Switching from Ozempic® to Mounjaro®: Everything You Need to Know
Feb 8, 2024
Learn how you can safely make that transition from Semaglutide to Tirzepatide.
Ozempic® and Mounjaro® are medications only offered by Novo Norodisk that perform similar actions in the body. Both are used in the long-term management of Type 2 Diabetes and weight loss resistance.¹ However, recent data show that these medications differ in terms of effectiveness, safety, and other clinical parameters.
People who have been on Ozempic® for a while now may have heard of Mounjaro® and could even be wondering if it’s time to try this new product. However, switching from Ozempic® to Mounjaro® isn’t as easy as you might think.
If you’re considering switching from Ozempic® to Mounjaro®, be sure to read about how this change could affect you. This article explains the similarities and differences between these medications, how you can transition from Ozempic® to Mounjaro®, and whether switching is right for you.
The Science Behind Ozempic® and Mounjaro®
After a meal, the human body releases hormones called incretin hormones to enhance insulin secretion.² The two most important incretin hormones are glucose-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). Ozempic® and Mounjaro® both contain incretin-like active ingredients and belong to the incretin drug class.
Incretin hormones effect on the body include:²
Reducing the secretion of the hormone glucagon, which reduces blood glucose
Suppressing the brain’s appetite centers
Slowing down intestinal digestion and nutrient absorption
Together, these actions reduce caloric intake, helping people curb their blood sugar levels and lose weight.
Ozempic® and Mounjaro® contain different active ingredients that also produce slightly different clinical results. The active ingredient in Ozempic® is Semaglutide, while the active ingredient in Mounjaro® is Tirzepatide. Comparing the pros and cons of these medications can guide you and your healthcare provider in choosing which one is more suitable for you.
What Is Semaglutide, and How Does It Work?
Semaglutide is the generic name of Ozempic®’s active ingredient. This molecule resembles GLP-1 in structure and function. Natural GLP-1 levels rise after eating, secreted by small intestinal cells in response to increased nutrient digestion and absorption.
GLP-1 acts on the brain, pancreas, and intestines to reduce caloric intake. The hormone also protects the heart by reducing inflammation and helping regulate blood pressure and lipid levels.²
GLP-1 is a beneficial hormone, however, its actions are brief. It only stays elevated in the body for a few minutes before the cells break it down and it is cleared away by the kidneys. This is where Semaglutide comes in. As a modified version of GLP-1, Semaglutide’s bodily effects last for one week.³
What Is Tirzepatide, and How Does It Work?
Tirzepatide is the generic name of Mounjaro®’s active ingredient. In contrast to Semaglutide, Tirzepatide acts like both GIP and GLP-1. GIP acts synergistically with GLP-1 to regulate blood glucose levels and body weight.⁴ Human GIP is secreted in another part of the small intestines, also in response to eating.
GIP acts on the same tissues as GLP-1. Additionally, it enhances energy expenditure by its effects on fat cells and some areas of the brain.⁴ Like GLP-1, GIP protects the heart by curbing inflammation and preventing enlargement.²
Natural GIP’s effects are also short-lived, like GLP-1. With Tirzepatide tirzepatide, this GIP and GLP-1 drug is long-acting and needs only to be administered once a week.⁵
What Are the Equivalent Doses of Ozempic® and Mounjaro®?
Based on comparative studies involving Semaglutide and Tirzepatide, 2 mg of injectable Semaglutide once weekly is equivalent to 5 mg of injectable Tirzepatide once weekly.⁶
What Factors Should You Consider When Switching from Ozempic® to Mounjaro®?
Both Ozempic® Semaglutide and Mounjaro® Tirzepatide help regulate blood sugar levels associated with Type 2 Diabetes.⁷ Various factors influence the decision to stay on one incretin drug or switch to another. The most important factors include the following:⁸
Better Control of Blood Glucose Levels and Weight
Incretin medications have different blood sugar and weight control potency levels, which both significantly impact heart health. Lack of improvement in blood sugar control or body weight is a potential reason patients switch from one incretin to another.
