- The diabetes drug Mounjaro is more effective for weight loss than Ozempic in adults who are overweight or obese, according to a large analysis of real-world data.
- Patients taking Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro were significantly more likely to lose weight and experienced greater reductions in body weight compared to those taking Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic.
- The results come as both drugs and similar treatments approved for weight loss increase in demand in the U.S. for their ability to help patients shed unwanted pounds over time.
A pharmacist displays a box of Mounjaro, an injectable tirzepatide drug used to treat type 2 diabetes and manufactured by Lilly at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 29, 2023.
George Frey | Reuters
The blockbuster diabetes drug Mounjaro is more effective for weight loss than another popular treatment, Ozempic, in adults who are overweight or obese, according to a large analysis of real-world data published Monday.
Patients taking Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro were significantly more likely to lose weight and experienced greater reductions in body weight at specific time points compared to those taking Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic in the Truveta Research study. The company collects and analyzes patient data from a range of healthcare systems.
The results come as both drugs and similar treatments approved for weight loss increase in demand in the U.S. for their ability to help patients shed unwanted pounds over time. Broader adoption has boosted shares of Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk this year.
Mounjaro and Ozempic are only approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but many people use unapproved weekly injections to lose weight.
Previous studies have similarly suggested that Mounjaro is more effective than Ozempic for weight loss and blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes.
But Monday’s study confirms Mounjaro’s advantage over Ozempic in a real-world setting, specifically among adults who are overweight or obese. Notably, according to Truveta Research, comparative clinical trials in that population are not yet available.
Eli Lilly is taking on Mounjaro with Wegovy, a higher-dose version of Ozempic approved for weight loss, in an ongoing clinical trial in overweight or obese patients. But the results will not be published until next year.
“We were able to compare the direct effectiveness of these two important weight loss drugs before conducting randomized clinical trials,” said Dr. Nick Stucky, study author and vice president of Truveta Research, in a statement. “This study can help inform patient care and outcomes today, not months from now.”
Truveta Research specifically examined health care data from approximately 18,000 overweight or obese adults who started taking Mounjaro or Ozempic between May 2022 and September 2023. Nearly 52% of those patients had type 2 diabetes.
Researchers found that patients taking Mounjaro were three times more likely to lose 15% of their weight than those taking Ozempic. Patients taking Mounjaro were also 2.6 times more likely to achieve 10% weight loss and 1.8 times more likely to lose 5% of their weight.
Those taking Mounjaro also experienced “significantly greater reductions” in body weight at specific times, according to Truveta Research.
After three months, patients taking Mounjaro lost 5.9% of their weight, while those taking Ozempic lost 3.6%. At six months, people taking Mounjaro lost 10.1% of their weight, while patients taking Ozempic lost 5.9%. And after a year, those from Mounjaro lost 15.2% of their weight, while those from Ozempic lost 7.9%.
Truveta Research also found that patients without type 2 diabetes lost more weight than those with this condition. But the differences in effectiveness between Mounjaro and Ozempic were similar in both populations.
Rates of adverse gastrointestinal events were similar between patients taking Mounjaro and Ozempic.
Mounjaro and Ozempic are weekly injections that change the way patients eat and cause a decrease in appetite by mimicking certain hormones in the gut. Both have weight-loss drug counterparts that use the same active ingredient: Eli Lilly’s recently approved Zepbound and Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy.
Ozempic and Wegovy only mimic a hunger-regulating hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1, also known as GLP-1, which increases feelings of satiety and lowers blood sugar levels.
Meanwhile, Mounjaro and Zepbound mimic GLP-1 and another gut hormone called glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, or GIP.
The dual approach means that Mounjaro and Zepbound have an enhanced effect on regulating appetite and blood sugar levels, which some experts say could lead to more significant weight loss than drugs targeting GLP-1 alone.
In a late-stage study of more than 2,500 adults with obesity but not diabetes, those who took 5 milligrams of Zepbound for 72 weeks lost about 16% of their body weight on average. Higher doses of the drug were associated with even greater weight loss: a 15 milligram dose produced a 22.5% weight loss on average.
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than two in five adults are obese.
About one in 11 adults is severely obese.