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Tirzepatide vs Semaglutide: Weighing the Options for Weight Management

by | News

Tirzepatide and semaglutide are two medications generating a lot of buzz for their potential in weight management. Both are type 2 diabetes drugs, but doctors sometimes prescribe them “off-label” to help patients shed pounds. While tirzepatide shows promise for being more effective, current research is still evolving. Let’s break down the key differences between these two drugs.

Is Tirzepatide Better Than Semaglutide?


Sold under the brand name Mounjaro, tirzepatide takes a different approach. It’s a dual-action drug, mimicking both GLP-1 and GIP hormones. GIP, like GLP-1, promotes insulin production and feelings of fullness. This potentially offers an extra edge for weight loss. However, tirzepatide is currently only FDA-approved for type 2 diabetes, so its use for weight loss is off-label.

Tirzepatide’s success in achieving medical weight loss comes from its ability to suppress appetite and regulate blood sugar levels. It works by targeting two specific receptors in the body, which triggers the body to produce insulin and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 hormones work by slowing down digestion and making people feel full for longer, leading to an overall reduction in calorie intake. Additionally, the medication has been shown to improve other aspects of metabolic health, such as controlling blood sugar and reducing inflammation.


This GLP-1 boasts wider FDA approval for type 2 diabetes under brand names like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus. Semaglutide works by targeting the GLP-1 receptors in the pancreas, brain, and stomach. When these receptors are stimulated, they reduce appetite and slow down digestion. As a result, individuals snack and overeat less, which ultimately contributes to weight loss. Delayed digestion can also have additional benefits, such as improved blood sugar control, which is essential in managing diabetes.

Semaglutide has also shown potential in reducing the risk of several health complications associated with obesity. These complications include heart disease, stroke, and even certain types of cancer. By promoting weight loss, semaglutide can lead to better health outcomes and reduce the burden of chronic disease. Additionally, one advantage for semaglutide is its availability in both pill and injection forms. Tirzepatide currently comes only as an injection.

Do They Both Work for Weight Loss?

Studies suggest both drugs can be effective for weight loss, with tirzepatide potentially leading to greater results in some cases.

  • A 2023 study found that tirzepatide led to more weight loss than semaglutide, even though it cost more. Researchers concluded it might be a more effective and valuable option.
  • Another 2021 study also showed tirzepatide to be more successful.

However, there are some important points to consider:

  • Dosage: The studies compared unequal doses of the medications. The higher tirzepatide dosage might have skewed the results. A higher semaglutide dose could potentially yield similar weight loss.
  • Subjects: These studies focused on people with type 2 diabetes. The effects might differ for those without the condition. While tirzepatide is not yet approved for weight loss in non-diabetics, studies suggest semaglutide might be effective in this population.

Are There Side Effects to Trizepatide and Semaglutide?

Since they work similarly, both drugs share similar side effects, typically mild:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

More serious side effects are rare but possible:

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

Both medications carry a boxed warning from the FDA for the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. This is the most serious warning the FDA issues.

Choosing Between Tirzepatide vs Semaglutide

Since research is ongoing, there’s no definitive answer to which drug reigns supreme. Here are some factors to consider when discussing options with your doctor:

  • Your specific needs and medical history
  • Dosage options and availability (injections vs. pills)
  • Potential side effects and risk tolerance
  • Cost (tirzepatide is currently more expensive)

Remember, neither drug is a magic answer. A healthy diet and exercise are crucial components of any successful weight management plan. Consult your doctor to see if tirzepatide or semaglutide could be a part of your weight loss journey.

Find Out if Trizepatide or Semaglutide Would Work Better for You at Melamed Weight & Wellness

Here at Melamed Health & Wellness, our providers are trained in assessing your overall health and determining the best weight loss medication to help you achieve your health goals. If you have questions about Tirzepatide or Semaglutide, we encourage you to contact us so you can learn more about both medications and see if either is an appropriate treatment for you.

Our goal is to help you live your best and healthiest life. Schedule an appointment with us today so you can begin your weight loss journey.