Tirzepatide vs Semaglutide: What is the Difference?

tirzepatide vs semaglutide pens

In the battle against the global obesity epidemic, new treatments are continually emerging. Ozempic (semaglutide) may be taking the world by storm, but Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is quickly gaining recognition for its remarkable weight loss results. 

But, which should you choose? Understanding the key differences between these two medications can help individuals make informed decisions about their weight loss journey.

What is the difference between semaglutide and tirzepatide?

Both semaglutide and tirzepatide are GLP-1 receptor agonists. Studies have shown that GLP-1 RAs are effective for preventing or managing obesity.

Tirzepatide, however, is a dual agonist. It is a GLP-1 and GIP receptor agonist. This new class of medication proved to be so effective, it was fast-tracked for FDA-approval as a weight loss medication.  

Tirzepatide vs semaglutide mechanism of action

Both semaglutide and tirzepatide are GLP-1 receptor agonists, but tirzepatide is also a GIP receptor agonist. 

GLP-1 and GIP are both naturally occurring hormones produced in the small intestine. These hormones work together to control food intake and satiety, energy absorption, and assimilation. These medications mimic the hormones in the body and can help to reduce food intake and increase insulin sensitivity. 

Tirzepatide’s dual-agonist nature and impressive 80% bioavailability make it more effective and fast acting than single agonists like semaglutide. 

 

Tirzepatide vs semaglutide dosage for weight loss

Semaglutide and tirzepatide are completely different medications, so their dosages are not equivalent in terms of the actual dose. You may notice in the charts below that the starting dose for tirzepatide is nearly equal to the maximum dose for semaglutide. 

This does not mean that one is more potent than the other. While their dosages may not be the same, both semaglutide and tirzepatide injections do follow a similar dosing schedule. 

Individuals getting started with a weight loss medication will begin with the starting dose, which is the lowest available dose for that medication. In this case, that would be 0.25 mg for semaglutide and 2.5 mg for tirzepatide. 

After the initial 4 weeks, the dose is increased every four weeks or at your healthcare provider’s discretion. Your dosage increase schedule will depend on your side effects and results. 

Semaglutide Dose Chart

Semaglutide Starting Dose Dosage Increase Dose Increase Schedule New Semaglutide Dose
0.25 mg +.025 mg 4+ weeks 0.5 mg
0.5 mg +0.5 mg 4+ weeks 1.7 mg
1 mg +0.7 mg 4+ weeks 1.7 mg
1.7 mg +0.7 mg 4+ weeks 2.4 mg
2.4 mg N/A N/A N/A

Semaglutide is also available in an oral tablet. The dosing for the oral medication is 3 mg, 7 mg, and 14 mg—which are considered equivalent with the injected doses. 

 

Tirzepatide Dose Chart

Tirzepatide Starting Dose Dosage Increase Dose Increase Schedule New Tirzepatide Dose
2.5 mg/0.5 mL +2.5 mg 4+ weeks 5 mg/0.5 mL
5 mg/0.5 mL +2.5 mg 4+ weeks 7.5 mg/0.5 mL
7.5 mg/0.5 mL +2.5 mg 4+ weeks 10 mg/0.5 mL
10 mg/0.5 mL +2.5 mg 4+ weeks 12.5 mg/0.5 mL
12.5 mg/0.5 mL +2.5 mg 4+ weeks 15 mg/0.5 mL
15 mg/0.5 mL N/A N/A N/A

It is very important to note that you should not make dose adjustments without a medical professional. 

Tirzepatide vs semaglutide side effects

Both semaglutide and tirzepatide are GLP-1 receptor agonists. So, while tirzepatide is also a GIP receptor agonist, they have many of the same side effects. Tirzepatide may have higher occurrences of some side effects thanks to its dual agonist nature. 

Tirzepatide side effects and semaglutide side effects include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues. Issues impacting the GI system are the most common for weight loss medications. Semaglutide and tirzepatide are no different.
    Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal/stomach pain, and constipation occur frequently in users for both medications. These occur in  ≥5% of semaglutide patients compared to 10% of tirzepatide patients
  • Headache. While headaches are not likely caused by these medications, they can be an indirect result of other documented side effects of these medications. 
  • Fatigue. Fatigue is also commonly reported when taking weight loss medications. This is more common in semaglutide users and is reported in less than 5% of Ozempic users and 11% of Wegovy users

More serious potential side effects include:

  • Gallbladder issues
  • Pancreatitis
  • Potential risk for heightened thyroid c-cell tumors
  • Kidney injury

Semaglutide vs tirzepatide cost for weight loss

Securing insurance coverage for weight loss medications can be challenging, so the cost will often come completely out-of-pocket. 

Both  semaglutide and tirzepatide are available in name brands as well as compounded generics. The cost of the compounded generics will likely be lower than the name brands. 

Zepbound, the tirzepatide name brand FDA-approved for weight loss, typically costs about $1000 for a month’s supply. 

Wegovy, the semaglutide name brand FDA-approved for weight loss, typically costs $1350 per month. 

There are ways to offset the costs for these medications. Heally, for instance, offers subscription programs to help lower the cost of the medication and deliver it straight to your door. 

Subscription Program Semaglutide Cost Tirzepatide Cost
Monthly $299/month $399/month
3-Month Package $799 $1125
6-Month Package $1549 $2199
3-Month Oral Medication $799 N/A

See how Heally can save you money on your weight loss prescription. 

Tirzepatide vs semaglutide weight loss results

Both semaglutide and tirzepatide show promising weight loss results, making them excellent options for individuals looking to manage their weight and improve their overall health. 

Semaglutide Weight Loss Results

Semaglutide users can expect to lose between 15 and 20% after one year on the medication. Results will vary by individual and dosage, but a review of studies found that the maximum dose (2.4 mg) showed more promising results than lower doses. 

Tirzepatide Weight Loss Results

Similar to semaglutide, tirzepatide users can expect to lose between 15 and 20% of their body weight depending on the maintenance dose. One 72-week trial with a 20-week escalation found these results:

  • 5 milligrams weekly: 15% weight reduction
  • 10 milligrams weekly: 19.5% weight reduction
  • 15 milligrams weekly: 20.9% weight reduction

Further tirzepatide trials have been completed and show that with low-calorie diets and regular exercise, tirzepatide users can expect a total weight reduction of up to 26%

Tirzepatide vs Semaglutide Weight Loss Results

So, which is the better choice? The general results between semaglutide and tirzepatide are very close. But, studies have found that tirzepatide shows a more significant reduction in body weight and fat mass. 

 

Get your tirzepatide or semaglutide prescription online

Getting your weight loss medication has never been easier. Heally’s platform simplifies the process of connecting with a specialized weight loss doctor who can tailor your treatment plan to your unique needs. 

Whether you’re starting your treatment or transitioning to a new phase, Heally offers convenient online consultations that fit into your schedule. We even make it easy to save money on your prescriptions. With subscription plans for every budget, you can start your weight loss journey without breaking the bank. 

Take the next step towards a healthier you with Heally. Connect with a weight loss doctor today.  

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