How Does Tirzepatide Work?

Reviewed by Dr. Kenton Bruice, MD

What do tirzepatide, semaglutide, Wegovy, Ozempic and Mounjaro have in common? They are all anyone is talking about!

These weight loss injections are making headlines and for good reason. Weight loss can be a challenge for many people and these medications offer a new, effective option. But how exactly do they work?

In this blog, we will talk about tirzepatide and answer this question: How does tirzepatide work? We will also talk about what you can expect when taking tirzepatide, its potential side effects, and some tips for getting the most out of this weight loss medication.

Understanding the Basics of Tirzepatide

Tirzepatide functions as a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, which plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels. But what sets tirzepatide apart is its dual action as both a GLP-1 receptor and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) receptor agonist.

In simpler terms, tirzepatide mimics the actions of two naturally occurring hormones in the body – GLP-1 and GIP. These hormones work together to regulate food intake, blood sugar levels, and metabolism. 

By activating these receptors, tirzepatide helps to control appetite, decrease food cravings, and improve insulin sensitivity.

Who Is Eligible for Tirzepatide?

Tirzepatide is the active ingredient in two medications: Mounjaro and Wegovy. Mounjaro is specifically for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, while Zepbound is approved for weight management.

This means that tirzepatide may be prescribed to individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or higher who have at least one weight-related health condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.

How Tirzepatide Impacts Weight and Glycemic Control

One of the remarkable effects of tirzepatide is its influence on weight loss and glycemic control, thanks to several key functions.

  1. Reducing food intake. Tirzepatide decreases hunger, which naturally leads to a reduction in food intake. This is largely due to its action on GLP-1 receptors, which influence appetite and food cravings.
  2. Slowing gastric emptying. By slowing the rate at which the stomach empties, tirzepatide helps you feel fuller for longer periods, contributing to a decrease in overall calorie intake.
  3. Improvement in insulin secretion and sensitivity. Tirzepatide allows for better control over blood sugar levels because it improves how the body produces and responds to insulin. It decreases the risk of spikes and crashes that can affect your energy and appetite.

What to Expect When Starting Tirzepatide

Dosing and Administration

Tirzepatide is administered as a weekly subcutaneous injection (under the skin). The recommended starting dose is 5 mg, which can be increased to 10 or 15 mg. You will be instructed how to administer the drug yourself at home. We will give you all the supplies you need to do it correctly.

Expected Results

In a double-blind, randomized and controlled trial of 2539 adults where 94.5% of participants had a BMI of 30 or higher, the mean percentage change in weight at week 72 was −15.0% with 5-mg weekly doses of tirzepatide, −19.5% with 10-mg doses, and −20.9% with 15-mg doses and −3.1% with placebo. (See the full study here). 

Many studies have been performed on tirzepatide, and the results consistently show significant weight loss. Other benefits include improved glycemic control and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, it is important to remember that the medication is most effective when combined with a healthy diet, reduced calorie intake and regular exercise.  It is not a magic solution for weight loss, but rather a tool to support healthy lifestyle changes.

Potential Side Effects of Tirzepatide

Some common side effects reported by individuals taking tirzepatide include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain

These side effects are usually mild and temporary. However, some people may experience more severe side effects such as pancreatitis or severe allergic reactions. It is essential to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before starting tirzepatide.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Tirzepatide

  1. Follow a healthy, balanced diet. Tirzepatide can help reduce calorie intake, but it is still important to eat nutritious meals and limit processed and high-calorie foods.
  2. Stay active. Adding regular exercise to your routine will boost weight loss results and improve overall health.
  3. Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water can help prevent constipation, a common side effect of tirzepatide.
  4. Communicate with your healthcare provider. Keeping an open line of communication with your healthcare provider is essential for monitoring your progress and adjusting your treatment plan if needed.

Start Your Weight Loss Journey Today

If you are struggling to lose weight, tirzepatide may be the ‘helper’ you’ve been looking for.  Its dual-action approach and proven results make it a promising medication for weight loss and improving glycemic control.

Weight loss should be approached as a complete lifestyle change, with healthy eating and regular exercise as key components. Tirzepatide can aid in this journey by helping you manage your hunger and blood sugar levels, but it is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle.

If you would like to get started on tirzepatide but don’t know if you qualify, we can help. Dr. Kenton Bruice, MD, specializes in medical weight loss and can assess your eligibility for tirzepatide or other weight loss medications. Book an appointment today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you. 

To book an appointment at our Denver location, call (303) 957-6686. To book an appointment at our Aspen location, call (970) 925-6655.

If you are searching for ‘tizepatide near me’ or ‘Zepbound near me’, we can help. Book an appointment with Dr. Kenton Bruice today!

FAQs About Tirzepatide

What is the difference between semaglutide and tirzepatide?

Both semaglutide and tirzepatide are GLP-1 receptor agonists,  which means they work to improve glycemic control by increasing insulin secretion, reducing glucagon secretion, and slowing gastric emptying. However, tirzepatide also has an additional effect on the GIP receptor,  which further improves glycemic control and promotes weight loss.

How long does tirzepatide take to work?

Tirzepatide can start to show results within the first few weeks of treatment, but it may take a few months for significant weight loss and glycemic control improvements to be seen. Every individual’s response to medication is different, so it is essential to communicate with your healthcare provider regularly.

Where can I get tirzepatide?

Tirzepatide is a prescription medication, and it can only be obtained through a healthcare provider. If you are interested in trying tirzepatide, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kenton Bruice today.

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