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Weight Loss

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Tirzepatide dosage 101: All you need to know for weight loss

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: Mar 27, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sheelu Bhatnagar

Table of contents

Tirzepatide is the active ingredient in 2 brand-name medications — Mounjaro and Zepbound. It’s also a newer class of drugs called GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonists. If you’re taking either and hope to lose weight, using the right dose matters. Here, we give you a 101 on tirzepatide dosage for weight loss, so you have the information you need.

Get a prescription for tirzepatide online in as little as 24 hours.

Available forms for tirzepatide

Mounjaro and Zepbound are the only available forms of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved tirzepatide. There’s no generic version of either medication. Compounded tirzepatide is available. This is a custom medication that can be tailored to meet your needs or personal preference and is often cheaper than similar brand-name drugs. It’s important to talk to your provider about potential risks and benefits before trying compounded tirzepatide.

Tirzepatide is a combination GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) agonist. The dual action of the 2 leads to weight loss by mimicking the body’s natural GIP and GLP-1 hormones. They stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin, which helps with blood sugar control. And they slow down how fast food leaves the stomach, which makes you feel full and decreases appetite so you can lose body weight.

Mounjaro was approved first in 2022 to help people with type 2 diabetes regulate their blood sugar, aka blood glucose. It’s intended to be used along with diet and exercise.

People taking Mounjaro found that they lost weight. And because Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy were selling so fast they became hard to find, Mounjaro’s manufacturer Elli Lilly successfully got tirzepatide approved for weight loss as Zepbound in November 2023.

Zepbound was approved for use in obese adults or adults who are overweight and have 1 or more weight-related health problems like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. It should be used as part of a weight loss program that includes a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Mounjaro is not approved for weight loss. And Zepbound is not approved to lower blood sugar for people with type 2 diabetes. But both help with weight loss. In 2 different clinical trials, people taking tirzepatide — with and without diabetes — lost 12.8 to 20.9% of their body weight in 72 weeks.

Available tirzepatide dosages

Mounjaro and Zepbound are available in the same 6 dosages. Each dose comes in a prefilled single-dose pen. And one dose is taken each week. So a month’s supply requires 4 pens.

Tirzepatide doses include: 

  • 2.5 milligrams per 0.5 milliliters prefilled single-dose pen
  • 5 milligrams per 0.5 milliliters prefilled single-dose pens
  • 7.5 milligrams per 0.5 milliliters prefilled single-dose pens
  • 10 milligrams per 0.5 milliliters prefilled single-dose pens
  • 12.5 milligrams per 0.5 milliliters prefilled single-dose pens
  • 15 milligrams per 0.5 milliliters prefilled single-dose pens

You use a pen to inject yourself under the skin of your stomach, upper arm, or thigh each week.

Injections tips

  • Get instructions on how to inject yourself from your healthcare provider, pharmacist, or the manufacturer’s website.
  • Don’t inject yourself in the same place each week, rotate injection sites instead.
  • Stick to a schedule and inject yourself at the same basic time on the same day of the week each week. To help you remember, create a reminder with an alert on your smartphone or watch.
  • Don’t worry about injecting yourself when you eat, you can take tripeptide with or without a meal. 
  • If you’re taking tirzepatide for type 2 diabetes, you can inject it and your insulin in the same area of your body but don’t inject them next to each other.

From starting to maintenance tirzepatide dosage

Tirzepatide, like other weight loss injections, follows a stepped dosing schedule. You start out at a small dose, so your body can adjust and you can minimize common tirzepatide, Mounjaro, or Zepbound side effects, like nausea, diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting, constipation, dyspepsia (pain in the upper stomach area), and abdominal pain. You then increase your dose every 4 weeks until you reach a maintenance dose. 

For Zepbound, the target maintenance dose is often 15 milligrams. Clinical studies show that people lose the most weight at this dosage. It’s possible for the maintenance dose of Zepbound to be lower — from 5 milligrams and up — depending on how well you tolerate it.

For Mounjaro the maintenance dose can be 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, or 15 milligrams. The final maintenance dose depends on how much you need for ideal blood sugar control and how well you tolerate the medication. 

Tirzepatide dosage chart for Mounjaro vs Zepbound

WeeksZepbound (tirzepatide) dosageMounjaro (tirzepatide) dosage
Weeks 1–42.5 mg2.5 mg
Weeks 5–85 mg 💉5 mg  💉
Weeks 9–127.5 mg 💉7.5 mg 💉
Weeks 13–1610 mg 💉10 mg 💉
Weeks 17–2012.5 mg 💉12.5 mg 💉
Weeks 21+15 mg 💉15 mg 💉
💉 Potential maintenance dose.

