Ozempic vs. Mounjaro: What Is the Difference?

Apr 2, 2024 | Weight Loss

Ozempic and Mounjaro can be used to treat type 2 diabetes. You’ve likely heard of them because they’ve recently made waves in the news and across social media— especially because of their use and effectiveness in promoting weight loss.

While Mounjaro and Ozempic are not FDA-approved for weight loss, doctors frequently prescribe them off-label for this purpose. Both drugs are approved for managing blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and have shown promising results. However, there are differences in these medications’ modes of action and approved uses.

Here’s everything you should know.


What Is Mounjaro?

Mounjaro is a medication approved by the FDA in May of 2022 to help manage blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. It’s made by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and has the active ingredient tirzepatide. Tirzepatide is also found in Zepbound, an obesity medication Eli Lilly makes.

Tirzepatide is a medication in the class of dual glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor agonists.

The combined activity of GIP and GLP-1 impacts blood sugar and food intake in several ways, including:

  • Causing the pancreas to secrete insulin in response to increased blood sugar
  • Reducing glucagon release, which helps reduce blood sugar levels
  • Decreasing food intake, suppressing appetite, and slowing the emptying of the stomach
  • Encouraging a feeling of satiety after eating

Mounjaro is the first and only medication that stimulates GLP-1 and GIP, two gut hormones that control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

The medication comes as a prefilled pen with a needle attached to the end. Patients receive it once weekly as a subcutaneous injection (administered under the skin).


What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a brand name for semaglutide, a diabetes medication made by Novo Nordisk. Ozempic has FDA approval to control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Semaglutide is also found in Wegovy, an obesity medication that Novo Nordisk also makes.

Semaglutide belongs to the group of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. This differentiates it from dual GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonists such as Zepbound and Mounjaro.

GLP-1 medication works like GLP-1, a hormone naturally produced in the gut as a reaction to food consumption. This alerts the pancreas to produce more insulin, a hormone that reduces blood sugar.

Insulin helps enter glucose into your cells to be stored for future use or used as energy. When insulin is required, such as after a meal, when blood sugar levels rise, GLP-1 makes sure that it is released.

GLP-1 also lowers glucagon production, another hormone released by the pancreas. Glucagon signals the liver to produce stored sugar into the bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels. GLP-1 reduces the action of glucagon, limiting the excessive release of glucose from the liver.

Like Mounjaro and Zepbound (tirzepatide), Ozempic and Wegovy (semaglutide) may also help delay the stomach’s emptying. This helps regulate how quickly the bloodstream absorbs the carbohydrates from your meal. This slow release of nutrients after eating can help avoid sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.

Ozempic not only helps in blood sugar regulation, but it may also help lower the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes, in people with type 2 diabetes who also have a known heart condition.

Ozempic comes in various dosages and is administered to patients as a once-weekly injection.


What Are the Differences Between Mounjaro and Ozempic?

The main difference between Ozempic and Mounjaro is in their active components. Ozempic has semaglutide, while Mounjaro has tirzepatide. The mechanism of action also differs from the two medications.

As mentioned above, Mounjaro functions as a dual mechanism of GIP and GLP-1, targeting both glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptors. On the other hand, Ozempic works as a GLP-1 receptor agonist, stimulating only the GLP-1 receptors.

The dosages of the medications vary as well. Mounjaro’s dosage starts at 2.5 mg once a week. After four weeks, the weekly dose is increased to 5 mg. Mounjaro dosages can be increased to a maximum of 15 mg once per week. Ozempic is started at a dose of 0.25 mg once a week. After four weeks, the dose is increased to 0.5 mg. Ozempic can only be taken up to 2 mg once each week.

While both medications have been approved for type 2 diabetes, the FDA has also approved Ozempic to help lower the risk of serious cardiovascular events, including heart attacks, strokes, and death, in people with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. While research shows that Mounjaro can help lower blood pressure, which may help lower the risk of heart problems, it is not officially approved for this function.


Who Are These Medications for? Who Should Not Use Ozempic vs Mounjaro?

Ozempic and Mounjaro are safe medications with several benefits. However, these medications are eligible for you if you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above or 27 or higher and have a weight-related medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, sleep apnea, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

While semaglutide and tirzepatide can be beneficial for many people with type 2 diabetes, certain groups of people should not use these medications or should use them with caution under medical supervision. These include:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Under 18 years of age
  • Personal or Family History of pancreatitis
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)

If you consider Ozempic or Mounjaro, it’s important to discuss your medical history, including any existing health conditions or medications, with your healthcare provider to determine if they’re appropriate for you. Only a qualified healthcare professional can provide personalized medical advice regarding using weight loss medications.


