The skinny injection.
If you’re thinking about losing weight, it’s almost impossible to ignore the hype around these so-called miracle weight loss drugs.
Not only are these injections hitting the headline news almost daily, with celebrity success stories, but they’re getting health professionals genuinely excited about the potential of these weight loss solutions—and the impact they could have on chronic weight management.
Ozempic, Wegovy, Trulicity, Mounjaro…it seems like every day, there’s another name thrown into the skinny injection mix. And with so many choices on the ‘skinny menu’, it can get confusing to understand what (if any) the differences are between all the weight loss injection options.
And, if any are right for you and your weight management journey, understanding the potential health implications and risks is the most important thing.
To help you on your journey, here we’re going to explore the difference between Wegovy and Mounjaro, and consider whether they’re the silver bullet for weight loss that people have been waiting for.
Let’s get started.
Why are people turning to the so-called “skinny injection”?
The weight loss industry is no stranger to so-called silver bullet solutions. It seems like there is a new miracle obesity cure every year.
And it’s totally understandable—weight is essential to your overall health—people want to look and feel their best, and having a healthy weight can help with that.
You’re probably here reading this as you want to lose weight, and a new solution that promises to help you do just that is enticing.
But is the skinny injection the one that finally fulfills the dreams and wishes of those looking to lose weight?
The on-label, Food and Drug Administration (FDA approved) use for weight loss injections is obesity and blood sugar management for those with diabetes and associated conditions —it’s why this medication was originally developed.
But, there has recently been an influx of people using it off-label as a means to lose weight after the realisation that it was a by-product of the injections.
So much so that there has been a Wegovy shortage in the UK and around the world, causing people with diabetes to struggle to get the medication.
But is it really worth it? Or do the risks associated outweigh the potential benefits?
Let’s find out.
Wegovy vs Mounjaro: what’s the difference in the injections?
With multiple different active ingredients and brand-name weight loss injections available on the market—it can be confusing to understand what the difference is between them all—or if there are any.
Are they the same medication or different?
So, let’s look at two of the most common brand names available in weight loss injections to understand the difference between them in terms of side effects, effectiveness and cost.
What is Wegovy?
First, we have Wegovy, a brand-name medicine containing the active ingredient semaglutide made by Novo Nordisk. Wegovy has the same active ingredient as the celebrity favourite, Ozempic.
It’s used to help people with specific conditions manage their weight, including…
- Adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 27
- Children over 12 with a BMI in the top 95 percentile
It comes in the form of a pre-filled, single-dose injectable pen that people take weekly and ranges from a starting dose of 0.25mg to a maintenance dose of 2.4mg.
It is a GLP-1 receptor agonist and works by altering your appetite hormones, essentially making you feel fuller throughout the day, battling hunger cravings so that you eat less and, therefore, lose weight.
Read: Everything you need to know about Wegovy to discover the ins and outs of this so-called ‘miracle weight loss drug.’
What is Mounjaro?
Next up is Mounjaro, which is made by Eli Lilly with the active ingredient tirzepatide.
It works in two different ways: mimicking two hormones that support blood sugar and weight loss. In addition to being a GLP-1 receptor agonist, it is also a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) mimetic, which helps fat cells store excess energy.
Again, it was mainly developed for the treatment of blood sugar in patients with Type 2 Diabetes but is now used for obesity management in adults. To qualify for Mounjaro, you’ll usually need to…
- Have a BMI of over 30
- Or, have a BMI of over 27 with a weight-related health condition, i.e., high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease
The other main difference with Mounjaro is the dosage taken, which is much higher than that of Wegovy—starting at 2.5mg per week and going all the way up to 15mg/per week.
Wegovy and Mounjaro: do you need a prescription?
Wegovy and Mounjaro are both prescription drugs in the US and UK—you can get them either by visiting a health provider or via online consultation.
But, it’s worth noting at this point that while both are designed to be prescribed and administered via a medical professional for a specific subsection of people, their rising popularity has led to a black market for weight loss injections.
This, at best, is resulting in people being scammed, with medication not turning up after payment is made.
At worst, it’s been shown that medication bought on the black market is often counterfeit, and with no regulation, there’s no guarantee that the tested and safe active ingredients are what you are taking.
This is putting your health at risk and is a dangerous side effect of the rise of weight loss injections such as Wegovy and Mounjaro.
If you’re going to take a weight loss injection, we strongly recommend that you speak to a registered medical professional and take the medication under their guidance.
Wegovy vs Mounjaro: What are the side effects (and are they safe)?
While losing weight is the main aim of the game, some unwanted side effects can come with taking weight loss injections—some more serious than others.
And it’s one of the main criticisms that comes with the rise of weight loss injections—and why the black market sales of them are particularly worrying.
Yes, you might want to lose weight, but not at the cost of your health.
