How the cost, results and effectiveness of weight loss injections like Ozempic, Monzaro and ‘Triple G’ compare

  • Weight loss medications such as semaglutide, tirazepate, and liraglutide help control appetite and digestion.
  • They work by acting on a hormone called GLP-1, but some may be more effective than others.
  • Newer drugs such as retreptide may provide better results by acting on more hormones at once.

The newest class of weight loss drugs has been game-changing for treating obesity and related conditions like diabetes, and pending additional research and FDA approval, there are more to come.

With new research coming out regularly, it can be difficult to keep track of all the options.

Here is the latest research and news on the major weight loss drugs currently being used and studied, how they work, and their effectiveness and side effects.

Semaglutide (sold as Ozempic, Vegovy)

background: Semaglutide, a weekly injection first designed to treat diabetes, was one of the first drugs of its type and was called a “game changer” for weight loss. It was approved by the FDA for that purpose in 2021, and is sold by Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk.

The drugmaker is also developing a daily pill version of semaglutide, with early evidence suggesting it may be as effective as the injection.

how it works: It mimics a naturally occurring hormone called GLP-1, which helps regulate appetite and digestion. As a result, patients notice fewer cravings, especially for highly palatable foods such as sugary treats or heavy, fatty foods.

Effectiveness in clinical trials: Clinical trials found that patients taking semaglutide lost an average of 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks. However, research shows that people may need to continue taking the medication to maintain weight loss.

Emerging evidence suggests that semaglutide may also help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. One study found that it may also help prevent colon cancer.

Side effects: Common side effects of the medicine include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and constipation.

Why have you heard about it: Semaglutide has gained huge popularity due to mention by celebrities like Elon Musk. Due to social media trends, Ozempic has become one of the most recognized terms for a weight loss drug, although that brand name is marketed for diabetes.

Popular terms such as “Ozempic Face” refer to the brand when describing side effects, in this case skin laxity related to rapid weight loss.

Semaglutide has also been controversial because a widespread shortage began soon after it was approved for weight loss. High demand prompted a wave of “copycat” versions of the drug, known as mixed semaglutide.

Cost: About $936 per month for Ozempic and $1,349 for Wegovi. Insurance coverage can be complex, putting the drug out of reach for many who could benefit from it.

Tirazeptide (sold as Monjaro, Zepbound)

background: Tirazeptide is a new drug that initially received FDA approval as a diabetes treatment in 2022 under the brand name Monzaro from the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

A version of Lilly prescribed specifically for weight control, branded Zepbound, received FDA approval in early November 2023.

how it works: Tirazeptide works on GLP-1 like semaglutide, but also works on another hormone called GIP, which may have increased effects on appetite and weight loss, obesity medicine doctors previously told Insider.

Effectiveness in clinical trials: Available evidence suggests that it may be even more effective than semaglutide in helping patients lose weight. An early study found that people taking the drug lost 20% of their body weight, an average of 52 pounds, over about 16 months.

According to the study’s lead author, a clinical trial found that nearly half of overweight, diabetic patients lost at least 15% of their body weight by taking the drug, a “landmark.” The result was.

A recent study also found that people who stop taking tirazepate will regain some of the weight they lost due to the drug.

Side effects: Tirazeptide has similar side effects to semaglutide, including gastrointestinal problems, but they may be less severe, reduced by the drug’s effects on both hormones.

Why have you heard about it: Like semaglutide, tirazepide has made a name for itself in the media due to dramatic weight loss stories and social media trends, as well as patient concerns about having access to the drug for long periods of time.

Cost: $1,023 per month for Monjaro, $1,059.87 for Zepbound

Liraglutide (sold as Victroza and Saxenda)

background: Liraglutide, also sold by Novo Nordisk, has been available longer than comparable GLP-1 drugs, having been approved for diabetes in 2010 and for weight loss in 2014.

how it works: It is less long-lasting than the newer drugs, and so it needs to be administered as a once-daily injection rather than once a week.

Effectiveness in clinical trials: According to one review, research shows that patients lose about 5 to 10% of their body weight.

Side effects: While liraglutide has similar gastrointestinal side effects as other GLP-1 drugs, it is also associated with more concerning reactions, such as pancreatitis, gallstone disease, and in rare cases, mental health symptoms such as worsening depression or insomnia.

Cost: Approximately $1,349 per month for Saxenda

Rettrutide: Newest Drug Pending FDA Approval

background: Retatrutide is the newest contender among the once-weekly injected GLP-1 drugs from pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, which is currently scheduled for Phase 3 trials.

how it works: It’s nicknamed “Triple G” because it works on three different hormonal pathways. Like semaglutide, retrutide acts on GLP-1, and like tirazeptide, it acts on GIP. However, it adds another interaction to the mix by targeting receptors for another hormone called glucagon, which affects blood sugar.

Effectiveness in clinical trials: The latest evidence, published June 26 in The New England Journal of Medicine, showed that patients taking the highest dose of the drug once a week lost 24.2% of their body weight over 48 weeks, compared with bariatric surgery. is equivalent to the observed results.

Side effects: Research is still ongoing to understand the potential side effects of retatrutide. Available evidence suggests that any problems are mostly gastrointestinal, and can be controlled by starting at a low dose and increasing gradually, as with other GLP-1 drugs.

Cost: tbd

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