Is Mounjaro More Effective Than Ozempic?

Ozempic and Mounjaro may both be used to help reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Research on Ozempic and Mounjaro suggests both medications effectively treat this disease.

However, more research shows that Mounjaro may be more effective than Ozempic for controlling blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. These results suggest that Mounjaro can be more effective in helping people with type 2 diabetes lose weight. Losing weight may reduce some risks associated with type 2 diabetes.

It’s important to remember that your Ozempic or Mounjaro results might not match those from the research. Your doctor may advise whether Ozempic and Mounjaro are best for you.

Some persons may be more susceptible to the negative effects of Ozempic or Mounjaro. If you’re prone to gastrointestinal side effects, your doctor may recommend Ozempic since higher doses of Mounjaro are more likely to cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort.


Can You Combine Mounjaro and Ozempic?

Medical professionals advise against taking Ozempic and Mounjaro at the same time or combining two GLP-1 medications simultaneously. But, your doctor might mix one of these medications with other diabetes medications like metformin.

Your doctor may also increase the dosage or switch you to another medication if you do not see the desired results with the first one.

Remember to discuss your current prescriptions with your medical professional before beginning any new medication to avoid harmful combination effects. Your pharmacist may also help you identify combinations that could be harmful when filling your prescriptions.


Ozempic vs. Mounjaro for Weight Loss

Ozempic and Mounjaro are not FDA-approved for weight loss. They’re approved as diabetes medications to regulate blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. However, medical professionals provide them with off-label prescriptions. Studies also suggest that Ozempic and Mounjaro are effective in helping people with obesity lose weight and maintain it as long as they stay on the medication.

While Ozempic and Mounjaro have both significantly reduced weight when paired with lifestyle changes in those who were overweight or obese, Mounjaro seems to provide more impressive weight loss outcomes when taken at the highest possible dose.

Research on semaglutide, the active ingredient of Ozempic and Wegovy, shows that individuals who paired weekly injections of 1 mg with diet and exercise were able to lose an average of up to 7% of their body weight in a year, outperforming the placebo group by several percentages. It has been shown that taking 2.4 mg of semaglutide once a week can help people lose an average of 15% of their body weight.

In another study, Mounjaro helped more than half of the participants lose over 20% of their body weight (while taking the highest dose of tirzepatide, 15 mg per week). Other than bariatric surgery, no weight loss strategy has matched this degree of weight loss.

Remember that every person responds differently, and the dosage plays a significant role. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Mounjaro is the best medication for you because it shows higher weight loss results in research trials. The choice of which is best for you depends on several factors. Your body may respond better to one drug’s side effects than the other. Cost may also be an issue.


Are Ozempic and Mounjaro Approved for Weight Loss?

These medications are not yet FDA-approved for weight loss. They’re approved for the management of type 2 diabetes in adults.

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, is approved for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy at a dosage of 2.4 mg, while tirzepatide, the active component of Mounjaro, is approved for weight loss and weight management in some adults under the brand name, Zepbound. Zepbound and Wegovy are prescribed alongside a low-calorie diet and exercise.


How Do Dosage and Administration Compare for Ozempic and Mounjaro?

Ozempic and Mounjaro are administered once a week using pen injectors that are prefilled with the drug. Ozempic has four dosages: 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg, and 2.0 mg. Each pen injector has four doses or one month’s worth of medication.

Mounjaro injector pens are for one-time use. This means you’ll use a new pen for each injection. The pens have 2.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, or 15 mg, based on your prescription and the medication your healthcare professional feels you require.


Cost of Ozempic vs. Mounjaro

Cost is another area where Mounjaro and Ozempic compare pretty well. The average monthly cost for Mounjaro is around $1,100, while Ozempic has an average monthly out-of-pocket cost of about $1,000.

Some insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield and Tricare may cover all or just one of these medications; in that case, you will only have to pay your copay or deductible, depending on your plan. You can call your insurance company to see which medications they will likely cover, if any. We may also help you fill out the prior insurance authorization form if your insurance covers anti-obesity medications.


Can I Switch Between Ozempic and Mounjaro?

Switching between Ozempic and Mounjaro is possible since both medications help control blood sugar levels in persons with type 2 diabetes. However, remember that if you have heart disease and type 2 diabetes, taking Ozempic will also help lower your
risk of heart attack and stroke. Mounjaro is not authorized for this purpose.

