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Weight Loss Match Up: Semaglutide vs. Tirzepatide — Which Is Best for You?

By now, you’ve likely heard all the buzz around drugs like Semaglutide (also known as Ozempic) and Tirzepatide. But are these new drugs that promise quick results really the right answer for your weight loss journey? Keep reading for a complete overview of both of these drugs to understand how they work. We’ll discuss the benefits and risks of each and identify if they’re right for you.

What Are the Drugs Semaglutide and Tirzepatide?

Semaglutide and Tirzepatide are both very similar drugs. They are both antidiabetic medications used for treating type 2 diabetes through blood sugar level management. Additionally, these drugs are incredibly successful at inducing weight loss and are sometimes used as a weight management solution. Both drugs are administered as an injection (although Semaglutide has an oral tablet option) and are government approved.

You might already know about Semaglutide and Tirzepatide but have heard of them through their brand names? Semaglutide is sold under the brand names Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus. And Tirzepatide is sold under the brand name Mounjaro.

In recent months, these drugs have gained much attention as many celebrities have started using these medications for dramatic weight loss. Comedian Chelsea Handler admitted to using Ozempic but says her doctor prescribed it for reasons other than weight loss. Other celebrities that have openly discussed trying it have been comedian Amy Schumer, reality television star Tracy Tutor and tech billionaire Elon Musk.

The results are clear. Even if you don’t have diabetes, this medication can help you shed pounds quickly. But the question remains, is it safe?

A Closer Look at the Side Effects

Most drugs come with some risk of side effects, and this holds true for both Semaglutide and Tirzepatide. Before experimenting with any medication, you must have a clear understanding of what the side effects may be.

Potential Side Effects of Semaglutide

Some of the side effects of a Semaglutide injection are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Burping
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you present with any of the following more serious side effects, you should consult your doctor immediately:

  • Pain that begins in the stomach but may spread to the back
  • Any type of irritation, including a rash, itching, swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, tongue or throat
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Decreased urination
  • Swelling of legs, ankles or feet
  • Vision changes
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Potential Side Effects of Tirzepatide

Some of the side effects of a Tirzepatide injection are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach

These side effects sound scary but know that they are rare — and not experienced by most users. Most people taking either Tirzepatide or Semaglutide only report nausea, decreased appetite and sometimes vomiting.

Potential Drug Interactions

Before you start any new medication, it’s vital you get it cleared by your doctor to mix this new drug with your existing prescriptions.

Semaglutide is known to interact with 247 drugs, six diseases and two alcohol or food groups. Of all the drug interactions, two are labeled as major, 224 are moderate and 21 are minor.

Similarly, Tirzepatide is known to interact with 249 drugs, five diseases and two alcohol or food groups. Of all these interactions, two are labeled as major, 226 are moderate and 21 are minor.

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Health Risks and Concerns

In addition to side effects, there are some health risks you should know about Semaglutide and Tirzepatide. Some of the more serious health risks you should know about these medications are:

  • Vision changes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney failure
  • Gallbladder issues
  • Allergic reactions

Additionally, both of these drugs have boxed warnings for the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. This is an important note, as a boxed warning is the most serious cautionary label from the regulatory authority. Individuals with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) are advised to avoid these medications.

Do These Drugs Really Help With Weight Loss?

As you probably can already guess, the answer is yes. These drugs are incredibly effective at helping people with weight loss management, which is why so many celebrities have started using the medication.

But you don’t have to just take our word for it. Let’s look at the scientific evidence.

A 2021 study of Semaglutide found that “2.4 mg of Semaglutide once weekly plus lifestyle intervention was associated with sustained, clinically relevant reduction in body weight.” And a 2022 study of Tirzepatide found over a “72-week trial in participants with obesity, 5 mg, 10 mg or 15 mg of tirzepatide once weekly provided substantial and sustained reductions in body weight.”

Semaglutide vs. Tirzepatide: Which Is More Effective for Weight Loss?

So, we know that both drugs are effective for weight loss. But, you might be asking yourself if one is better than the other.

Luckily, there have been studies that have compared the two against each other.

Studies in 2021 and 2022 compared the two medications and found that Tirzepatide is superior for weight loss results. The 2022 study concluded that even though Tirzepatide is the more expensive option, it’s worth paying extra because it offers better results.

However, we should note here that these studies were not flawless. Firstly, they compared different doses of the two drugs. Patients received only 1 mg of Semaglutide, while the other group received the maximum approved dose of 2.4 mg of Tirzepatide. Semaglutide potentially could have achieved better results if the dosage had been the same across both groups.

Additionally, these studies focused on results for people with type 2 diabetes. Because of this, there is a chance that the weight loss results would be different if applied to non-diabetic groups.

Deciding Between Semaglutide and Tirzepatide

As you’ve seen by now, these two drugs are very similar. They work similarly and hold nearly identical risks. If you need help deciding between the two, here are some factors that might sway you in one direction:

  • Effectiveness: Some early studies indicate that Tirzepatide is more effective, but these studies have some flaws. More research needs to be done in this area.
  • Delivery: Both of these drugs typically come as an injection. However, Semaglutide has an oral tablet option if you’re scared of needles.
  • Drug Interactions: Semaglutide and Tirzepatide have almost the same amount of drug interactions (247 vs 249). Still, you should check any medications you’re currently on against both of these drugs. This information may guide your decision.
  • Availability: If you have a preferred clinic you want to work with, they may only carry one of these drugs. They may have reasons for choosing one drug, so it’s good to have a conversation with the provider about their reasoning.

Ultimately, you should ask your healthcare provider which medication is best for you.

Weight Management Solutions at Hormonally Balanced

Hormonally Balanced is a Massachusetts women’s wellness and hormone specialists clinic. We understand how hard it can be to keep your weight under control, and we’re here to help. Our clinic offers medically monitored weight loss programs that help you lose that stubborn weight now. Contact us today to learn more about our weight management programs — you’re just one step away from a healthier, happier you!

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