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Weight Loss

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Wegovy vs Mounjaro (aka Zepbound), what’s the difference?

Written by Douglas Helm

Published: Mar 11, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Goldina Erowele, PharmD, MBA

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If you look into weight loss medications, you may come across Wegovy (semaglutide) and Mounjaro (tirzepatide) or Zepbound (tirzepatide) in your search. But what are the differences between Wegovy vs Mounjaro? And what is Zepbound? 

In this article, we go over what they’re used for, which is best for losing weight, and more. We review how these medications work and potential side effects. By the end of this article, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to talk to your healthcare provider about the best prescription weight loss medications and weight loss programs for you. Let’s dive in.

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What are Wegovy and Mounjaro?

Wegovy and Mounjaro are both injectable prescription drugs.

Wegovy (semaglutide)

Wegovy contains the active ingredient semaglutide and is U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved for weight loss in individuals with a body mass index (BMI) at or above 30 or with a BMI at or above 27 who have a weight-related health condition, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or high blood pressure. It’s also approved for children aged 12 and older with obesity and a BMI in the 95th percentile for their sex and age.

Wegovy should be used along with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet. 

You may have also heard of Ozempic (semaglutide). Ozempic is an injectable medication that also has semaglutide as the active ingredient. It though is FDA-approved to lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic was FDA-approved before Wegovyand has been used off-label for weight loss. More on that below.

Ozempic and Wegovy are both made by Novo Nordisk.

Mounjaro (tirzepatide) aka Zepound

Mounjaro contains the active ingredient tirzepatide and is FDA-approved to improve blood sugar (glucose) in adults with type 2 diabetes. Like Wegovy, it’s prescribed along with exercise and diet changes. Mounjaro isn’t FDA-approved for weight loss but has been used off-label for this purpose. 

Zepbound is a newer weight-loss medication with the same active ingredient and same formulation as Mounjaro. Zepbound and Mounjaro are both made by Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly first made Mounjaro. And in just November 2023, got FDA-approval for a rebranded version, called Zepbound, for weight loss.

Like Wegovy, Zepbound is approved for use in adults with a BMI at or above 30 or at or above 27 who have a weight-related health condition along with diet and exercise. It’s not approved for use in children under 18. 

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Wegovy vs Zepbound and Mounjaro at a glance

BrandWegovyZepbound and Mounjaro
Drug classGLP-1 agonistDual GLP-1 and GIP receptor agonists
Active ingredientSemaglutideTirzepatide
GenericNone availableNone available
Form(s)Liquid administered by injectionLiquid administered by injection
DosingStarting dose:
– 0.25 mg injected subcutaneously once a week
– After week 4: 0.5 mg once a week
– After week 8: 1 mg once a week
– After week 12: 1.7 mg  once a week
– After week 17 for some: 2.4 mg  once a week
– Maintenance dose is 1.7 mg or 2.4 mg
– Maximum dose: 2.4 mg
Starting dose:
– 2.5 mg injected subcutaneously once a week
– After 4 weeks, 5 mg once a week
– Can be increased in 2.5 mg increments every 4 weeks if needed
– Recommended maintenance doses are 5 mg, 10 mg, or 15 mg once a week
– Maximum dose is 15 mg once a week
FrequencyWeekly subcutaneous injectionWeekly subcutaneous injection
Approved forWeight loss for:

Adults with body mass index (BMI) at or above 30Adults with a BMI at or above 27 with a weight-related health condition

Children 12 or older with a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for their sex and age Should be used with a reduced-calorie meal plan and increased physical activity 
Zepbound
Weight loss in:

Adults with a BMI at or above 30Adults with a BMI at or above 27 with a weight-related health condition

Should be used with a reduced-calorie meal plan and increased physical activity 

Mounjaro 
To improve blood sugar (glucose) in:

Adults with type 2 diabetes

Should be used with diet and exercise
Retail Cost$1,430 for a 28-day supply*Zepbound
$1,126 for a 28-day supply*

Mounjaro
$1,135 for a 28-day supply*
Common side effectsNausea
Diarrhea
Stomach pain
Upset stomach
Dizziness
Bloating
Gas
Fatigue
Headache
Vomiting
Constipation
Heartburn
Runny nose
Sore throat
Zepbound
Nausea
Diarrhea
Vomiting
Constipation
Stomach pain
Indigestion
Injection site reactions
Feeling tired
Belching
Hair loss
Heartburn

