As a great start to Diabetes Month, Health Canada has just approved Mounjaro (tirzepatide), an injectable prescription medicine that is used along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar (glucose) in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

“Since the results of the SURPASS clinical trial program were released, the Canadian type 2 diabetes community has been eagerly awaiting the availability of tirzepatide (Mounjaro), and now the wait is over! It is great news to have more effective options to offer people living with type 2 diabetes who can benefit from both glucose and weight reduction,” says Dr. Alice Cheng, Diabetes Specialist and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto.

While Canadians living with diabetes have had glucose and weight reduction medication options with semaglutide options such as Ozempic and Wegovy, tirzepatide offers what researchers now believe are increased benefits for people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes.

Mounjaro vs. Ozempic

Both medications help manage Type 2 diabetes.

Semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic, Rybelsus) mimics the key gut hormone GLP-1 which is activated after people eat. It helps release insulin and slows sugar release from the liver. This delays digestion, reduces appetite, and makes people feel full longer.

Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is the first drug that uses the action of two hormones, GLP-1 and GIP. It does what semaglutide does, but it also targets the chemical signals sent from the gut to the brain, which decreases cravings and the desire for food.

In a meta-analysis of 22 trials presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes’ annual meeting in early October, researchers concluded that tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is more effective than semaglutide for both blood glucose control and weight loss.

The research has yet to be peer-reviewed, so should be approached with caution when making decisions about which medication is right for you.

Both Ozempic and Mounjaro are given via weekly injections under the skin.

Common side effects for both medications include nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite or diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, and stomach (abdominal) pain.

“We are absolutely thrilled to see this groundbreaking new class of diabetes medicines now available to people living with type 2 diabetes in Canada. It marks a significant milestone in the mission to improve the lives of those living with diabetes,” says Deborah Dugan, CEO of Beyond Type 1 and Beyond Type 2. “We applaud the companies, researchers, medical professionals and all involved who work tirelessly to make these innovations possible.”

Mounjaro is not recommended for patients with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2, and in pregnancy or breastfeeding. It has not been studied in patients with a history of pancreatitis, is not indicated for use in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus, and it is not indicated for weight management.

Talk to your healthcare provider for more information on this exciting development.

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