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Is this the new Ozempic? Everything you need to know about weight loss jab Mounjaro – and how to find out if you’re eligible


Ozempic has become a household name after the jab – which was first developed to treat type 2 diabetes – has since also been used off-label (for a purpose other than that for which it was licensed), in both the US and the UK, to treat obesity.

However, medical experts have recently been shining more of a spotlight on other injections which can be used for weight loss – particularly Wegovy and Mounjaro.

The latter is much newer – with many companies and pharmacies only launching it in the past week – but both work because they contain drugs which mimic hunger-suppressing hormones in the body. 

Clinical trials seem to show promising results for the newcomer, suggesting that Mounjaro leads to more weight loss than Wegovy with an average of about 25 per cent after one year, compared to Wegovy’s 16 per cent.

Speaking to FEMAIL, Mike Gibbs, the co-founder & COO, NHS-backed healthy eating plan Second Nature (www.secondnature.io), revealed everything you need to know about the treatments.

Ozempic has become a household name after the jab - which was first developed to treat type 2 diabetes - has since also been used off-label (for a purpose other than that for which it was licensed), in both the US and the UK, to treat obesity. Stock image used

Ozempic has become a household name after the jab – which was first developed to treat type 2 diabetes – has since also been used off-label (for a purpose other than that for which it was licensed), in both the US and the UK, to treat obesity. Stock image used

However, the expert also stressed that weight loss drugs are not a ‘magic fix’ for obesity. 

‘Weight loss injections are designed as additional tools for healthy lifestyle change and shouldn’t be considered lifelong medications,’ he explained.

‘Instead, they should be used to help kickstart a person’s weight loss journey while they focus on building new, healthy habits.

‘Consider the use of antidepressants for people living with depression. They’re not designed to cure the condition. Instead, they’re designed to allow room for therapy to treat the underlying cause.

‘Mounjaro and Wegovy are similar. These medications can help silence food-related thoughts and give people a boost of confidence with more immediate weight loss results.’

Mike added that this helps people ‘buy the time and headspace to understand why their body may have struggled to lose weight’.

Here, the expert shared what to do if you’re considering your options – and how to know if you’re eligible.

What are the main weight loss injections in the UK? 

Wegovy and Mounjaro are the brand names of the two most popular weight loss injections available to buy privately. Wegovy contains a drug called semaglutide, which is also produced under the name Ozempic, which has received a lot more press than Wegovy.

Here, the expert shared what to do if you're considering your options - and how to know if you're eligible. Stock image used

Here, the expert shared what to do if you’re considering your options – and how to know if you’re eligible. Stock image used

In the UK, Wegovy is approved for weight loss for people living with obesity and can be purchased privately. But Ozempic is no longer available to buy privately for weight loss.

The other main weight loss injection in the UK is Mounjaro, which contains a drug called tirzepatide.

 

Taking Ozempic and Wegovy for weight loss? These drugs are now linked to another serious health condition, study suggests

Experts have also warned that using the weight loss shots Ozempic and Wegovy can increase the risk of severe gastrointestinal problems, adding to the ever-growing list of undesired side effects. 

People using weekly injections of Ozempic and Wegovy, which has the active ingredient semaglutide, for weight loss have a higher chance of pancreatitis, bowel obstructions and stomach paralysis.

Users were last year warned that while rare, thousands of people could be at risk due to the drugs’ rising popularity.

Lead study author Mohit Sodhi, a medical student studying at the University of British Columbia, Canada, said: ‘People who are otherwise healthy may be less willing to accept these potentially serious adverse events.’

Previous research has shown that people taking the drugs for diabetes were at higher risk of pancreatitis, bowel obstructions and stomach paralysis.

However, the recent study is the first to look at the effects of the drugs on the stomach and intestines in people taking the medication exclusively for weight loss.

What are the differences between Wegovy and Mounjaro?

Research suggests that Mounjaro leads to more weight loss than Wegovy with an average of about 25 per cent after one year, compared to Wegovy’s 16 per cent. 

Mounjaro and Wegovy contain drugs that mimic two hormones in the body that lower hunger: GLP-1 and GIP.

The GLP-1 hormone has three major effects in your body:

1. It slows the rate of food movement from your stomach to your small intestine.

2. It communicates with the appetite control centre in your brain to increase satiety so you feel less hungry.

3. It manages the release of the insulin and glucagon hormones in your body, ultimately leading to lower blood sugar levels (generally a good thing).

The natural GLP-1 hormone in your body lasts only a few minutes, whereas the GLP-1 drugs can last for many days. This means they can have the above effects over a more sustained period.

This leads to users feeling less hungry because they have food in their stomachs for longer, and GLP-1’s effect on the brain means users feel like they have less ‘food noise’. It also reduces cravings for highly-desirable foods.

The main difference between Wegovy and Mounjaro is that the drug in Wegovy mimics a single hormone, GLP-1, while the drug in Mounjaro mimics both GLP-1 and GIP.

GIP is a hormone that supports blood sugar levels and helps our fat cells store more excess energy we might consume in our diets.

It’s thought this dual-action effect of Mounjaro is why better weight loss results have been seen in the clinical trials published so far.

Otherwise, both Wegovy and Mounjaro are generally similar in terms of cost and are also administered once a week via injection.

What are the most common side effects?

The most common side effects of Wegvoy and Mounjaro are nausea, constipation, vomiting, and diarrhoea – as well as tiredness.

These symptoms most commonly occur around the time of the injection and as the dosage is increased over time. However, symptoms typically ease after adapting to the drugs.

A recent study discovered 44 per cent of people on Second Nature’s semaglutide weight loss programme reported ‘feeling more tired than usual’ after four weeks. 

However, after eight weeks, the number of people reporting tiredness had halved from 44 per cent to 22 per cent.

Finally, it’s worth noting that everyone responds differently to these medications; some people won’t experience any side effects, while others will.

What are the eligibility criteria for weight loss injections?

What does a medication-supported healthy eating plan look like?

When taking Wegovy and Mounjaro, you eat fewer calories. This means it’s even more important to ensure that your calories are high quality and healthy.

But being healthy does have to be boring. It just means to aim to get a serving of protein with each meal, alongside some form of vegetables and healthy fats (eg olive oil).

When drastically reducing your calorie intake and losing weight, increasing your relative protein intake and doing some resistance exercise can help minimise any muscle loss and maximise fat loss.

There are strict eligibility criteria for these medications. It’s important to avoid listing all the criteria so people can’t easily manipulate the system, but generally, people need to be living with obesity (BMI of over 30) and not have any health conditions or previous binge-eating behaviours that would make the drug unsuitable for them.

The Second Nature website has an online test you can take to check if you’re eligible. 

Can you get Wegovy and Mounjaro on the NHS?

Yes, but only in very specific circumstances. Often, they are prescribed alongside a referral from a GP to what’s called a ‘specialist weight-management service’, and also where more conventional weight loss methods have failed.

What should you consider when purchasing Wegovy or Mounjaro online?

Firstly, make sure you’re purchasing from a reputable provider who is registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

There have been horror stories of people buying knock-off Ozempic/Wegovy pens or powders that have turned out to be a totally different drug.

Secondly, you should consider whether you want the weight loss injection alone or whether you want to take the medication alongside a lifestyle-change programme to change your habits.

The clinical trials for Wegovy and Mounjaro were based on the medication being taken alongside lifestyle change. Published trials with semaglutide showed when people stop taking the drug, users put a lot of the weight back on.



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