Mounjaro
Nausea
Diarrhea
Decreased appetite
Vomiting
Constipation
Indigestion
Stomach pain
Serious side effectsAllergic reaction
Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
Gallbladder problems
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
Kidney problems
Changes in vision
Increased heart rate
Suicidal behavior or thoughts
Zepbound
Allergic reaction
Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
Gallbladder problems
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
Kidney problems
Changes in vision
Severe stomach problems

Mounjaro
Allergic reaction
Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
Gallbladder problems
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
Kidney problems
Changes in vision
Severe stomach problems
Box warningRisk of thyroid tumors, including cancer

See full prescribing information for complete box warning.
Risk of thyroid tumors, including cancer

See full prescribing information for complete box warning.
Weight loss potentialAverage 14.9% reduction in body weight (data)Zepbound
Average 18% reduction in body weight on the highest dose of Zepbound (data)

Mounjaro
Average of 12–25 lbs of weight loss (data)
*Prices according to drugs.com as of the time of publication.

How Wegovy vs Mounjaro vs Zepbound compare

Wegovy is in a drug class known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. The 2 most commonly approved uses for GLP-1 receptor agonists are type 2 diabetes and chronic weight management.  GLP-1 medications work by mimicking hormones called incretin. These hormones increase insulin production, which helps lower blood sugar. GLP-1 agonists also make you feel less hungry, which is why GLP-1 agonists work for weight loss.

Mounjaro and Zepbound are dual agonist medications. They mimic both the GLP-1 hormone and the gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) hormone. Some studies indicate that dual agonists offer better blood sugar level control and weight loss benefits than GLP-1 agonists. This makes these weight loss drugs well-suited for those with type 2 diabetes as well as for chronic weight management.

Wegovy vs Mounjaro for weight loss

All 3 medications lead to weight loss. 

  • A clinical trial for Zepbound found that individuals on the highest dose lost an average weight loss reduction of 18% body weight. 
  • A trial on Wegovy found an average reduction of 14.9% in body weight. Both studies compared the medication to a placebo. Participants in the trials didn’t have type 2 diabetes.
  • In a trial on Mounjaro, participants with type 2 diabetes being treated for the condition and not weight loss specifically still lost between 12 and 25 pounds on average.

An ongoing randomized controlled study is comparing the safety and effectiveness of semaglutide, (which is the active ingredient n Wegovy and Ozempic) directly against tirzepatide (which is the active ingredient in Mounjaro and Zepbound). Trial participants are obese or overweight with weight-related health conditions and do not have type 2 diabetes. The trial is set to complete in 2024. It should provide a clear picture of these medications’ comparative weight loss benefits. 

Because individual responses to weight loss medications vary, you should discuss whether to use Zepbound vs Mounjaro vs Wegovy with your healthcare provider.

Wegovy vs Mounjaro or Zepbound: the cost

Without insurance, the retail cost of Wegovy is $1,430 for a 28-day supply, Mounjaro $1,135, and Zepbound $1,126 (costs per drugs.com). There are no lower-cost generic versions available.

Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound with insurance coverage 

Your insurance plan may cover Wegovy, Mounjaro, or Zepbound. Your cost will depend on your plan’s coverage, co-pay, deductible, and out-of-pocket costs. And your plan may not cover an off-label use, such as using Mounjaro for weight loss. 

These medications may also require prior authorization. This is a process where your healthcare provider must get approval from your health insurance company before it covers the cost.

Refer to your benefits plan documents or check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage. If they don’t cover your medication or deny authorization, you or your healthcare provider can appeal.

How to save on Wegovy

If you have commercial insurance with prescription drug coverage and use the Novo Nordisk Wegovy Savings Card, you could pay as little as $0 for a 28-day supply. This card is subject to a maximum savings of $225. If your insurance doesn’t cover Wegovy or if you pay cash, you can save up to $500 for a 28-day supply. See Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy website for details.

