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The Differences Between Semiglutide and Tirzepatide

The biggest hype and craze in the weight control arena is the emergence of the new class of “Wonder Drugs” that, according to many news stories, will produce a major impact to the obesity epidemic.  The medications referred to:  Ozempic, Wegovy and (according to the Wall Street Journal article about this subject), the “KING KONG” of weight loss drugs, Mounjaro.  

First, let’s focus on what these medications do:  Ozempic and Wegovy (generic chemical name is “Semiglutide”) fall into the category of “GLP-1 Agonists”.  “GLP” stands for Glucagon Like Peptide and “Agonist” means a medication that acts on receptors in the body as if it were the natural body chemical that usually activates those receptors.  Activating the GLP-1 receptors does two things: 1- increases insulin release from the pancreas (hence its initial use as a diabetic medication) and 2-slows transit time of food from the stomach into the small intestine after a meal.  This keeps the food in the stomach dilated longer, leading to less hunger.  This action is what helps with weight loss.

Mounjaro (generic chemical name is “Tirzepatide”) is both a GLP-1 Agonist AND a GIP Agonist.  “GIP” stands for Gastric Inhibitory Polypepetide and this is a different receptor that also promotes insulin release from the pancreas.

Is there a difference in results seen with semiglutide or tirzepatide in weight loss?  Initial studies show that Ozemoic/Wegovy (same med, different name) produce about a 17% body weight loss over a year whereas Mounjaro’s studies report 21% weight loss.

The side effects of these medications are mostly gastrointestinal in nature including: nausea, bloating, abdominal pain.  More severe reactions include pancreatitis.  They should not be used in families with a genetic history of thyroid cancer.

Now, for the most important message of this entry:  THERE ARE NO “KING KONG” TREATMENTS FOR WEIGHT CONTROL.   Do NOT buy into the hype that there is a medication that will help you lose weight and keep that weight off without lots of work, effort and behavioral modifying on your part.  These medications cannot be used forever, and what happens when they are stopped?  Without those aforementioned behavioral changes, all of the weight, and more, will come back on.

These new medications for weight loss are another tool in the arsenal to help…BUT please do not expect “magic” weight loss to occur without those lifestyle changes needed for long-term weight control.

And, I will end this, NOT with Ozempic’s catchy “Magic” tune by the group “Pilot” but rather, “Electric Light Orchestra”s “Strange Magic”.

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