If you don’t tolerate tirzepatide well, your healthcare provider may have you increase your dose more slowly, such as every 8 weeks. They may also have you step back to a smaller maintenance dose if you don’t tolerate a higher dose. For example, if you don’t tolerate 15 milligrams of tirzepatide, your provider may step you back to 12.5 milligrams as your maintenance dose.

Dosage tips

  • Don’t increase your dosage faster than shown in the chart or instructed by your provider. Increasing your dose faster increases the chance of side effects.
  • If you’re taking Mounjaro, don’t take more than your provider’s recommended dose to avoid complications with blood sugar control. 
  • If you do experience side effects like nausea, eat smaller, more frequent meals, avoid fat and fatty foods. Try eating bland foods, like toast, crackers, or rice. And stop eating as soon as you feel full. 

Tirzepatide dosage for weight loss

Your doctor may prescribe tirzepatide for you for different conditions. One is to help treat type 2 diabetes, in which case your healthcare provider will likely prescribe Mounjaro. The other is to lose weight if you’re obese or overweight with a related health condition. In the latter case, your provider will prescribe Zepbound. If you have type 2 diabetes and have a body mass index of 27 or higher, which makes you medically overweight, your provider may also prescribe Zepbound.

When you take tirzepatide for either reason, you can expect to lose some weight. What medication you’re prescribed and your dosage will depend on your health status, how much weight you need to lose, and, if you have type 2 diabetes, how well you’re currently controlling your blood glucose level. 

When taking either Zepbound or Mounjaro, your clinician will work with you to determine the best maintenance dose based on how well you tolerate the medication and your specific needs.

What to do If you miss a dose of Zepbound or Mounjaro

It’s best to take tirzepatide on the same day every week. Every Monday, for example. Taking it on the same day each week ensures you maintain a consistent level of medication in your body and get the most out of it.

To make sure you take it on time, consider setting a reminder with an alert on your smartphone or posting a note somewhere you’ll see it regularly.

If you do miss a dose, here’s what to do:

  • If it’s been no more than 4 days since your missed dose (96 hours), take the missed dose.
  • If it’s been more than 4 days (96 hours) since you missed the dose, skip it and simply take your next dose on the same day and time you take your dose each week. 

Missed tirzepatide dose sample chart

Time of normal weekly doseWhen to take missed doseWhen to take missed dose if not taken by Friday at 9:00 a.m. 
Monday, 9:00 a.m.Anytime before Friday, 9:00 a.m.Following Monday, 9:00 a.m. — the time of normal weekly dose

Important! Never take 2 doses of tirzepatide at the same time or within 4 days of each other. Taking too much can be harmful. 

What to do if you take too much Tirzepatide 

Taking extra tirzepatide won’t help you lose weight faster, but it may cause unneeded side effects. The only way to take too much is to use 2 of the single-dose prefilled pens too close together or at the same time.

If for any reason you take 2 doses within 3 days (72 hours) of each other, call your healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) for advice on what to do.

How to change your injection day

You can easily change the day of the week you take Mounjaro or Zepbound. 

Say you take it on Monday and want to change to take it on Tuesday instead, simply take your next dose on Tuesday of the following week. Then continue taking it on Tuesday each week after that. 

The key consideration if you want to change the day you take your injections is to not take 2 doses within 3 days of each other. So, if you want to switch from Monday to Tuesday, don’t take it Monday and Tuesday of the same week. Wait until the Tuesday of the week after you take your dose on Monday.

How to get a prescription for Zepbound or Mounjaro

To get a prescription for tirzepatide — whether Zepbound or Mounjaro — you need to talk to a licensed healthcare provider, such as a medical doctor (MD), nurse practitioner (NP), or physician assistant (PA). You can do that in-office or online through a healthcare marketplace, including Klarity.  

Your provider can create a tailored weight loss plan for you, determine if a weight loss medication should be part of that plan, get a prior authorization for a medication if needed, and monitor your health during your weight loss journey.

If your provider starts you on tirzepatide for weight loss or blood sugar management, make sure you understand all possible side effects for Mounjaro or Zepbound as well as their contradictions and warnings. You can get these from our provider, pharmacists, or on the DailyMed page for Zepbound or Mounjaro

Start your weight-loss journey this week

If you’re ready to start your weight loss journey, connect with a weight-loss specialist on Klarity and have an appointment in as little as 48 hours. What are you waiting for? Find a provider now.

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

How we reviewed this article: This article goes through rigorous fact-checking by a team of medical reviewers. Reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the author.

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