Let’s look at what these side effects are and whether they’re worth it.
What are the side effects of Wegovy?
While Wegovy can help people reach their weight loss or management goals, it comes with its fair share of side effects, including…
- Abdominal pain
While these are mild and should be reduced over time, there are some more worrying and severe side effects, including pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, kidney problems, and a serious risk of thyroid cancer.
In fact, Wegovy even has a boxed warning for thyroid cancer—which is the most serious warning that the FDA can give.
What are the side effects of Mounjaro?
The side effects of Mounjaro are often seen as more severe than Wegovy—which dissuades people from using it.
The Mounjaro website states that the most common side effects are…
- Decreased appetite
- Stomach Pain
And that these usually happen when the dose is being increased and will be minimised over time.
But, it’s also suggested that Mounjaro has more severe side effects than both placebos and other weight management injections.
In a randomised controlled study comparing tirzepatide (Mounjaro) to semaglutide (Wegovy/Ozempic), there were more serious side effects, higher discontinuation and more deaths with tirzepatide.
Some of the more severe side effects include kidney and stomach problems, which is why it’s so important to take it under the supervision of a licensed medical professional.
So, while they are both FDA-approved and have gone through various clinical trials, there’s still the worry that, alongside significant weight loss, they can have long-term impacts on health.
Both are associated with mild side effects. But, studies suggest Mounjaro’s might be more severe, which leads to higher rates of discontinuation
Wegovy vs Mounjaro: how much do they cost?
Although prescribed, there is still a cost for the drug, which will vary depending on how long you intend to use them
It will depend on your insurance coverage, with some paying as little as $25 per month through insurance and utilising Wegovy savings programs. But for most people, it’s around $300 per weekly dose.
In comparison Mounjaro is around $1500 per month, again depending on your insurance plan and other various factors.
Wegovy vs Mounjaro: Which is the best for weight loss?
So what’s the verdict?
With weight loss outcomes potentially being the most important factor when people are deciding which injection is best for them.
How effective is Wegovy for weight loss?
Wegovy is effective for body weight loss, with the Lancet showing that those on Wegovy were less likely to gain weight (compared with those only implementing lifestyle changes)
While for those combining Semaglutide and lifestyle changes 10% lost 1 to 10% and 87% lost more than 10% body weight.
How effective is Mounjaro for weight loss?
There’s no doubt that Mounjaro can help with significant weight loss—potentially even more so than Wegov—with research comparing the higher doses of tirzepatide, suggesting it might reduce weight by 5.15kg more than semaglutide.
But, for both, it’s important to understand that a healthy diet and lifestyle changes are essential otherwise—you’ll regain the weight when you come off it.
It’s not an isolated solution: You’ll still have to put in effort—otherwise—the weight will go back on pretty swiftly.
Ultimately, you need to speak to a healthcare professional to figure out which, if either, is the best solution for you and your weight management needs.
What are the alternatives to weight management injections?
If, by this point, you’re worried about the health implications of taking weight loss medications, you’re not alone.
Although the results can be tempting, for many, the side effects and safety implications lead them to try something else.
One thing it’s important to remember is that both weight loss injections are meant to be used alongside a healthy diet and exercise to get the best results. And not making healthy lifestyle choices is the reason that many people put the weight back on.
So, the first alternative is to ensure that your diet and exercise regime are in a good place before jumping to medical intervention.
NOTE: A study by the Lancet did suggest that interventions were more successful when it came to weight loss than lifestyle changes alone, so it’s understandable that you’ll want to do something.
So, the other alternative is a natural weight management supplement, like PhenQ—which can help naturally suppress your appetite and boost metabolism, leading to weight loss.
Again, for the best results, you’ll need to use this effective alternative to complement a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
So, the bottom line is that while interventions can help—a healthy lifestyle to maintain the weight you want is always going to be essential.
There is no silver bullet.
What should you take to lose weight?
Sure, weight loss injections are gaining hype in the mainstream media for a reason. They have been seen to have a huge impact on weight loss.
If you’re thinking of getting one, the first step should be to speak to a healthcare provider, and ultimately, they will guide you toward the one that is most suitable for you. While it’s good to be aware of the implications and side effects—it’s not a decision that you should be making alone.
But, while they do help you lose weight, once you stop taking them, it’s likely that the weight will pile back on if you don’t focus on making healthy lifestyle choices. Plus, the side effects can be, at best, difficult to deal with and, at worst, dangerous to your health.
So, if you’re massively overweight and unhealthy, it’s something your physician might recommend. But otherwise, you might be better off incorporating natural weight loss supplements alongside a healthy diet and exercise.
Something like PhenQ, can help boost metabolism and reduce appetite and cravings naturally and without side effects, alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle.
If you want to figure out the difference between PhenQ and injections, read our essential guide right here.