If you decide to switch from Ozempic to Mounjaro or vice versa, you will typically begin taking the new medication the week after stopping the first one. Your healthcare provider may start you at a low dosage of the new medication. After that, your dose will be increased every four weeks until you get the dose that works best for you.

Switching from a lower dosage of one medication to a higher dosage of another can lead to unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Note that if you decide to switch medications, you should do so under the care of your doctor. They can help you and provide the best advice on doing it safely.


How Do Side Effects Compare Between Mounjaro and Ozempic?

The most typical side effects for Mounjaro and Ozempic are gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, constipation, and diarrhea.

While the side effects of these drugs are similar, there may be differences in their frequency and intensity. Mounjaro’s prescribing information mentions severe gastrointestinal problems, but Ozempic does not.

Both medications have the potential to cause serious side effects; however, they are less common—severe stomach pain, for instance, may be a sign of pancreatitis. You should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience uncommon symptoms or severe adverse effects.


Mounjaro vs Ozempic: Comparison Table


Active ingredientTirzepatideSemaglutide
Drug classGLP-1, GIPGLP-1
FunctionHelps control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetesHelps control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes

Lowers the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular events in adults with both type 2 diabetes and heart disease
FormSolution injected subcutaneously once weekly with a prefilled penSolution injected subcutaneously once weekly with a prefilled pen
Dosage2.5 mg for 4 weeks, followed by 5 mg to 15 mg0.25 mg for 4 weeks, followed by 0.5 mg to 2 mg
Common side effectsNausea, diarrhea, reduced appetite, indigestion, constipation, vomiting, stomach painNausea, diarrhea, reduced appetite, indigestion, constipation, vomiting, stomach pain
Off-label useWeight managementWeight management
Weight-loss brand nameZepboundWegovy


Which One Should I Use? Ozempic or Mounjaro?

Which one to choose between, Ozempic and Mounjaro, depends on your specific medical needs.

While Ozempic is FDA-approved for the management of blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and the prevention of cardiovascular events for people with known cardiovascular illnesses, it can also help decrease A1C levels and promote weight loss.

Using Ozempic may help reduce the risk of serious heart attacks, strokes, or even death in people with type 2 diabetes, who are already at a higher risk of these health problems.

Mounjaro has been shown to be more effective at lowering A1C levels but may have serious gastrointestinal side effects.

Before deciding on any medication, discussing the pros and cons of each with your healthcare professional is essential. If the first medicine does not produce favorable results, your doctor may switch you to the next.



Can I use Mounjaro vs. Ozempic while pregnant?

While Ozempic and Mounjaro can help manage blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, they are not safe to use while pregnant. Animal studies suggest that tirzepatide and semaglutide may cause harm to the fetus. The manufacturer of Ozempic, Novo Nordisk, advises anyone using the medication to stop at least two months before getting pregnant to allow for a “washout” period during which the medication can be eliminated from the body.


Does Mounjaro work better than Ozempic?

While Ozempic and Mounjaro are both effective at lowering blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, studies suggest that Mounjaro may be more effective in managing blood sugar levels and weight loss than Ozempic.


Can I take Mounjaro vs. Ozempic with alcohol?

Mounjaro and Ozempic don’t directly interact with alcohol. This means that drinking alcohol does not affect how your body processes or absorbs weight loss medications. However, this doesn’t mean that drinking is safe while using Ozempic or Mounjaro. This is because alcohol consumption can reduce the benefits of treatment and increase the likelihood of common Mounjaro vs. Ozempic side effects and other health problems.


Take the Next Step With NP2GO

It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional to determine whether taking medication alongside making lifestyle modifications is right for you and your health.

As an accessible virtual or in-office weight loss OKC, NP2GO delivers personalized weight management assistance through board-certified nurse practitioners specializing in GLP1 medications for weight management.

You can easily start with our virtual assessment outlining your goals and history. After reviewing your information privately, our specialists provide treatment recommendations tailored to your specific needs.

We may suggest nutrition adjustments, increased physical activity, and additional behavioral changes, and if suitable, we may prescribe safe and effective weight loss medications such as Zepbound, Wegovy, and Retatrutide. We may also prescribe compounded medications such as Semaglutide and Tirzepatide.

Book an appointment to affordably discuss personalized solutions for achieving realistic weight goals and lowering obesity disease risks.