When it comes to weightloss medication, the two biggest names are easily Semaglutide (Wegovy) and Trizepatide (Mounjaro). But what makes these medications different? To understand the difference between these two medications, first we need to understand how they work in the body.
Both of these medications are what we call a GLP-1 medication. GLP-1 belongs to a family of hormones called incretins, this is because they enhance secretion of insulin due to factors in the gut. GLP-1 is the product of a molecule called pre-proglucagon, a polypeptide (chain of amino acids) that is split to produce a number of hormones including GLP-1. So, as we mentioned, GLP-1 works by encouraging the release of insulin from the pancreas, but it also signals the appetite center of your brain to trick you into feeling full. GLP-1 also slows the emptying of your stomach, allowing you to feel fuller, longer.
So, now we have established how the medication works, let's look at what makes these two medications different from each other and how you can decide what medication is the best for your weightloss goals. Semaglutide is almost an exact replica of the naturally occurring GLP-1 hormone in our body, with just two modifications in the amino acid chain. These modifications prevent the hormone from being broken down as quickly and allows it to bind to a blood protein to extend the half life of the medication. Semaglutide has a half life of approx 7 days.
Trizepatide has all of the benefits of GLP-1 but with a little something extra - something we refer to as GIP. I will spare you the medical name for GIP, as it is long, complicated and not particularly relevant but if you so choose you can google it. For the sake of this explanation all we need to know is that GIP is in the same hormone family as GLP-1 and performs in a similar manner. So naturally, since trizepatide is a combination of these two hormones it would stand to reason that it works faster and quicker than semaglutide. Trizepatide does have a shorter half life than semaglutide, at only about 5 days. This also means that because the dose is often higher and the medication is working at a higher rate, patients can have symptoms quicker or the severity of the symptoms can be more.
Now that we know how these medications work in our body and what the difference between the two are, you can better understand what choice is right for you! And of course as always, no medication alone is going to provide you with the best results possible. The medication is a great tool when combined with lifestyle changes and proper dieting/exercising.