-dependent manner, which means incretin hormones—or their imitators, i.e. GLP-1 and GIP receptor agonists—are unlikely to cause severe hypoglycemia.
What about your natural incretin hormones? Studies have found that people with overweight or obesity may have a reduction in incretin effects, particularly if they have had frequent weight fluctuations due to yo-yo dieting. GLP-1 medication narrows the gap, making it easier to reach your goals and lower your metabolic set point.