hand with a glove holding a syringe with yellow fluid

Zepbound (Tirzepatide): The Newest Weight Loss Drug

Zepbound is a new treatment for weight loss that uses a unique mechanism of action that targets both GIP and GLP-1 receptors. Before beginning treatment, it is essential to speak to a healthcare provider to ensure that this medication is right for you.

Obesity is a widespread public health crisis in the United States. Excessive body fat increases the risk of serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even certain cancers. Obesity is associated with nearly 1 in 5 deaths annually in the U.S., rivaling the mortality rate from smoking.

Nearly 40% of U.S. adults aged 20 and over, equalling around 93.3 million individuals, are classified as obese, as reported by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2018. However, there is hope for those affected by this crisis. Zepbound is a modern treatment option that has been designed specifically to combat obesity. Zepbound represents a new line of medications in weight management that provides a potential path forward for those struggling with weight loss.

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What is Zepbound (tirzepatide)?

Also known by its generic name, tirzepatide, Zepbound is showing a significant advancement in the expanding world of weight management medications.

It was officially released and received FDA approval on November 8, 2023, and was specifically designed to address the challenges of obesity and weight-related conditions in adults.

Zepbound may be especially beneficial for those who are also suffering from weight-related health issues, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, obstructive sleep apnea, or cardiovascular diseases.

hand with a glove holding a syringe with yellow fluid

Unlike other medications, its unique role is to help people lose weight and maintain this weight loss over time. Zepbound helps support weight loss by targeting the body’s metabolic system through dual action on GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptors.1 This dual agonist action aids in decreasing appetite and delays the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine, making individuals feel fuller quickly and for a longer period. Because of this double mechanism of action, Zepbound provides new hope for those who have experienced difficulty in reaching their goal weight through diet and exercise alone.

The FDA’s endorsement of Zepbound establishes it is a safe and effective medication for adults that meets all of the criteria of obesity or weight management drugs with additional weight-related health conditions.

How Does Zepbound Work?

Zepbound injection offers an innovative approach to weight management through its unique mechanism of action within the body. As a combined GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonist, Zepbound specifically targets the body’s metabolic regulation processes to initiate weight loss.

The activation of the GLP-1 receptor plays an important role in appetite regulation. This process reduces hunger and increases feelings of fullness after eating by slowing down gastric emptying, the action where food exits the stomach and enters the small intestine. Thus, overall calorie intake is reduced without the discomfort of constant hunger pangs.

Engaging the GIP receptors helps contribute to the body’s insulin response. By enhancing insulin secretion after eating, Zepbound is able to help manage blood glucose levels more efficiently. This dual action assists in weight loss and also supports improved glycemic control, making it especially beneficial for people with weight-related health issues like type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, Zepbound also plays a role in decreasing the concentration of sugar that the liver releases into the bloodstream, which helps provide a positive overall metabolic effect that supports weight loss and overall health. Zepbound is administered as a once-weekly subcutaneous injection, making it a convenient and effective option for anyone who is struggling with obesity.

Effective Weight Loss with Zepbound

Clinical trials have shown the efficacy of Zepbound’s weight loss capabilities. The SURMOUNT-1 clinical trial was a significant study for Zepbound that was specifically targeted at adults with obesity or conditions accompanied by weight-related health issues. The results from this trial provided very compelling evidence of Zepbound’s potential to impact weight loss and future weight management positively.

Participants in the study were administered Zepbound once weekly in varying doses of 5 mg, 10 mg, and 15 mg. The outcomes showed a significant reduction in body weight across all dosage groups when compared to the placebo group. Specifically, individuals receiving the 5 mg dose experienced an average weight loss of 16.1 kg (approximately 35.5 lbs) over 72 weeks.

Those on the 10 mg dose saw an even more substantial average weight reduction of 22.2 kg (around 48.9 lbs), and the highest dosage group, receiving 15 mg weekly, achieved an average weight loss of 23.6 kg (about 52.0 lbs). By contrast, the participants in the placebo group only lost a mere 2.4 kg (approximately 5.3 lbs) over the same period.

Do You Qualify For Zepbound Injections?

To be prescribed Zepbound injections, you must meet specific criteria. You must be an adult struggling with obesity or overweight with associated health complications such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease. Primarily, candidates for Zepbound should have a Body Mass Index of 30 kg/m² or greater (obese) or 27 kg/m² or greater (overweight) if they also have at least one weight-related condition.

