Summary: Early studies show that many antidiabetic drugs are also suitable for weight loss. They work by reducing insulin resistance and influencing gastrointestinal incretins, thus slowing down intestinal motility, and decreasing appetite. One of the incretin mimetics, Ozempic, is already widely used for weight loss. However, now studies show that one of the new diabetes drugs, Mounjaro is even more effective than Ozempic. In fact, it appears to be the most effective drug for weight loss.
Obesity and metabolic disorders are often closely linked with diabetes. Obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and individuals with type 2 diabetes often struggle with weight management. This is because insulin resistance, which is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, can cause weight gain by reducing the body’s ability to burn fat and promoting the storage of excess glucose as fat.
Many antidiabetic drugs, such as metformin and GLP-1 receptor agonists, have been found to have beneficial effects on weight management in addition to their glucose-lowering effects. These drugs can improve insulin sensitivity and promote weight loss by reducing appetite, increasing satiety, and promoting the burning of fat.
Incretin mimetics are a class of drugs that mimic the effects of incretin hormones, which are naturally produced in the gut in response to food intake. Incretins promote insulin secretion, reduce glucagon secretion, and slow down gastric emptying, which can lead to improved glucose control and weight loss.
Several incretin mimetics have been approved for weight loss, including liraglutide (Saxenda), semaglutide (Wegovy), and exenatide (Byetta). Clinical trials have shown these drugs to reduce body weight and improve metabolic parameters significantly.
Among the above-mentioned incretin mimetics, liraglutide and semaglutide are most commonly used for weight loss or managing obesity. Among these two, semaglutide (also known as Ozempic or Wegovy) is more potent. Hence, Ozempic or semaglutide is the now preferred incretin mimetic or antidiabetic drug that is also commonly used for weight loss.
However, things are changing fast, and new incretin mimetics are emerging. In 2022, US FDA approved tirzepatide (Mounjaro) for managing diabetes. It is used as once a week injection. However, new studies show that this drug is unique in many ways and more potent than other existing drugs from the class. An increasing number of studies also show that it is highly effective for weight loss.
How Mounjaro Stacks Up Against Other Diabetes Drugs for Weight Loss?
Mounjaro may soon be approved for weight loss, and clinical evidence suggests that it is the most effective drug for weight loss. It is more effective than metformin and even more effective than liraglutide and semaglutide (Ozempic or Wegovy).
There is a reason why Mounjaro is more effective than Ozempic. The two major incretins produced by the intestine are Gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). All early incretin mimetics like liraglutide, semaglutide (Ozempic of Wegovy), and exenatide only act as GLP-1 mimetics. However, Mounjaro is technically a drug belonging to a new class as it acts both as GLP-1 and GIP mimetics. Thus, it has some distinct health benefits. For example, GIP facilitates fat deposition and promotes bone formation, thus having greater metabolic health benefits.
Fortunately, there is a head-to-head clinical trial comparing Ozempic and Mounjaro. Results from studies like STEP 2 and SURPASS-2 show that Ozempic (already approved for weight loss) and Mounjaro are quite comparable, but Mounjaro is slightly better for weight loss. Thus, 2.4 mg semaglutide (Ozempic or Wegovy) could result in a 9-10% weight loss in 40 weeks. However, Mounjaro resulted in 11% weight loss in 40 weeks at a maximum allowed dosage (15 mg weekly). So, as one can see that Mounjaro is definitely superior, though the difference is marginal.
However, it is worth keeping in mind that Mounjaro is more effective than other diabetic drugs for weight loss, but it also commonly causes gastrointestinal symptoms. Studies show that many patients have to discontinue Mounjaro due to more severe gastrointestinal issues. Hence, it would be correct to say that though Mounjaro is one of the most effective weight loss drugs in its class, but it is not necessarily the safest. On the other hand, Ozempic may be slightly inferior to Mounjaro, but it has a better safety profile. Moreover, observations show that gastrointestinal side effects with Ozempic are more severe only in the first few weeks. After that, the body adapts to the drug, and a person starts tolerating the drug much better.
To conclude, we are living in exciting times as more effective drugs are being introduced each year for weight loss. Thus, now there is a hope that in the coming years, most people will be able to manage obesity with the help of oral medicines.