Added Heart-Protective Benefits
Adults with Type 2 Diabetes who have pre-existing heart conditions greatly benefit from incretins with known cardioprotective properties that protect heart health, like healthy blood pressure and lipid levels.⁹ A reduced occurrence of cardiovascular events like a heart attack may also convince patients to choose one medication over another.⁸
Minimal Side Effects
All GLP-1 medications can cause gastrointestinal disturbances, but nausea tends to resolve faster with long-acting ones. Patients consider this as an advantage of once-weekly medications like Semaglutide and Tirzepatide over once-daily injectables like liraglutide.
Other side effects that can make patients switch to another incretin include injection-site reactions and episodes when blood glucose levels dip below normal (hypoglycemia). The incidence of injection-site reactions correlates with injection frequency. For example, twice-daily exenatide typically causes more irritation than once-daily injectables. As for hypoglycemia, incretins rarely cause this side effect.
Most incretins are available as injectables. However, while these medications showed promise in clinical trials, this may not translate to good results in the general population. For example, not all patients comply with treatment regimens when it comes to injectable medications, especially if the injections are frequent.
Alongside this, the convenience of the injection device also factors into the decision to switch formulations among patients on regular incretin injections. Easy-to-use dosing systems like single-use pre-filled injection pens appeal to these individuals.
Generally, adherence to treatment is associated with lower medical costs. However, patients may overlook this advantage when forced to pay high out-of-pocket costs for treatments. Financial considerations are an important reason for switching to a different medication.
Is Tirzepatide More Effective Than Semaglutide?
Tirzepatide has been found to be more effective than Semaglutide when it comes to curbing blood sugar and weight loss in patients with Type 2 Diabetes.⁹
One clinical trial directly compared the effectiveness of Tirzepatidetirzepatide and Semaglutide in controlling blood sugar and body weight in people with Type 2 Diabetes. The study participants were divided into four groups and were injected with either 5 mg of Tirzepatide, 10 mg of Tirzepatide, 15 mg of Tirzepatide, or 1 mg of Semaglutide once weekly.
All Tirzepatide groups in the study showed significantly better blood sugar control than the Semaglutide group at the end of 40 weeks. A similar trend was observed in the participants’ body weight changes.⁹
Can Tirzepatide Protect the Heart More Than Semaglutide?
Both incretin medications have cardiovascular benefits, and studies on this matter are ongoing. It currently remains unclear which one provides more.
One clinical trial studied the direct effects of 0.5- and 1-mg weekly Semaglutide injections on cardiovascular risk in patients with diabetes.¹⁰ After 104 weeks of treatment, the Semaglutide-treated group had significantly less incidence of cardiovascular death, nonfatal heart attack, and nonfatal stroke than the placebo group.
The investigators concluded that Semaglutide significantly reduced cardiovascular risk. They attributed this reduction to the drug’s positive impact on HbA1c levels, body weight, and blood pressure.¹⁰
A similar study comparing Tirzepatide’s cardiovascular benefits with dulaglutide is ongoing. However, prior clinical trials showed that Tirzepatide improved HbA1c levels, body weight, blood pressure, lipid profile, insulin sensitivity, and liver enzyme levels in people with Type 2 Diabetes, which are indirect indicators of improving cardiovascular health.⁹
Is Tirzepatide Safer to Use Than Semaglutide?
When directly comparing Tirzepatide to Semaglutide, 5 to 7% of the Tirzepatide patients experienced serious adverse effects compared to 3% of those injected with Semaglutide, according to the above study.⁹
The most common side effects of both medications are mild-to-moderate gastrointestinal disturbances. However, in the clinical trial, more Tirzepatide-treated patients developed hypoglycemia, injection-site reactions, gallbladder disease, and hypersensitivity reactions than Semaglutide-treated individuals. Additionally, more patients in each Tirzepatide group discontinued treatment due to adverse events than in the Semaglutide group.⁹
Incretin medications are safe for most potential candidates, but everyone must be carefully screened before receiving a Semaglutide or Tirzepatide prescription. It’s also important to comply with the dosage instructions prescribed.⁸
If you’re seeing a licensed medical professional on the Henry Meds platform, you’ll receive high-quality health care while on incretin medications offered in the form of Compounded Semaglutide and Compounded Tirzepatide. Henry Meds does not offer weight management programs with Ozempic® or Mounjaro®.
Is Tirzepatide Easier to Use Than Semaglutide?
