Ozempic's Top Competitor More Effective, Study Finds
Researchers compared Ozempic and Mounjaro in a real-world study.
Ozempic's fast rise to fame is undeniable: Ever since the diabetes drug began being prescribed off-label for weight loss, it has become synonymous with a new class of medications for shedding pounds fast. Along the way, Ozempic has courted controversy, thanks to well-documented side effects and an ongoing shortage that has put some diabetes patients in danger. Its success has also led to other drugmakers ramping up their weight-loss efforts, with a slew of similar medications now on the market or on their way. And according to new research, top Ozempic competitor Mounjaro may actually be more effective. Read on to learn more about the latest findings.
There are several popular weight-loss drugs on the market right now.
If you're looking to lose weight with the help of medical intervention, you've certainly got options. While Ozempic has become the most well-known, there are three other similar injectables currently making waves: Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound. Wegovy is the most similar to Ozempic, as they both utilize semaglutide to stimulate the GLP-1 receptor and make users feel less hungry, according to Healthline.
Wegovy and Ozempic are both manufactured by Novo Nordisk, but only the former has been approved for weight loss. Mounjaro and Zepbound, on the other hand, come from the company Eli Lilly and contain tirzepatide, Healthline reports. Tirzepatide medications help users shed pounds by mimicking two hunger-regulating hormones: GLP-1 and GIP.
Similar to Ozempic and Wegovy, Mounjaro is prescribed off-label for weight loss, while Zepbound just got official Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for weight management. But a recent study put Ozempic and Mounjaro head-to-head to measure their effectiveness—and the results may be surprising.
A new study compared Ozempic to Mounjaro.
A new study conducted by Truveta Research was released Nov. 22 as a preprint on medRxiv, and has not yet been peer-reviewed. Researchers looked at health-care data on roughly 18,000 adults who are overweight or obese and first started taking Ozempic or Mounjaro between May 2022 and Sep. 2023.
The goal of the research was "to compare on-treatment weight loss in a real-world setting for adults with overweight or obesity initiated on tirzepatide or semaglutide." In other words, the study sought to find out how these oft-prescribed medications actually perform when it comes to losing weight.
The findings indicate that Mounjaro is more effective for weight loss.
The study's results were clear: Mounjaro outperformed Ozempic at every turn. After a year of treatment, researchers found that patients taking Mounjaro lost an average 15.2 percent of their body weight, while those using Ozempic lost an average of 7.9 percent in that same timeframe.
Overall, Mounjaro users were three times more likely than those taking Ozempic to achieve 15 percent or greater weight loss. They were also 2.6 times more likely to lose 10 percent of their weight than those on Ozempic, and 1.8 times more likely to lose 5 percent of their weight, according to the study.
"In this large, propensity-matched, real-world analysis, individuals with overweight or obesity treated with tirzepatide were significantly more likely to achieve clinically meaningful weight loss and larger reductions in body weight compared to those treated with semaglutide," the researchers concluded.
Doctors are seeing the same results in their patients.
These findings match what doctors are seeing in their patients, Caroline Messer, MD, an endocrinologist at Northwell Health's Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, recently told Healthline.
"It's almost double the weight loss in most of my patients [with tirzepatide]," she told the news outlet. "So definitely tirzepatide is more effective."
Many experts believe its advantage comes from how tirzepatide works compared to semaglutide.
"Due to its dual-hormone mechanism, Mounjaro appears to provide a greater improvement in glucose control than Ozempic," Christopher McGowan, a gastroenterologist, obesity medicine specialist, and the founder of True You Weight Loss, told Healthline.
But for many patients, which drug to choose often comes down to cost. And if you don't have type 2 diabetes, you will have to find a doctor to prescribe Ozempic and Mounjaro off-label to you, which means it almost certainly won't be covered by health insurance.
More effective or not, Mounjaro is on-average the more expensive option out-of-pocket: In the U.S., the monthly costs of Mounjaro is approximately $1,023 without insurance, while the monthly cost of Ozempic without insurance is $936, according to Health.
Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.