Overweight and obese adults taking a type 2 diabetes drug Mounjaro lost more weight than those on Ozempic, according to a study.
Mounjaro (tirzepatide) and Ozempic (semaglutide) are type 2 diabetes drugs increasingly used off-label for weight loss. Both medications belong to a class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists that help to suppress hunger and reduce food intake.
The new study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, included 18,386 overweight or obese patients who recently initiated treatment with either Mounnjaro or Ozempic. Only 51.7% of the participants had a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, suggesting that the rest had been taking the drugs for weight loss.
Patients on Mounjaro lost, on average, 8.3% of their body weight compared to 6.2% of individuals in the Ozempic group. Patients on tirzepatide experienced larger reductions in weight at three, six, and 12 months.
Within the first year of treatment, Mounjaro was found to be more superior in reducing weight than Ozempic:
- The majority (81.8%) of patients taking Mounjaro shed at least 5% of their body weight, in contrast to 64.6% of those on Ozempic.
- The larger percentage of Mounjaro users compared to patients taking Ozempic lost at least 10% of their body weight, 62.1% and 38%, respectively.
- Over four in ten patients (42.3%) in the Mounjaro group lost 15% or more of their body weight, compared to 19.3% of Ozempic users.
Effective but potentially risky
Clinical trials and real-world evidence have proven the effectiveness of GLP-1 agonists in managing type 2 diabetes and reducing weight. However, studies and anecdotal evidence link the medications to adverse gastrointestinal events, such as pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, and stomach paralysis.
In the new study, rates of adverse gastrointestinal events were similar between groups, with gastroenteritis, or inflammation of the stomach and intestines, being the most common.
Approximately half (55.1%) of the participants discontinued the treatment, potentially affecting the study findings. Researchers note that those observing desired weight reduction may be more likely to continue taking the medications, while those who did not experience weight change were more likely to discontinue the drugs.
Earlier in November, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved tirzepatide under the brand name Zepbound for chronic weight loss management. In clinical trials, the drug helped to reduce body weight by up to 18%.
While obesity poses multiple health risks, including type 2 diabetes and premature death, it is essential to consider possible adverse events before taking Mounjaro, Ozempic, and other GLP-1 agonists.