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What is Tirzepatide (Mounjaro)?

Tirzepatide, sold under the brand name Mounjaro, is an FDA-approved novel injectable prescription medicine recommended as an adjunct to exercise and diet to improve blood glucose (sugar) levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Mounjaro is not indicated for use in individuals with type 1 diabetes. While not recommended for weight loss, Mounjaro also led to significantly greater weight reductions in clinical trials, heaping more admiration in the weight loss community for its incredible promise in cutting weight. Tirzepatide does not have a direct impact on your weight. But the loss of weight is a result of using this diabetes medication. However, Mounjaro is still awaiting approval to assist patients in losing weight, despite many doctors prescribing it off-label. The US-based pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company is the manufacturer of Tirzepatide (Mounjaro).

Indications for Tirzepatide (Mounjaro)

Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is indicated for the treatment of diabetes when diet and exercise have failed to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. It is also recommended to counter excess weight and obesity off-label by many doctors when patients are unable to lose weight with exercise and diet.

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia, the presence of high glucose levels in the blood. The level of glucose in the blood is regulated by insulin – an essential hormone produced by the pancreas. Impaired production or function of insulin increases glucose levels in the blood. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is the most common type of diabetes. It is a chronic and progressive condition in which the body does not produce or utilize insulin normally, resulting in increased levels of glucose in the blood.

Obesity is a chronic condition in which there is an excessive accumulation of fat in the body, most commonly due to unhealthy diet and eating habits. Obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 to 34.9 and extreme or morbid obesity is a BMI of 40 or more. Obesity is a global problem affecting people of almost all age groups and is associated with increased risk of cardiac problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing difficulties, and other diseases.

How Does Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) Work?

The pancreas is situated just below the stomach and produces enzymes for the digestion of food, and the hormones insulin and glucagon for the regulation of blood glucose. Glucagon increases your blood sugar level and prevents it from dropping too low, whereas insulin decreases blood sugar levels. The pancreas consists of a group of cells called the islets of Langerhans, which produce and store the hormone. Carbohydrates in the food we eat are broken down to form glucose, which is either used immediately by the muscles and liver as energy or stored for later use. When levels of blood glucose start rising after a meal, the islets of Langerhans secrete insulin, which transports sugar to the body cells. If the pancreas fails to produce sufficient amounts of insulin or the body’s cells are insensitive to the hormone, glucose starts accumulating in the bloodstream, leading to diabetes.

A glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) are hormones involved in blood glucose control. Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is the first and only FDA-approved drug that is both a GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist. When taken, it activates the GIP and GLP-1 hormones, prompting the body to produce more insulin for blood sugar control. It also manipulates the brain by sending fullness signals to it, causing you to cut back on food and extra calories. This results in improved blood glucose control and offers an extra weight loss boost. Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is administered by injection underneath the skin once a week, with the dose adjusted as tolerated to achieve blood sugar goals. It is available in 6 doses (2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg) and comes in a well-established auto-injector pen with a pre-attached, hidden needle that patients do not have to handle or see.

What are the Precautions to be Followed While Taking Tirzepatide (Mounjaro)?

Precautions involved with taking Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) include:

  • Read the instruction manual carefully that comes with Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) before use.
  • You should use Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) just as your doctor has advised you to.
  • Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is injected underneath the skin of your upper arm, stomach, or thigh.
  • You should take Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) once a week, at any time of the day.
  • You should not mix Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) and insulin together in the same injection.
  • You may administer an injection of insulin and Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) in the same body area, such as your stomach area, but not right next to each other.
  • Change or rotate your site of injection with each weekly injection. Do not use the same site for each injection.
  • If you take too much Tirzepatide (Mounjaro), call your doctor or seek medical advice immediately.

What are the Side Effects of Tirzepatide (Mounjaro)?

Some of the common side effects of Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Indigestion

Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) may also cause serious side effects, such as:

  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Changes in vision
  • Severe stomach problems
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Kidney problems (kidney failure)

What are the Warnings Associated with Tirzepatide (Mounjaro)?

Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) may cause thyroid tumors, including cancer of the thyroid. You are advised to look for possible symptoms, such as a swelling or lump in the neck, trouble swallowing, hoarseness, or shortness of breath. If you have a symptom, report it to your physician promptly. Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is also contraindicated in individuals with a family or personal history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or in individuals with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).


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