How Can Mounjaro Help You?
If you or someone you love has type 2 diabetes, you have several options for treatment. One is Mounjaro (tirzepatide), a drug that can jumpstart lifestyle changes and weight loss while treating type 2 diabetes. How do you know if Mounjaro is right for you? Our team at the biostation invites you to explore the effectiveness of Mounjaro before you discuss this treatment option with your doctor.
Mounjaro is a medication made by Eli Lilly and Company, and it's approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults. It falls under the category of a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Tirzepatide is the chemical name of Mounjaro's active ingredient. Adults using tirzepatide need to administer it as a weekly injection with single-dose pens, available in the following concentrations:
2.5 mg/0.5 mL.
5 mg/0.5 mL.
7.5 mg/0.5 mL.
10 mg/0.5 mL.
12.5 mg/0.5 mL.
15 mg/0.5 mL.
You can inject Mounjaro into the upper arm, thigh, or abdomen, rotating the spot weekly to avoid scarring. The timing relative to meals is irrelevant, meaning you can take your injection at any time that suits you.
You should administer a missed dose as soon as possible. If you are over four days past your scheduled injection date, skip that one and resume the weekly injections on the next scheduled date. Mounjaro does need to be refrigerated but be sure not to freeze the medication. Alternatively, you can store it at room temperature, though that reduces the efficacy time to 21 days.
Effectiveness of Mounjaro
Eli Lilly funded a study called SURPASS that compared tirzepatide with other diabetes medications such as semaglutide 1 mg, insulin degludec, and insulin glargine. Participants given a placebo saw their A1C, a good indicator of blood glucose levels, increase over time. Those given tirzepatide saw their A1C drop at a similar rate to the other diabetes medications. These clinical trials showed Mounjaro to have exceeded initial expectations not only for its ability to lower A1C but also for its efficacy in promoting weight loss in people who are overweight.
Although Mounjaro has not been approved for weight loss by the FDA, clinical trials demonstrate its potential for this purpose. The FDA has fast-tracked it to determine its effect on treating obesity.
Side Effects of Mounjaro
As with nearly any medication, Mounjaro can cause side effects. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, reduced appetite, and indigestion are the most common potential side effects, and they usually dissipate over time.
There's also a slight risk of more severe side effects. One is that Mounjaro may cause thyroid tumors or even thyroid cancer. If you or your immediate family have ever been diagnosed with medullary thyroid carcinoma, a type of thyroid cancer, or if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, Mounjaro may not be the best fit for you. If you develop swelling or a lump in your neck, become hoarse, short of breath, or have difficulty swallowing, stop taking Mounjaro and contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Pancreatitis, which refers to inflammation in the pancreas, can be another potentially serious side effect. Symptoms of pancreatitis can include vomiting or severe abdominal pain that won't subside. If you continue using other diabetes medications, your blood sugar may fall too low, which is known as hypoglycemia. With severe hypoglycemia, you can become lightheaded or confused, and you may experience a rapid heartbeat, among other symptoms.
While not likely, kidney problems, gallbladder problems, serious allergic reactions, changes in vision, and severe stomach problems can also occur. Stop administering Mounjaro and get immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms. You should report any serious side effects to the FDA for documentation.
Other Precautions When Taking Mounjaro
Many oral medications, including oral hormonal contraceptives and insulin, can have an undesired interaction with Mounjaro. Be sure your doctor is aware of all medications you are taking so that they can properly advise you. You should not take Mounjaro if you're allergic to tirzepatide, its active ingredient, or any of its inactive ingredients. Other things to tell your doctor about include any issues with diabetic retinopathy or a history of gallbladder disease, severe stomach problems, pancreatitis, or kidney problems, as Mounjaro may cause these issues to worsen.
If you're pregnant or plan to be soon, let your doctor know so they can decide if Mounjaro is right for you. Also, if you use oral hormonal birth control, you may be asked to use another form in the four weeks following the beginning of treatment and four weeks after the dosage increases. Finally, it's unknown if Mounjaro will pass into breast milk, so also discuss with your doctor if you are, or plan to, breastfeed.
Mitigating the Side Effects of Mounjaro
The side effects are usually minor and typically serve as only an inconvenience. Still, there are things you can do to lessen the severity of the side effects or even avoid them entirely. The first thing is to ensure you only take your prescribed amount and no more. Taking too much can increase the incidence of side effects. Keep tabs on your blood sugar levels to make sure they improve but don't drop too low. Another thing that will help with side effects is staying well hydrated, as dehydration can exacerbate unwanted effects.
Alcohol will also increase the odds of experiencing side effects. Try to eat regularly, as maintaining a consistent eating schedule will help prevent high and low blood sugar. Diabetes can also lead to foot problems, so make sure you check your feet for lesions, redness, or other issues, and discuss anything you find with your doctor. Awareness of the symptoms and signs of the possible side effects of tirzepatide administration is essential. If you notice any of these side effects, speak to your doctor immediately.
Get regular checkups to see if your dosage is correct or needs to be adjusted, and closely monitor any side effects.
If you want more information on Mounjaro, including about how to begin treatment, reach out to our knowledgeable team at the biostation. Call us at 561-462-4894, and a team member will be happy to answer any questions or schedule you for a consultation. You can also request a consultation online to get started today.