If you are tuned into the world of weight loss, you have probably heard about GLP-1 drugs. GLP-1 stands for glucagon-like peptide-1. There are several medications on the market that are known as GLP-1 receptor agonists, and many of these have made significant strides in providing clinically significant results for obese and overweight patients.

You are probably aware of some of the GLP-1 medications on the market, some common ones being Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy, and Saxenda. But being that these all have similar mechanisms of action, what makes them different? This is a common question for those navigating their weight loss journey. If you are wanting maximal results, you may be wondering which one can provide the greatest efficacy, most convenience, or most tolerable side effects. This article will help to elucidate the differences between two popular medications: Mounjaro and Saxenda.

Mechanism of Action

Saxenda contains the active ingredient liraglutide, while Mounjaro contains the active ingredient tirzepatide. A key similarity between these two active ingredients are that they are GLP-1 receptor agonists, but how exactly does this mechanism contribute to weight loss? GLP-1 receptor agonists mimic the natural GLP-1 hormone found throughout our bodies. This hormone is key to promoting insulin secretion, which in turn can help manage high blood sugar levels. This explains why GLP-1 medications are indicated for type 2 diabetes.

In addition to blood sugar management, GLP-1 also delays gastric emptying. This means that GLP-1 medications slow down the rate in which food moves through your digestive tract. When this process is prolonged, you feel fuller for longer. Thus, you may not ingest as much food, therefore losing weight in the process. This explains why both Saxenda and Mounjaro can help with your weight loss journey.

Although Saxenda and Mounjaro share key GLP-1 action, Mounjaro actually has an additional mechanism in its arsenal. Mounjaro is also a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor agonist. GIP is a hormone that can also cause decreased weight, thus bolstering Mounjaro’s ability to cause weight loss. By having this dual mechanism, Mounjaro may have more potent effects than a stand-alone GLP-1 like Saxenda.

Indication

Both liraglutide and tirzepatide are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and chronic weight management. However, these two medications are sold under different brand names depending on the indication and dose. To help clarify this point, the following indications are associated with the following active ingredients and brand names:

  • Saxenda (liraglutide): Chronic weight management for obese individuals (people with a body mass index [BMI] of 30 or greater) or overweight individuals (BMI of 27 or greater) with at least one weight-associated condition (e.g., high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol) in combination with a low-calorie diet and exercise.
  • Victoza (liraglutide): Blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus in combination with diet and exercise. Additionally, it can lower cardiovascular event risk in those with type 2 diabetes or established cardiovascular disease.
  • Mounjaro (tirzepatide): Blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • Zepbound (tirzepatide): Chronic weight management for obese individuals (people with a body mass index [BMI] of 30 or greater) or overweight individuals (BMI of 27 or greater) with at least one weight-associated condition (e.g., high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol) in combination with a low-calorie diet and exercise.

The main takeaway from this comparison is that both liraglutide and tirzepatide can be used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes or chronic weight management. However, they are marketed under different indications for different doses. So, Saxenda is approved for chronic weight management, and Mounjaro is approved for type 2 diabetes.

Dosage and Administration

There are also differences between Mounjaro and Saxenda in terms of dosage and administration. Their dosing is as follows:

  • Mounjaro: Mounjaro is administered as a once weekly injection. The starting dose is 2.5 mg once weekly, which can be increased in 2.5 mg intervals every four weeks to a maximum dose of 15 mg once a week.
  • Saxenda: Saxenda, on the other hand, is administered daily. It is an injection, which is started at 0.6 mg daily for an entire week. Afterwards, the dose can be increased in weekly intervals to a target dose of 3 mg daily.

Thus, if you are seeking greater convenience with your dosing regimen, you may opt for Mounjaro because it is administerd once weekly versus once daily with Saxenda.

Efficacy

In clinical trials in adults with type 2 diabetes, Mounjaro therapy alone induced weight losses of 6.3 kg, 7.0 kg, and 7.8 kg with the 5 mg, 10 mg, and 15 mg doses, respectively, versus a 1 kg loss with placebo. It has shown even more profound weight loss in other trials when combined with other antidiabetic agents such as metformin, SGLT2 inhibitors, and sulfonylureas.

