Semaglutide vs Tirzepatide

Tirzepatide and semaglutide are Type 2 diabetes drugs also used for weight management. Tirzepatide may seem potentially more effective, but it is too early to know that based on current research.
Using these medications for weight loss is becoming more common. Doctors will sometimes prescribe these newer Type 2 diabetes drugs to help with weight management. This use is off label, which means that doctors are prescribing the drug for a different condition than what its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval is actually for.

Two drugs that doctors are prescribing for weight loss are tirzepatide and semaglutide. Both drugs help the brain feel less hungry, but each has some differences to consider with your doctor’s guidance. Research on these medications is still unclear as to which may be better.

Is Tirzepatide Better than Semaglutide?

Semaglutide is FDA approved to treat Type 2 diabetes under the brand names Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus. However, only Wegovy has FDA approval for use in managing weight.
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1, GLP-1, receptor agonist, which means it mimics the GLP-1 hormone and will make you feel less hungry.

When you eat, your digestive tract releases the GLP-1 hormone, prompting your body to create more insulin. It can also send signals to your brain that you are full.

Tirzepatide is sold under the brand name Mounjaro. It is both a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, GIP, and GLP-1 receptor agonist. Tirzepatide mimics the GLP-1 hormone and the GIP hormone. The GIP hormone will also trigger insulin creation and the sensation of fullness.
This means tirzepatide might offer an extra weight loss boost. But it is only approved for Type 2 diabetes, so any use for weight loss is off label.

One benefit of semaglutide is that it is available in both oral tablets and injections. Tirzepatide is only available as an injection.

Do They Both Work for Weight Loss?

Recent studies have compared semaglutide and tirzepatide for weight loss. A 2023 study found that tirzepatide resulted in greater weight loss than semaglutide. Even though it costs more, the researchers concluded that tirzepatide is more effective and a better value. A 2021 study also found that tirzepatide was more effective.
There are some important points to consider about these studies, though:
* The doses of semaglutide and tirzepatide given to the participants were not equal. The dose of tirzepatide was higher, which might have affected the results.
* Also, these studies only looked at the weight loss effects in people with Type 2 diabetes, so it is possible those without diabetes may not have seen the same results. Tirzepatide is currently only FDA-approved if you have Type 2 diabetes. However, studies do suggest semaglutide might be an effective weight loss treatment for people without diabetes.

Side Effects of Each Medication

The side effects of tirzepatide and semaglutide are quite similar, probably because they work in a comparable manner. Moderate side effects of tirzepatide and semaglutide can include:
* Constipation or diarrhea.
* An upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting.
* Headaches.
* Abdominal pain.
* Fatigue.
* Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

More severe side effects of tirzepatide and semaglutide could include:

* Vision changes.
* Pancreatitis.
* Kidney failure.
* Gallbladder issues.
* Allergic reactions.

Both medications have warnings for the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. This is a stern warning from the FDA.

Side Effects of Wegovy