What Are The Side Effects Of Mounjaro?

Mounjaro is one of the newest diabetes medications on the market. 

In this article, we’ll explain how Mounjaro works, its potential side effects (both common and rare), and ways to help reduce the adverse effects of Mounjaro.

What is Mounjaro?

Mounjaro is the brand name for the drug tirzepatide, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It’s one of the newer diabetes medications on the market, with a recent approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2022.

According to clinical trials on Mounjaro, 87%-97% of participants taking it experienced both A1C and weight reductions. 

How does Mounjaro work?

Mounjaro is a dual GLP-1 receptor agonist and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). 

You might be familiar with GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic and Trulicity, but what is the GIP part?

GIP (gastric inhibitory polypeptide) is a hormone found in your intestinal tract (digestive system). GIP stimulates insulin release in the postprandial state (after you eat, when blood sugar levels rise) to help keep your blood glucose levels from getting too high.

If your blood sugar levels are normal or low, GIP stimulates glucagon secretion. Glucagon is a hormone that helps raise your blood sugar levels and helps prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). 

That means that GIP only stimulates insulin secretion when your blood sugar is rising, helping reduce the likelihood of having low blood sugar. 

Although, the manufacturer of Mounjaro states that overall, Mounjaro helps to reduce glucagon levels.

The other way Mounjaro works is through the GLP-1 receptor agonist route, which helps slow gastric emptying and boost satiety. 

This can result in reduced food intake and weight loss, which further helps lower blood glucose levels.

The dosing schedule for Mounjaro will either be 2.5 milligrams, 5 milligrams, 7.5 milligrams, 10 milligrams, 12.5 milligrams, or 15 milligrams in a weekly injection.

What are the side effects of Mounjaro?

There are potential side effects from taking Mounjaro; some of them are more common and minor, while some are less common but can be severe.

The more common side effects of Mounjaro are generally minor (not life-threatening) and include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach (abdominal) pain
  • Tiredness or fatigue

While rare, there are potentially serious side effects that can occur from taking Mounjaro. These include:

  • Thyroid carcinomas (tumors) – there is a black box warning from the FDA due to the chance that Mounjaro might cause thyroid tumors
  • Pancreatitis
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) – Mounjaro isn’t likely to cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) on its own, but you might experience low blood sugar if you’re also taking a diabetes medication like insulin or a sulfonylurea.
  • Kidney problems due to dehydration
  • Severe stomach problems
  • Allergic reactions
  • Changes in your vision (worsening of retinopathy can occur with drastic blood sugar changes)
  • Gallbladder problems

Drinking alcohol with Mounjaro can exacerbate Mounjaro’s side effects, so you should exercise caution or avoid alcohol while taking this medication.

There have been anecdotal reports of hair loss associated with Mounjaro, but hair loss is not a listed side effect of the drug and is thought to be caused by the stress your body goes through during rapid weight loss.

Are there any long-term side effects of Mounjaro?

Long-term side effects of Mounjaro are unlikely unless you develop rare side effects such as thyroid cancer, which could have long-lasting effects. 

Pancreatitis, kidney, and gallbladder problems might also cause long-term issues depending on how severe your case is.

Otherwise, any minor side effects of Mounjaro are likely to dissipate as you get used to the medication. 

If minor side effects persist, they will typically go away after stopping Mounjaro (Tirzepatide) or reducing your dose.

How long do side effects last?

Side effects of Mounjaro typically are the most noticeable right after you start taking it, as well as if you increase your dose. 

Side effects should lessen and even resolve anywhere from several days to several weeks after being on a consistent dose.

Everyone is different, so side effects might never go away for some people. However, if side effects don’t lessen in severity at all (or worsen), then you should speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. 

It’s possible that you might have lingering side effects that aren’t very severe as long as you’re taking Mounjaro. For instance, you might experience early satiety even months after you’ve been taking Mounjaro.

supplements for type 2 diabetes

How to reduce the side effects of Mounjaro

There are several ways you can help reduce the side effects of Mounjaro.

Only take Mounjaro as prescribed

Taking more medication than is prescribed will likely cause more severe and unpleasant side effects, so be sure to follow your healthcare provider’s dosing instructions.

If you miss a dose of Mounjaro, here’s what to do:

Take the missed dose as soon as possible, within 4 days (96 hours) after the missed dose. If more than 4 days have passed, skip the missed dose and take your next dose on the regularly scheduled day. Do not take two doses of Mounjaro within 3 days of each other. 

Start with a low dose and gradually increase to your goal dose. Starting with a high dose of Mounjaro is more likely to cause side effects than gradually increasing your dose.

Your healthcare provider will likely suggest a dosing schedule where you start with a low dose and gradually increase your dose as needed until your blood sugar levels reach their target.

Reducing diarrhea

If you experience diarrhea while taking Mounjaro, reduce your fiber intake and eat a bland diet. Cutting back on greasy and high-fat foods can also help lessen the severity of diarrhea. 

To prevent dehydration from diarrhea, you should be sure to drink plenty of clear liquids such as water, tea, juice, broth, and popsicles.

Some foods to eat to help reduce diarrhea include:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce and other soft fruit without the skin (canned peaches, etc.)
  • Toast
  • Broth-based soups
  • Crackers (not whole grain)
  • Boiled potatoes

Reducing nausea and vomiting

You might experience nausea and vomiting while taking Mounjaro. If you do, you can try some of the following tips to try to minimize those side effects.

  • Eat small meals and snacks every few hours instead of large meals
  • Eat cold foods, not hot foods that give off strong odors
  • Drink liquids in between meals, not with meals (this helps your stomach not get too full)
  • Suck on ginger candies or peppermint
  • Avoid carbonated beverages
  • Avoid greasy or high-fat foods

Reducing constipation from Mounjaro

If you experience constipation from taking Mounjaro, here are some tips that can help:

  • Increase your fiber intake by eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid eating large amounts of potentially constipating foods like high-fat meat, dairy products, and refined grains.

Who should not take Mounjaro?

Mounjaro might not be safe or effective for some people, and its safety in certain populations is still unknown. 

Here is a chart to help you determine if Mounjaro is suitable for you to take:

Recommended to take Mounjaro
Have type 1 diabetesX
Are pregnant or nursingX
Are under age 18X
Have multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)X
Have a history (personal or family) of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) X
Have a history of pancreatitisX
Are allergic to Mounjaro or any of its ingredientsX

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Some of the most common side effects of Mounjaro are stomach-related, such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, reduced appetite, and constipation. 

Rare but serious potential side effects of Mounjaro include thyroid tumors, pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, and kidney problems, among others.

The best way to reduce the side effects of Mounjaro is to take it as prescribed and make any necessary dietary adjustments to help reduce gastrointestinal-related side effects.

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  1. Bhagavathula AS, Vidyasagar K, Tesfaye W. Efficacy and Safety of Tirzepatide in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Phase II/III Trials. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2021 Sep.
  2. New analyses of Mounjaro™ (tirzepatide) injection for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes presented at the American Diabetes Association’s® 82nd Scientific Sessions®. Lilly.
  3. Jastreboff AM, Aronne LJ, Ahmad NN, Wharton S, Connery L, Alves B, Kiyosue A, Zhang S, Liu B, Bunck MC, Stefanski A; SURMOUNT-1 Investigators. Tirzepatide Once Weekly for the Treatment of Obesity. N Engl J Med. 2022.

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