Most diabetic patients on Tirzepatide could be unaware of its side effects. This article will help you understand them.
A staggering 537 million people across the globe suffer from type 2 diabetes and that is not the worst of it.
This number is estimated to rise to over 750 million by 2045 according to studies. In the same vein, more than a billion people are clinically obese. That’s right, 1 in 7 people are overweight.
What does this have to do with tirzepatide you ask?
Well, tirzepatide is a miracle drug that promises to treat these ‘twin epidemics’ simultaneously with surprising efficacy.
Tirzepatide is a linear polypeptide of 39 amino acids that is chemically modified to enhance its stability in metabolism.
It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to aid glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is engineered from the native GIP sequence with agonist activity at both the GIP and GLP-1 receptors.
Tirzepatide is sold under the brand name Mounjaro™ usually as an injection pen. Since the drug was approved in 2021 for type 2 diabetes, it has become more widely available by prescription.
How is it Used?
Tirzepatide is a once-weekly subcutaneous injectable peptide.
The dosage for adults is usually 2.5 mg injected under the skin once a week for the first 4 weeks. From there, your doctor may increase your dosage as needed.
However, the dose does not usually exceed 15 mg once a week.
Each injection pen contains about 0.5ml solution of either 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, or 15 mg of tirzepatide.
It also contains excipients such as sodium chloride (4.1 mg), sodium phosphate dibasic heptahydrate (0.7 mg) and good old water for injection.
Benefits of Tirzepatide
Since tirzepatide is primarily used by patients with type 2 diabetes, these benefits will primarily be experienced by said group.
Reduces Glycemic Levels
Glycemic levels are basically a measure of increase in blood sugar levels caused by eating a specific food or carbohydrate.
People with type 2 diabetes basically have high glycemic levels which is the main premise of the condition.
Tirzepatide helps reduce the high glycemic levels in diabetes patients.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin sensitivity basically refers to how receptive the cells are in response to insulin. More insulin sensitivity enables the body cells to use blood glucose efficiently thus reducing overall blood sugar.
Tirzepatide basically acts as a catalyst to aid in improving cell sensitivity to insulin which is great for diabetes patients.
Improves Lipid Metabolism
Lipid metabolism involves the breakdown of fats for energy as well as storage.
Tirzepatide contains properties that improve the efficacy of this breakdown.
Tirzepatide does a pretty good job in helping to reduce glycemic levels but this does not come without tirzepatide side effects; as is the case with most synthetic drugs.
Herein, we present the tirzepatide side effects based on category, which will be clearly stated.
Positive Side Effects
These are positive tirzepatide side effects that may be experienced when taking the drug.
It May Reduce Your Appetite
This is one of the tirzepatide side effects that is the forerunner of the next side effect on this list.
Tirzepatide may cause weight loss in a variety of ways. This tirzepatide side effect causes a reduction in appetite.
This effect may go both ways as a positive or a negative; positive in the sense that it aids in weight loss as we will soon see or negative if it results in malnutrition.
I will classify it as a positive for the purposes of this article however since it is directly linked to our next item.
Weight Loss May Be Experienced
Another one of tirzepatide side effects and possibly one of the most prevalent is weight loss.
A study showed up to a 20% reduction in body weight in individuals who took tirzepatide over a prolonged time period.
Significant weight loss can be seen as early as 6 months.
Negative Side Effects
These are the cons of taking tirzepatide. These tirzepatide side effects may be experienced shortly after use or after prolonged use.
It May Cause Swelling at the Injection Site
Starting off the list of negative tirzepatide side effects is swelling/itching at the injection area. This may be experienced immediately after injection although the effects are usually mild.
As you may have guessed, this is a pretty common side effect of injection-based medication.
Nausea May Be Experienced
Nausea is the most commonly occurring of the negative tirzepatide side effects with up to 18% of people in trials reporting experiencing it.
This tirzepatide side effect tends to happen when you first start taking the medication. It usually falls over time after repeated use.
Your Tummy May Be Upset
This is another rather common tirzepatide side effect especially when you are just starting the dose. This is owing to the fact that tirzepatide slows the movement of food in the stomach and may upset starters.
It is worth noting that this is part of what leads to loss of appetite as earlier stated.
You May Vomit
This is directly linked with the previous point. Since it may cause an upset stomach, it may be upset to the point that you actually vomit although this is less common.
It May Cause Diarrhoea
This is another one of the tirzepatide side effects that are more common when initially starting off the dosage.
It is more common than most would like with up to 17% of clinical trials reporting to have experienced it.
This also means that it should get better as your body gets used to the medication.
It May Cause General Fatigue
This is a less common side effect. Generally, fatigue may be caused by either very low or high blood sugar levels.
In the context of tirzepatide, fatigue may be caused by the decrease in blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Again, this is more common in the early stages of dosage.
It May Cause Constipation
This is counter-intuitive since we have already stated that it causes diarrhoea. This is however one of the tirzepatide side effects.
A conclusion can be made that it depends on the person taking the drug and other underlying conditions they may have.
If any of these symptoms persist be sure to see your doctor as soon as possible.
Who Should Not Take Tirzepatide?
You should not use tirzepatide if;
- You have an inherent allergy to it (Consult your doctor for this)
- A person in your family history has/had medullary thyroid carcinoma (a type of thyroid cancer)
- If a family member has/had multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)
There is no doubt that tirzepatide is a good drug for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. It gets even better if you also need to shed a few pounds while you’re at it.
It however comes with a non-trivial amount of tirzepatide side effects albeit mild.
Do note that tirzepatide is FDA-approved for type 2 diabetes but not for obesity. That being said, its weight loss properties are more often that not, a welcome side effect.
All in all, it is a great drug for people that are a bit chunky and also have type 2 diabetes. Talk about killing two birds with one drug.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]