Several studies have evaluated Saxenda and its effects on weight loss. The following results were seen in different patient populations:

  • Those obese or overweight with a comorbidity: Participants on Saxenda had a weight loss of 7.4 percent of their bodyweight versus three percent on placebo.
  • Those obese or overweight with diabetes: Participants on Saxenda had a loss of 5.4 percent of their body weight versus 1.7 percent on placebo.

Keep in mind that Mounjaro has a dual mechanism, acting on both GLP-1 and GIP, while Saxenda only acts on GLP-1. Mounjaro may cause more weight loss than Saxenda as a result.

Side effects

Both Mounjaro and Saxenda have similar gastrointestinal (GI) side effects, including things like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, and indigestion. This relates to their effects on gastric emptying. However, Saxenda reports additional potential side effects, including fatigue, headache, low blood sugar, dizziness, and increased lipase.

Although these side effects may be bothersome, they are relatively common and moderate in nature, and they tend to resolve as your body gets used to the treatment over time.

The drugs also differ with regards to the warnings and precautions, however. The following are included in each of the two labels:

  • Mounjaro: Pancreatitis, kidney injury, serious GI disease, complications of diabetic retinopathy, and acute gallbladder disease
  • Saxenda: Thyroid C-cell tumors, acute pancreatitis, acute gallbladder disease, kidney impairment, increased heart rate, and suicidal behavior

Cost

The costs between these two medications is difficult to compare, as the price will depend on many different factors. This will include your personal insurance coverage, pharmacy, and any savings cards you may use. When looking at gross costs, Mounjaro is cheaper than Saxenda. Mounjaro is $1,023.04 while Saxenda is $1,349.

The cost of these medications can be a significant concern for many Americans. Fortunately, with a prescription, there is an opportunity to save substantially on these medications through BuyCanadianInsulin.com. This platform offers up to 90% savings on various medications, including Saxenda and Mounjaro.

For those considering Saxenda, bulk purchase options present an attractive way to save. The cost for 6mg pens of Saxenda is structured as follows: 5 pens for $515, 10 pens for $1016, and 15 pens for $1500. This tiered pricing allows for considerable savings, especially for long-term users.

Similarly, Mounjaro, starting from $158.99 per vial, offers its own set of bulk discounts. The pricing is as follows: 1 vial for $158.99, 2 vials for $317.98, 3 vials for $467.97, and 4 vials for $623.96. These discounts make Mounjaro a more accessible option for many, easing the financial burden of ongoing medication costs.

Summary

To summarize, let’s review the differences between Saxenda and Mounjaro in an easy to read chart.

MounjaroSaxenda
DrugTirzepatideLiraglutide
FDA-approved indicationBlood sugar management in individuals with type 2 diabetes in combination with diet and exerciseChronic weight management in obese or overweight individuals in combination with diet and exercise
Mechanism of actionGLP-1 agonist, GIP agonistGLP-1 agonist
Off-label indicationsChronic weight managementNA
DosingInjection, once weekly at a starting dose of 2.5 which can be titrated every four weeks to a maximum dose of 15 mgInjection, once daily at a starting dose of 0.6 mg which can bet titrated weekly to a maximum dose of 3 mg
Side effectsGI (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion)GI (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion), dizziness, headache, fatigue, low blood sugar, increased lipase

So, which one is right for me?

Which medication is right for you will depend on a wide array of factors. These include your personal preferences, medical history, family medical history, and other things to consider.

If you are interested in starting an antidiabetic or weight loss medication, discuss your options with your doctor. They will be able to select a regimen for one or both of these conditions and monitor your progress and tolerability appropriately. Never start a medication unless under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider.

Conclusion

In summary, there are so many medications out there on the market for both weight loss and diabetes. Not to mention, many drugs can treat both of these conditions, and are likewise sold under different brand names, indications, and dosages. Though variety is good when seeking treatment, it can also make things confusing for patients.

When it comes to weight loss, Mounjaro, containing tirzepatide, and Saxenda, containing liraglutide, are two options that can induce weight loss. However, the two medications vary with regards to their FDA-approved indication, mechanism of action, dosing schedule, side effects, and efficacy. Likewise, you may see different results between the two.

If you are interested in starting on of these medications, consult your doctor. They will be able to select the right therapy for you and your needs.