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Mounjaro for weight loss: How Does It Work?

Mounjaro is an injectable medication approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for adults with type 2 diabetes and obesity. Its active ingredient is tirzepatide, which can reduce appetite and food cravings. Tirzepatide is similar in function to GLP-1 (Glucagon-like Peptide) and GIP (Gastric Inhibitory Peptide) hormones, which are involved in blood sugar regulation and appetite control.

According to the BBC, trials suggest that Mounjaro can help people lose about 20% of their body weight. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is still reviewing the use of tirzepatide for weight loss. This article will discuss what a GLP-1 analogue is, how Mounjaro works for weight loss, and whether it leads to permanent weight loss.

What is Mounjaro and MHRA's recommendation for its use

Mounjaro (Tirzepatide) is a weight loss medication that mimics a dual function of both GLP-1 and GIP. GLP-1 analogues are medications that are structurally related to GLP-1 and mimic its functions. Similarly, GIP analogues are structurally related to GIP and mimic its functions. That’s why Mounjaro is considered both a GLP-1 and GIP analogue.

The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) UK recommends Mounjaro for treating type 2 diabetes and obese adults with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30. Furthermore, it is also recommended if you are overweight with a BMI of 27 to 30 and have other relevant medical conditions like pre-diabetes, high cholesterol levels, cardiac issues, or high blood pressure.


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  • Approved Weight Loss Treatment
  • Suitable for adults with a BMI of +30kg/m²
  • Pre-filled injection pen

How does Mounjaro work for weight loss?

Mounjaro works through different mechanisms of action, mimicking the action of the natural GLP-1 hormone. The following three ways are primarily responsible for its weight loss effects in adults.

Slow down gastric emptying

As the name indicates, gastric emptying means the amount of time taken by the stomach to digest and then pass the food down into the next part of the gut (i.e., duodenum). Can you imagine what would happen if you got early or had delayed gastric emptying? Early emptying may result in excessive hunger and food cravings, while delayed gastric emptying will make you feel full for longer periods.

Mounjaro acts on the gut cells, slowing the movement of food from the stomach to the duodenum and thereby slowing down gastric emptying. Slowed gastric emptying will reduce hunger and food intake, aiding in weight loss.

In addition to this, Mounjaro acts on special cells in the gut called “Enteroendocrine cells (EECs)” that send signals from the gut to the brain about satiety level and appetite. As a result, you may feel prolonged satiety and have a lesser appetite, which may help you lose weight and follow diet plans.

Decrease insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond well to insulin. It can increase the storage of excess fat inside the cells, leading to weight gain. 

Mounjaro improves insulin sensitivity by modulating GLP-1 receptors in the cells. As a result, the cells respond well to insulin and avoid storing excess fat inside them.

Decrease glucose production in the liver

It is a well-known fact that increased blood sugar levels in the body can lead to weight gain and obesity. Glucagon is the hormone produced by the pancreatic alpha cells, which increases glucose production in the liver (also known as gluconeogenesis).

Being its structural analogue, Mounjaro decreases glucose production by the liver, improving the body's overall glycemic control. Improved glycemic control can help reduce weight.


Mounjaro (Tirzepatide) is a GLP-1 and GIP agonist approved for the management of type 2 diabetes and obesity (with a BMI of more than 30). 

GLP-1 and GIP agonists have long been used for type 2 diabetes; however, their role is now increasing for weight management. Mounjaro can help you lose weight through different mechanisms, such as reduced appetite, delayed gastric emptying, increased insulin production and secretion, and decreased blood glucose levels. Thus, it can be used as an adjunct to diet and exercise to reduce weight in obese adults.

Authored & Reviewed By

Mohamed Imran Lakhi

MPharm - Lead Pharmacist
Imran Lakhi is the superintendent pharmacist and founder at Prescription Doctor. He has been at the core of our team.

Published on: 11/06/2024 Reviewed on: 11/06/2024
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