What is Mounjaro Uses, warnings & interactions
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Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is an injectable diabetes medication that is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company. It is used along with diet and exercise to reduce blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Mounjaro is not indicated to treat type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) or as a weight loss drug.
What is Mounjaro used for?
Mounjaro is a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in patients with T2DM. Mounjaro has not been studied in clinical trials with patients that have a history of pancreatitis.
How does Mounjaro work?
Mounjaro is a Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor agonist. GIP and GLP-1 are hormones called incretins that are involved in managing your blood glucose levels. Mounjaro is the first medication in its class that stimulates both GLP-1 and GIP receptors. This leads to increased insulin secretion by your pancreas and increased sensitivity to the released insulin. It also blocks your liver from producing sugar.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Mounjaro?
- 2.5mg/0.5ml single-dose prefilled pen
- 5mg/0.5ml single-dose prefilled pen
- 7.5mg/0.5ml single-dose prefilled pen
- 10mg/0.5ml single-dose prefilled pen
- 12.5mg/0.5ml single-dose prefilled pen
- 15mg/0.5ml single-dose prefilled pen
Before taking Mounjaro
Before starting Mounjaro, tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following medical conditions:
- Pancreas or kidney problems
- Gastroparesis (delayed emptying of your stomach) or other digestive issues
- History of diabetic retinopathy
- Are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding
How to take Mounjaro
- Read the Full Prescribing Information, Instructions for Use, and Medication Guide that comes with Mounjaro.
- Use Mounjaro exactly as your doctor prescribes it to you. Don’t change your dose or stop taking Mounjaro without discussing it with them.
- Mounjaro is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) into your stomach, thigh, or upper arm once a week at any time of the day. It can be taken with or without food. You can change the day of the week you administer Mounjaro if the time between the doses is at least 72 hours (3 days). Rotate the injection site each week.
- If you miss a dose of Mounjaro, you can take the missed dose immediately if it is within the first 4 days after missing the dose. If it has been more than 4 days, skip the missed dose and take your next dose on its scheduled day. Do NOT take 2 doses of Mounjaro within 3 days of each other.
- You can inject insulin and Mounjaro in the same area of your body, just not right next to each other. Do not mix the medications together in the same injection.
- Store Mounjaro in its original carton in the refrigerator between 36⁰F to 46⁰F (2⁰C to 8⁰C). Each single-dose pen can be stored up to 86⁰F (30⁰C) for 21 days. • Do not freeze Mounjaro or use it if it has been frozen.
Mounjaro is contraindicated in patients who have any of the following:
- Personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)
- Allergic reaction to Mounjaro or any of its inactive ingredients.
- Pancreatitis has been reported during clinical trials. You should stop Mounjaro immediately if pancreatitis is suspected.
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), especially if taken with insulin or an insulin secretagogue (sulfonylureas).
- Severe hypersensitivity reactions have occurred with Maunjaro. Discontinue Mounjaro if an allergic reaction is suspected.
- Mounjaro can cause serious GI side effects. It is not recommended in patients with severe GI disease.
- Use caution in patients with diabetic retinopathy as it can cause complications.
- Mounjaro is known to cause acute gallbladder disease. Follow up with your doctor if it is suspected.
- Birth control pills may not be as effective when taken with Mounjaro. You should use alternative birth control methods for a month after you begin treatment with Mounjaro and for a month after each time your dose is increased.
Common side effects of Mounjaro
The most common side effects of Mounjaro include:
- Low blood sugar
- Injection site reactions
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal pain
Mounjaro can cause serious side effects including:
- Increased risk of thyroid cancer including thyroid c-cell tumors
- Acute kidney injury
- Diabetic retinopathy complications
- Acute gallbladder disease
Contact your doctor for medical advice about any side effects you experience while taking Mounjaro. You can report your side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Mounjaro drug interactions
When Mounjaro is taken with other medications, they may interact and change how they work. They can also change the frequency and severity of certain side effects. Make sure your healthcare provider is aware of all prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take. Some major drug interactions with Mounjaro include:
- Mounjaro delays gastric emptying so it may impact the absorption of oral medications that are taken with it.
- Increased risk of hypoglycemia when Mounjaro is taken along with insulin secretagogues (sulfonylureas) or insulin.
There are other medications that your healthcare professional can prescribe if Mounjaro is not the right medication for you. Some alternative FDA-approved treatment options include:
- Ozempic (semaglutide)
- Rybelsus (semaglutide)
- Trulicity (dulaglutide)
- Glucophage (metformin)
- Victoza (liraglutide)
How does Mounjaro compare with Ozempic (semaglutide)?
Mounjaro and Ozempic are both indicated along with diet and exercise to decrease high blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. They are both given as once-weekly subcutaneous injections.
In clinical trials comparing Mounjaro to other diabetes treatments, patients taking the highest recommended dose of Mounjaro lowered their HbA1c levels by 0.5% more than Ozempic.
Patients taking Mounjaro also lost more weight than those taking other medications. They also had an average weight loss of 12 pounds more than patients taking Ozempic, 29 pounds more than those on Tresiba (insulin degludec), and 27 pounds more than Toujeo (insulin glargine) patients.
However, the manufacturer of Oxempic reported fewer digestive side effects and a higher overall tolerance when compared to Mounjaro.
There is currently no generic alternative available for either medication. Mounjaro has an average cost of almost $1200 for #1 carton of 2.5mg/0.5ml pens while Ozempic costs approximately $1000 for #1 prefilled pen of 2mg/1.5ml.
RELATED: Mounjaro vs Ozempic
Is Mounjaro a weight loss medication?
While Mounjaro is not approved as a weight management medication, there is a 72-week clinical trial that showed patients with obesity that did not have type 2 diabetes had significant and long-term reductions in body weight. Patients on Mounjaro lost an average of almost 21% of their body weight at the highest dose studied when compared to placebo.
How long does Mounjaro stay in your system?
Mounjaro has a half-life of around 5 days, so it will stay in your bloodstream for up to 25 days after your last dose.
How do I store Mounjaro?
Store Mounjaro in its original carton in the refrigerator between 36⁰F to 46⁰F (2⁰C to 8⁰C). Each single-dose pen can be stored up to 86⁰F (30⁰C) for 21 days. • Do not freeze Mounjaro or use it if it has been frozen.
How long does it take for Mounjaro to start working?
Mounjaro will start working after the first dose. It can take up to several months until you see the Mounjaro’s full benefit. This is usually because your doctor will titrate your dose every 4 weeks until they find the right dose for you.
Can you take Mounjaro while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
There is insufficient data on the use of Mounjaro during pregnancy. It should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risks. There is no data on whether Mounjaro is found in breast milk or the effects it may have on the infant or milk production. You should always discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Is there a generic for Mounjaro?
Currently, there is no generic for Mounjaro available on the market. However, you can still save on other diabetes brand-name drugs with the help of NiceRx if eligible.