How to pay less for Zepbound

If you have commercial insurance with prescription coverage and use the Zepbound Savings Card, you could pay as little as $25 for a 28-day supply of Zepbound. Saving is subject to a maximum of $150 per 28-supply or $1,800 per calendar year. If your insurance doesn’t cover Zepbound, you may pay as little as $550 for a 28-day supply with a maximum savings of $563 per 28-day supply or $7,319 per calendar year. See the Elli Lilly Zepbound website for details.

How to pay less for Mounjaro

If you have commercial insurance with prescription coverage, you could pay as little as $25 for a 28-day supply of Mounjaro. This offer is subject to a maximum savings of $150 for a 28-day supply or $1,800 per calendar year. If your insurance doesn’t cover Mounjaro, you can save up to $575 a month or $3,450 each calendar year. See the Elli Lilly Mounjaro website for details.

Zepbound or Mounjaro vs Wegovy: side effects

Be aware of the potential risks and side effects before starting a medication. Make sure to report any side effects to your healthcare provider.

Common side effects

The most common side effects of Wegovy include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

Common side effects of Mounjaro and Zepbound include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach pain

Serious side effects

Box warning

Box warnings are the most serious safety warning issued by the FDA. They warn providers and patients about serious side effects and issues for a medication. The boxed warning for Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound warns of possible thyroid tumors, including cancer. And none of these medications should be taken if you or a family member have ever had a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid Carcinoma or if you have an endocrine system condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2.

Other warnings

Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound also come with risks of serious side effects. 

Wegovy includes warnings for:

  • Allergic reaction, which can sometimes be life-threatening
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Kidney problems
  • Changes in vision
  • Increased heart rate
  • Suicidal behavior or thoughts

Mounjaro and Zepbound include warnings for:

  • Allergic reaction, which can sometimes be life-threatening
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Kidney problems
  • Changes in vision
  • Severe stomach problems

Switching from Wegovy to Zepbound or vice versa

Switching from Wegovy to Zepbound or Monjaro to Ozempic, or vice-versa, is possible. if you experience side effects or aren’t seeing results, talk to your healthcare provider about making a switch. They can help you determine if the switch is right for you. They can also guide you through the process of getting off your current medication and starting a new one.

Make sure to closely follow any instructions your healthcare provider gives you when switching. Also, make sure to report any side effects, so your provider can adjust your treatment as necessary.

What to ask your provider about Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound

It’s always helpful to be prepared when you speak to your healthcare provider. This way, you get all of your questions answered. Here’s a quick list of common questions to ask your provider about Wegovy and Zepbound for medical weight loss. 

  • What other prescription weight loss drugs are there?
  • Are there over-the-counter options?
  • How long will it take to lose weight?
  • How long will it take to reach my target weight loss goal?
  • Do I have to stay on Wegovy or Zepbound forever?
  • What happens if the drug makes me sick?
  • What side effects should I watch for?
  • Is it safe for me to take one of these?
  • How do I inject myself?
  • Do I need to diet and exercise?
  • How should these medications be taken (e.g., with or without food, specific time of day)?
  • Are there any considerations for discontinuing the medications?
  • Are weight loss injections or pill injections better for my goals?
  • How will we monitor my progress?

A note on off-label use 

Off-label use is prescribing a drug to treat a condition other than what it is FDA-approved to treat. For example, using Mounjaro for weight loss when it’s approved for improving blood sugar (glucose) in people with type 2 diabetes but not weight loss. 

The off-label use of type 2 diabetes medications for weight loss has been high, which has led to shortages, including for Ozempic and Wegovy. These shortages have made it difficult for those with diabetes or trying to lose weight to find the medication they need. And insurance companies have cracked down on the off-label prescribing of Ozempic for weight loss drugs.

Key takeaway 

Both Wegovy and Zepbound are approved for weight loss, while Mounjaro is approved to improve blood sugar (glucose) for people with type 2 diabetes. Mounjaro could be used off-label for weight loss but doesn’t need to be with the availability of Zepbound.

Talk to your healthcare provider about weight loss medications like Wegovy and Zepbound. You and your provider can discuss if one of these medications is right for you, side effects, and weight loss potential compared to your health history and weight loss needs.

Find a provider on Klarity and get a tailored weight loss plan

Looking for help with medically supervised weight loss? Find a provider on Klarity and get the expert medical advice and support you need for your weight loss journey. The Klarity platform helps you find a provider and get an appointment within 48 hours. Find a licensed 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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