Ozempic® Semaglutide¹¹ and Mounjaro® Tirzepatide¹² are both available in single-use pre-filled injection pens. Both incretin medications also have a once-weekly schedule. If these were the only considerations for convenience, then you could say that these products are equally convenient.
However, both Ozempic®¹³ and Mounjaro®¹⁴ are currently on the FDA’s Drug Shortages list. That means these products are not easy to obtain in various locations in the country.
Fortunately, Henry Meds can help you get Compounded Tirzepatide and Compounded Semaglutide conveniently. These compounded medications are provided as a vial and syringe as opposed to the pre-filled injection pen format. By subscribing to our services, you will receive a supervised and personalized dosing and treatment plan that helps address your unique health needs.
Is Tirzepatide Cheaper Than Semaglutide?
A cost-effectiveness study showed that Tirzepatide gives more value for money than Semaglutide for weight reduction, despite it having a higher monthly cost. Patients spend $985 per 1% body weight reduction on Tirzepatide, compared to Semaglutide’s $1,845.¹⁵
Both medications’ cost is high regardless of their efficacy. Mounjaro®’s current list price is $1,023.04 per month’s supply,¹⁶ while, the current list price for Ozempic®’s Semaglutide is $935.77 per month’s supply.¹⁷
Semaglutide and Tirzepatide are beneficial medications. However, their accessibility limitations like unavailability and prohibitive costs, prevent patients from enjoying those benefits. Fortunately, the Henry Meds platform makes these medications highly accessible to everyone, regardless of which one they end up choosing.
Should You Switch from Ozempic® to Mounjaro®?
Ultimately, the decision to use one medication instead of another depends on individual factors. Benefits must be weighed against the risks, keeping in mind that these benefits and risks impact people differently.
Additionally, consider if you’ve been fully compliant with your current regimen as prescribed before thinking that switching medications might help you get the results you desire. Incretin drugs are intended to serve only as adjuncts to lifestyle modifications, which are still the first line of treatment for both conditions.⁷
If you do decide to switch, note the day of the last dose before transitioning. You must start using the new product 7 days after discontinuing the old one.⁶ Your healthcare provider on the Henry Meds will monitor your progress to ensure the new regimen is safe and effective for you.
How Can Henry Meds Help You Stay On Your Health Track?
Unavailability and exorbitant costs can make patients miss their medication doses. With Henry Meds, you don’t need to worry about problems like this anymore. The Henry Meds platform connects you with U.S.-licensed healthcare providers and pharmacists and FD&C-compliant compounding facilities.
The steps are simple. The first step requires you to visit the Henry Meds website and select a program, choose a location, and schedule a telehealth appointment with a provider on the Henry Meds platform. You will then be asked to create an account, provide health information, and verify your email. You’ll then receive an email with the telehealth appointment details and a link to the Doxy platform.
After attending the telehealth session, you will be issued a prescription if deemed appropriate for your health needs. You’ll then receive your prescribed medication and supplies by mail.
Finding a Sustainable and Safe Weight Loss and Anti-Diabetes Strategy
Choosing the right diabetes and weight management treatment is not a straightforward process. Besides effectiveness, other factors to seriously consider are the health and economic impact of any additional benefits, potential side effects, convenience, and cost. Patients and their clinicians must weigh the benefits and risks to ensure satisfaction with their new treatment.
When shifting from Semaglutide to Tirzepatide, 2 mg of once-weekly Semaglutide injections are equivalent to 5 mg of once-weekly Tirzepatide dosing. Start the new regimen 7 days after the last dose of your old medication. Your health provider may adjust your dose based on your tolerance and response to the new treatment.
Henry Meds can help ensure you start your health journey the right way and maintain your results. Our signup process is easy, and you can do it at the convenience of your home. Get started on your health journey today!
To help you trust the information we provide, every article written by Henry relies on peer-reviewed studies and medically-reviewed facts. We ensure that data, ideas, and figures cited are reliable, current, and accurate. Our team of medical reviewers aims to help you cut through the noise with clear and authoritative primary and secondary sources.
Nothing in this article is intended to be prescriptive or medical advice. Talk to your doctor before starting a new diet and exercise plan. The information presented is about our medically supervised weight management programs and is not an advertisement for a specific drug.
