How Does Tirzepatide Work?
Tirzepatide is a type 2 diabetes medication that’s seeing some very interesting results in patients. Learn how Tirzepatide works.
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This content was reviewed and approved for its accuracy on 15/07/2022 by Professor Frank Joseph

Photograph of Professor Frank Joseph, weight loss expert for myBMI

How Does Tirzepatide Work?

 

You may have seen breaking news about a new medication for type 2 diabetes patients that could be the next big thing in weight management treatment.

 

Tirzepatide is a type 2 diabetes medication that’s seeing some very interesting results in patients, and if other weight management treatments are anything to go by, we could be hearing some big news relatively soon.

 

So how does Tirzepatide work?

 

Let’s take a look at the mechanism of action of this intriguing new medication and work out what that could mean for patients with type 2 diabetes and those struggling with obesity.

 

Is Tirzepatide in Mounjaro?

 

Tirzepatide is the active ingredient in Mounjaro, a medication for type 2 diabetes.

 

It’s used to help patients lower their blood sugar levels alongside changes to their diet and exercise routines.

 

Although it isn’t licensed as a weight loss medication, patients taking Mounjaro have found that they can lose up to 25lbs during treatment.

 

This is ideal for type 2 diabetes patients, as obesity is a known risk factor for the condition, which is why many other diabetes treatments are also licensed as weight management treatments.

 

For example, Wegovy and Saxenda are weight loss medications that are also licensed as type 2 diabetes medications under separate brand names.

 

What is Tirzepatide’s mechanism of action?

 

Tirzepatide’s mechanism of action (or how it works, for those of us who aren’t pharmacists) is that it affects your GIP and GLP-1 hormones.

 

This has a number of benefits for patients, including increasing insulin production and your body’s insulin sensitivity.

 

This helps your body to manage your blood sugar levels more effectively.

 

It also helps to reduce the production of stomach acid, slowing the digestion of food, while also slowing down your stomach emptying.

 

This helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer and also decreases your appetite.

 

This is ideal for patients who could benefit from weight management treatment as well as type 2 diabetes patients.

 

Is Tirzepatide a GLP-1 or a GIP receptor agonist?

 

Tirzepatide works as both a GLP-1 and a GIP receptor agonist, rather than being one or the other.

 

This gives it a unique edge over other similar treatments, which typically only work as one type of treatment or the other.

 

GLP-1 receptor agonists and GIP receptor agonists both target different hormones that affect your digestive system.

 

They work in complementary ways, for example, one increases your insulin production while the other increases your insulin sensitivity.

 

This means that dual agonists like Tirzepatide can be very effective treatments when compared to similar treatments that only target one group of hormones and not the other.

 

How is Tirzepatide different to Semaglutide (Wegovy)?

 

Tirzepatide is different to Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy, as it’s a dual agonist while Semaglutide only works as a GLP-1 receptor agonist.

 

This means that Tirzepatide works with both your GIP and GLP-1 receptors, while Semaglutide only works as a GLP-1 agonist.

 

Another big difference is that Semaglutide is licensed to treat both type 2 diabetes and obesity in the UK and the US.

 

Currently, Tirzepatide is only licensed to treat type 2 diabetes under the name Mounjaro and is only licensed in the US.

 

We usually find that this type of medication is licensed for diabetes in the US before it happens in the UK, after this the manufacturers will usually look into licensing for weight loss in these countries, if possible.

 

Watch this space and we’ll let you know what happens next!

 

How does Mounjaro treat type 2 diabetes?

 

Patients with type 2 diabetes either have issues with insulin production or insulin effectiveness.

 

As insulin plays a direct role in your blood sugar levels, this means that diabetics are at risk of dangerously high blood sugar.

 

Mounjaro treats type 2 diabetes by stimulating insulin production while also increasing your body’s sensitivity to it, offering a two-pronged solution to the condition.

 

Mounjaro can be used alongside other types of 2 diabetes treatments, such as insulin injections, and will work at its best when paired with a balanced diet and regular exercise routine.

 

Can Mounjaro be used for weight loss?


Mounjaro isn’t licensed as a weight loss medication, in fact, it isn’t licensed in the UK at all at this point.

 

If and when it does become licensed in the UK, it won’t be used for weight loss under the brand name Mounjaro.

 

This is normal for this type of medication and we’ve seen the same licensing pattern happen before with a few similar treatments.

 

For example, Semaglutide was first licensed as a type 2 diabetes medication under the name Ozempic and was later licensed for weight loss as Wegovy.

 

Liraglutide also started off as a diabetes treatment named Victoza before it was licensed for weight loss as Saxenda.

 

We don’t know what the next name for Tirzepatide will be or whether the next step in the licensing process will come soon, but we’ll let you know as soon as we find out.

 

How quickly does Tirzepatide work?


Tirzepatide gets to work right away after your first injection, but that doesn’t mean you’ll notice the effects immediately.

 

The kinds of changes needed to prevent or treat type 2 diabetes or obesity are often made slowly and steadily.

 

You usually won’t start your treatment taking the highest possible dose of Tirzepatide, but by the time you’ve titrated up to a dose that’s right for you, you should have started to notice the effects of your medication.

 

Having patience isn’t always easy, but when it comes to positive changes in your health and wellbeing, it’s always worth the wait.

 

 

Now we know a lot more about how Tirzepatide and Mounjaro work and how they could help patients regulate their blood sugar levels and lose weight.

 

If you’d like to learn more about this new medication on the block, you’re in the right place!

 

Here are some of our other articles about Tirzepatide and some of the weight loss treatments we provide to our patients.

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Learn how GIP receptor agonists can interact with your hunger hormones to help you lose weight and how they work with GLP-1 receptor agonists.

Learn more about GLP-1 receptor agonists and their mechanism of action, or how they work.

 

myBMI’s expert team explain it all.

One of the most common questions we hear about new weight loss treatments is about side effects.

 

We look into the side effects of Tirzepatide.

Is your weight-loss treatment the right one for you?

 

If you’re not sure, you may want to know how to switch treatments safely and effectively and our team is here to help.