Zepbound is best suited for anyone looking for a comprehensive weight management plan and willing to integrate these injections with a balanced diet and exercise plan. Patients must undergo a detailed consultation with their healthcare provider to assess their health history and current medical conditions and discuss the potential benefits and risks of starting Zepbound.

Potential candidates must also understand the financial aspect of treatment with Zepbound. Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of Zepbound, offers a patient assistance program for qualified individuals. This program strives to make Zepbound more accessible to patients by providing a savings card that can significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs.

Eligible patients with commercial insurance may pay as low as $25 for a one-month or three-month prescription, while those without insurance coverage for Zepbound could pay around $550 for a one-month supply. Patients need to look into these financial support options to ensure that the treatment is both beneficial and economically feasible.

How To Use Zepbound Weight Loss Injections

Zepbound is administered as a once-weekly subcutaneous injection, meaning it is injected under the skin. These injections can be placed in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Before administering your injections, it is essential to ensure that the medication is at room temperature. Zepbound may cause pain and discomfort if injected while still at a cold temperature. It’s important to avoid the two-inch area around the belly button and to rotate injection sites each week to prevent irritation.

Each Zepbound pen is pre-filled and designed for a single use, making it very convenient and easy to use. Begin by thoroughly sanitizing the injection site with an alcohol swab. Remove the pen cap, check the solution through the pen’s viewing window to ensure it’s clear and free of particles, and follow the prescribed dosing instructions provided by your healthcare provider. Inject Zepbound by pressing the pen firmly against the skin and pushing the button until the dose is administered, then dispose of the used pen.

Store your Zepbound pen in the refrigerator between 36°F and 46°F (or 2 °C to 8°C) before the first use. Do not freeze the pen, and keep it away from direct light by storing it in its original packaging. If needed, the pen can be stored at room temperature or to 86°F (30°C) for up to 21 days before use. After this period, any unused medication should be discarded.

Common Zepbound Side Effects

Common side effects of the Zepbound injection include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and abdominal pain, which usually begin to decrease as the body adapts to the medication. Patients may also encounter injection site reactions like redness or swelling, fatigue, and, less commonly, hair loss. It is critical to report any persistent side effects to a healthcare provider.

Dangers Associated With Zepbound Injections

While the Zepbound injection is generally considered safe, there are some potential risks that all patients should be aware of. Severe side effects may include signs of allergic reactions, such as swelling of the face or throat, breathing difficulties, and pancreatitis, which is characterized by severe abdominal pain that spreads to the back.

Additionally, there is a concern for thyroid tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), especially for those with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). Eye complications, gallbladder issues, low blood sugar, and kidney problems are also risks that have been associated with Zepbound.

Zepbound Alternatives

Zepbound alternatives include medications like Semaglutide (Wegovy) and Liraglutide (Saxenda), which focus on GLP-1 receptor activation for weight loss, differing from Zepbound’s dual-action effect on both the GLP-1 and GIP receptors.

Orlistat (Xenical) works by blocking fat absorption in the body, offering a different mechanism of action compared to Zepbound’s appetite suppression effect. Phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia) combines appetite suppression with satiety enhancement.

Final Thoughts

Zepbound for weight loss may be an ideal option for anyone who is dealing with obesity or weight-related medical conditions and wants to both lose and maintain a healthy weight. While this medication is an effective option that provides good results with minimal side effects, it is very important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting treatment.

It is crucial to incorporate this treatment into a healthy lifestyle plan that includes a balanced, nutritious diet and a regular exercise routine. While Zepbound offers a promising option for those people who are looking to overcome their weight loss challenges, its use should be carefully evaluated depending on each person’s individual health needs and unique situation.

Reach Your Weight Loss Goals With Semaglutide

Semaglutide (the same ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic) is the only proven FDA-approved medication for long-term weight loss and management. Medical weight loss medications can help you on your journey toward your ideal weight.

Book a convenient online consultation and health check followed by a lab test. Eligible individuals will receive a medical weight loss prescription with medications delivered directly to your home.

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[1] Seino Y, Fukushima M, Yabe D. GIP and GLP-1, the two incretin hormones: Similarities and differences. J Diabetes Investig. 2010 Apr 22;1(1-2):8-23. doi: 10.1111/j.2040-1124.2010.00022.x. PMID: 24843404; PMCID: PMC4020673.;