Please note: Henry Meds does not offer Ozempic® or Wegovy®, which are only available from the Novo Nordisk company. Compounded Semaglutide is a patient-specific medication created in a state Board of Pharmacy or FDA-licensed compounding facility per a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional. Compounded drugs are required to exclusively use ingredients from FDA-licensed facilities, and test sterile compounds for potency, sterility, and purity. While compounded drugs are legal they do not undergo pre-market approval from the FDA as they are not made in large batches for the public, compounds are made based on specific orders from a medical professional. Because of that, the dose, route of administration, safety, and efficacy may differ from commercially available, brand-name, drugs. Henry Meds exclusively works with licensed sterile compounding pharmacies in the United States.
Please note: Henry Meds does not offer Mounjaro® or Zepbound®, which are only available from the Eli Lilly company. Compounded Tirzepatide is a patient-specific medication created in a state Board of Pharmacy or FDA-licensed compounding facility per a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional. Compounded drugs are required to exclusively use ingredients from FDA-licensed facilities, and test sterile compounds for potency, sterility, and purity. While compounded drugs are legal they do not undergo pre-market approval from the FDA as they are not made in large batches for the public, compounds are made based on specific orders from a medical professional. Because of that the dose, route of administration, safety, and efficacy may differ from commercially available, brand-name, drugs. Henry Meds exclusively works with licensed sterile compounding pharmacies in the United States.
Wojtara, M., et al. (2023, September 20). Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists for Chronic Weight Management. Hindawi Advances in Medicine. 2023. https://doi.org/10.1155/2023/9946924
Drucker, D. J. and Holst, J. J. (October 2023). The expanding incretin universe: from basic biology to clinical translation. Diabetologia. 66(10). 1765-1779. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-023-05906-7
Lau, D. C. W., et al. (March 2022). Pharmacological profile of once-weekly injectable Semaglutide for chronic weight management. Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology. 15(3), 251-267. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512433.2022.2070473
Zaffina, I., et al. (2023, February 22). Effect of dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide/glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist on weight loss in subjects with obesity. Frontiers in Endocrinology. 14. https://doi.org/10.3389%2Ffendo.2023.1095753
Pelle, M. C. et al. (January 2022). Role of a Dual Glucose-Dependent Insulinotropic Peptide (GIP)/Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonist (Twincertin) in Glycemic Control: From Pathophysiology to Treatment. Life. 12(1). https://doi.org/10.3390%2Flife12010029
Whitley, H. P., et al. (Summer 2023). Special Report: Potential Strategies for Addressing GLP-1 and Dual GLP-1/GIP Receptor Agonist Shortages. Clinical Diabetes. 41(3). 467-473. https://doi.org/10.2337%2Fcd23-0023
Chakhtoura, M., et al. (2023, March 20). Pharmacotherapy of obesity: an update on the available medications and drugs under investigation. eClinicalMedicine. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(23)00059-7/fulltext
Almandoz, J. P., et al. (October 2020). Switching Between Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists: Rationale and Practical Guidance. Clinical Diabetes. 38(4), 390-402. https://dx.doi.org/10.2337/cd19-0100
Frias, J. P., et al. (2021, August 5). Tirzepatide versus Semaglutide Once Weekly in Type 2 Diabetes. The New England Journal of Medicine. 385. 503-515. https://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2107519
Marso, S. P., et al. (2016, November 10). Semaglutide and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. The New England Journal of Medicine. 375. 1834-1844. https://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1607141
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (December 2017). Ozempic Highlights of Prescribing Information. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/209637lbl.pdf
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (May 2022). Mounjaro Highlights of Prescribing Information. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2022/215866s000lbl.pdf
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (November 1, 2023). FDA Drug Shortages: Semaglutide Injection. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/drugshortages/dsp_ActiveIngredientDetails.cfm?AI=Semaglutide%20Injection&st=c
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (October 12, 2023). FDA Drug Shortages: Tirzapatide Injection. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/drugshortages/dsp_ActiveIngredientDetails.cfm?AI=Tirzepatide%20Injection&st=c
Azuri, J., et al. (April 2023). Tirzepatide versus Semaglutide for weight loss in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A value for money analysis. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. 25(4). 961-964. https://doi.org/10.1111/dom.14940
Lilly. (January 1, 2023). How much should I expect to pay for Mounjaro? Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://www.lillypricinginfo.com/mounjaro
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