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What Are Common Mounjaro Side Effects?

Main image courtesy of Healthline.

Making the decision to get on track to a better weight is one of the best decisions you can make for your overall health. When you’re at a healthy weight, you’re less likely to develop chronic conditions that can be detrimental to your health, such as diabetes and heart disease. Losing weight can also help reduce your chances of a stroke, and it can put less pressure on your bones. 

There has been a lot of talk lately about weight loss drugs, and chances are you’ve already heard of Ozempic and Wegovy, which can help you feel fuller so you eat less, and slows the rate that your stomach empties. But have you heard of the new drug Mounjaro and how it’s been helping people lose weight? If not, keep reading because today we’re discussing:

  • What Mounjaro is and who it’s for
  • How Mounjaro works
  • The side effects of Mounjaro
  • How to keep your body fueled while taking Mounjaro

What is Mounjaro and who is it for?

Who should be taking a drug like Mounjaro?

If you’re struggling to lose weight or you’re a diabetic, consider speaking to your doctor about taking Mounjaro. Image courtesy of Forbes

Most of the discussion surrounding the medication Mounjaro focuses on weight loss, but this drug is actually designed for people with diabetes. Like Ozempic, it helps diabetics better manage their blood sugar levels, and can cause dramatic weight loss as well. As of November 2023, the FDA approved a version of Mounjaro, Zepbound, for weight loss. This is a higher dose of the diabetic medication, much like Wegovy offers patients a higher dose of Ozempic. However these two drugs are different, Ozempic and Wegovy are the brand names for semaglutide, and Mounjaro and Zepbound are the brand names for a drug known as tirzepetide. 

Mounjaro is typically prescribed to those with type 2 diabetes, while Zepbound can now be prescribed to those with a BMI of 30 or higher, or with a BMI of 27 and a condition that is related to their obesity. Trials have shown that patients can expect to lose around a quarter of their body weight. The drug is injected much like Ozempic/Wegovy, and it also comes with a high cost that may/may not be covered by your insurance plan. 

What does Mounjaro do to your body?

How do you lose weight with Mounjaro?

Even when taking a weight loss drug, it’s essential to maintain a healthy diet and include exercise. Image courtesy of Boldsky.

If you’re considering taking Mounjaro/Zepbound for weight loss, make sure you discuss all your options with your doctor. They can help you determine whether this medication will improve your particular situation. If so, you can expect to inject Mounjaro once a week on the same day. This medication works similar to the semaglutide in Ozempic, but it’s a little different. It still works to suppress your appetite and slows down the process of when your stomach empties. 

Instead of just activating one receptor like Ozempic/Wegovy, Mounjaro activates two receptors in the body, which is why it is also referred to as a dual-receptor. The receptors it activates, GLP-1 and GIP, control your appetite and blood sugar levels, which triggers weight loss. Because Mounjaro targets two receptors, patients taking it seem to lose more weight than those on Wegovy. 

This means that when you eat, you’ll feel fuller sooner and won’t need to eat as much to be satisfied. Because your stomach will also empty more slowly than you’re used to, you’ll find that you’re not as hungry during the day, and will need to eat less at meal time to stay full. Doing this can cause you to consume less calories and end your day on a calorie deficit. This is essential in order to lose weight.

Doctors stress that you will need to consume a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, good fats, and protein. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you’re also staying active while you take this medication, and ensure that you have an exercise routine that works for your lifestyle. 

Mounjaro, much like Ozempic, is something you’ll need to take for the long term if you want to keep the weight off. This isn’t a medication that you take and then go off of. Patients with the best results continue to take it for years, and see the weight stay off.               

What are the side effects of Mounjaro?

What are the side effects, and what are the best ways to handle them?

While taking Mounjaro/Zepbound for weight loss is a great idea if you qualify, it’s important to note that your doctor will typically start you out on a lower dose for the first four weeks. They’ll then do an assessment and raise the dose and keep you at that amount for another month or so. You can then see if you’re experiencing the results you’re looking for, or if you need to continue increasing the doses. The gradual dosing is done to ensure your body has time to adjust to the medication, and it can help mitigate any side effects. 

While taking Mounjaro, you can expect some side effects, however some people do not experience any at all. 

  • Nausea. One of the most common side effects of Mounjaro is nausea. The higher your dose, the more likely you are to experience this side effect, which is one of the major reasons that doses are gradually increased until you reach your optimum number.
  • Diarrhea/constipation. Another annoying side effect of taking drugs that interact with GLP-1 receptors is either diarrhea or constipation. Because you are effectively slowing down your digestive system, the food you do consume remains in your stomach for a longer period of time than you’re used to. This can trigger either diarrhea or constipation in some folks.
  • Lessened appetite. Part of how you are going to lose weight is due to Mounjaro’s ability to decrease your appetite. When you don’t need to eat as often, you can more easily manage your blood sugar levels, and by cutting out all those additional calories, you can expect to lose weight faster.
  • Abdominal pain. Another result of slowing the digestive system is abdominal pain. This should subside eventually, and it shouldn’t be so painful that it interrupts your day. If you’re experiencing severe abdominal pain, make sure to speak to your doctor.
  • Indigestion. Indigestion is a common side effect of Mounjaro, and can be amplified if you eat greasy food, spicy food, or drink alcohol. You may want to consider avoiding those types of foods/beverages and see if the indigestion lessens.

More serious and less common side effects include:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Pancreatitis
  • Severe abdominal pain

Best ways to lessen the side effects

Most of the time, side effects of Mounjaro decrease over time. However it’s helpful to drink plenty of water, eat smaller meals, and ensure you’re getting a good amount of fiber (from fruits, fiber bars, or vegetables). If you have lots of nausea or vomiting, you may want to keep your meals small and bland until your body adjusts to the medication. Likewise, if you’re experiencing indigestion, stay away from greasy food and lower your intake of caffeine and alcohol.

It’s also helpful to make sure you’re getting physical exercise throughout all this. Although it might not seem like it, moving your body can help you through digestive discomfort.

How long do side effects last on Mounjaro?

Not everyone experiences these side effects, and most people tolerate Mounjaro very well. If you do find yourself experiencing these kinds of side effects, they should lessen as your body adjusts to the medication. If your side effects aren’t improving after a few weeks on the medication, it’s time to speak to your doctor. 

How to fuel your body while taking Mounjaro

It’s important to nourish your body while taking Mounjaro

Fiber and protein bars are a great way to stay full throughout the day. Image courtesy of Diet Direct.

When you’re taking a weight loss medication like Mounjaro, you need to make sure you’re fueling your body with enough protein. Rapid weight loss like that experienced on Mounjaro can cause a decrease in your muscle mass, which could lead to a reduction in bone density, lower your metabolic rate, and even lead to sarcopenia. In order to avoid this, consider upping your protein amount and engaging in regular strength training exercises.

Including food like WonderSlim’s Protein and Fiber Bar is a great way to ensure you’re getting the protein you need to keep your body healthy. Each convenient, single serving bar contains 15 grams of protein, 6-8 grams of fiber so you stay full, 1-5 grams of sugar, and just 160 calories or less. These bars are easy to take with you on the go and come in four yummy flavors that are sure to keep you satisfied. 

There are ways you can easily deal with Mounjaro side effects

If you’re experiencing some minor side effects from Mounjaro, just know that you’re not alone. They should pass within a few weeks, however if they don’t, make sure you contact your doctor.