Medication Alternatives

Mounjaro Alternatives and Generics: An Overview of Weight Loss Options

Mounjaro, a dual-action medication for type 2 diabetes, leads to substantial weight loss but faces accessibility issues due to its high cost. Alternatives like semaglutide and compounded tirzepatide offer more affordable options, with healthcare providers like MD Exam providing personalized treatment plans.

MD EXAM

  • Friday, March 15, 2024

Approval and How it Works:

Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is a medication that was initially approved for medical use in the United states in May of 2022. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. Like other popular medications Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus, Mounjaro works by mimicking GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) hormone receptors, receptors in the gut responsible for feelings of fullness. Unlike these other medications, however, Mounjaro is a dual-acting medication, so it also activates GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) receptors. This dual-action is what truly sets Mounjaro apart from the competition, and is part of the reason it is so much more effective than traditional options.

Research Findings: Exceptional Outcomes

A 2023 clinical trial titled SURMOUNT found that the average person lost 26.6% of their weight over the treatment period of 84 weeks. If you read this article about Ozempic or any of the other articles about semaglutide, you may remember that the average person lost around 15% of their body weight. That’s a huge difference! As with any medication, results vary person by person, but as a whole Mounjaro is incredibly effective at treating obesity.

Barriers to Access

Unfortunately, a month of Mounjaro can cost over $1000, even at a low dose. Without insurance coverage, which we covered in this article, medications like Mounjaro are out of reach for many people that need it. So what are the options? Fortunately, there are two; alternatives and generics

Mounjaro Alternatives

Although not the first choice, there are many effective alternatives to tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Mounjaro. One alternative is semaglutide, also know by its brands Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus. As mentioned, the STEP trial, funded by pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, found that after 68 weeks of treatment the average person lost 14.9% of their bodyweight. Compared to traditional weight loss medications like phentermine, this is significantly higher. Many people also find semaglutide to be more tolerable than tirzepatide, likely due to it acting on fewer receptors, as well as cheaper. At MD Exam, most people trying to lose weight start on semaglutide then switch to tirzepatide if they want to lose weight more aggressively or hit a plateau.

Mounjaro Generics

The other option is a Mounjaro generic, though the proper term would be compounded tirzepatide. Generics cannot officially and legally exist until the specified term on a patent, but compounded medications serve a similar purpose. Compounded medications are cheaper and contain the same active ingredient as branded medications, but cannot be marketed and called the same name. If you’d like to deep-dive into compounding, read this article. Otherwise, read on for a brief explanation.

Compounding Explained

Compounding is a way of customizing medications to meet each patient's unique needs. This is especially helpful when regular medications aren't suitable due to allergies, intolerances, or other specific requirements.

In compounding, pharmacists team up with healthcare providers to create personalized medications. This could involve adjusting the dose, changing the form of the medicine (like turning a pill into a liquid), or leaving out ingredients that might cause problems.

Because compounded medication is custom formulated, they cannot be sold as brand names like Mounjaro. Tirzepatide made in a compounding pharmacy, for example, would be called compounded semaglutide. If it were labeled as Mounjaro, that would be incorrect and a violation of patent law.

Where Can I Get Alternatives or Generics?

To jump into using tirzepatide or semaglutide for weight loss, it's crucial to talk to a healthcare provider like the medical team at MD Exam. We offer semaglutide and tirzepatide at less than 1/3 of the retail price, and have a simple questionnaire where you share your medical history to set you up with a personalized weight loss plan. Usually we start people on semaglutide, a slightly cheaper and better tolerated medication than tirzepatide, which we save for people that want to lose weight more aggressively or aren’t happy with their progress on semaglutide. Both medications, however, have proven their effectiveness and are tolerated differently on a person-by-person basis.

Healthcare professionals, like the MD Exam team, play a big role in understanding overall health, creating personalized treatment plans, and explaining the possible risks and benefits. No offense taken if you don’t choose us, but be careful when looking for compounded medications! Most services only offer the retail price on branded medications, and services that offer cheaper, compounded versions can be shady. Look for accreditations, like LegitScript, thorough medical questions and testimonials.

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