Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro are all popular medications that can be used to treat different conditions. They have recently received news and social media attention due to their high effectiveness as well as some shortages. Here is what you need to know about these medications.
- These medications belong to a class of drugs known as glucagon‐like peptide (GLP‐1s) and insulinotropic polypeptide (GIPs)
- GLP-1s and/or GIPs can be effective for indications such as blood glucose regulation, weight loss when medically necessary, and potentially for lowering cardiovascular risks
- Medications in this group include the following: Saxenda (liraglutide), Victoza (liraglutide), Ozempic (semaglutide), Wegovy (semaglutide), Mounjaro (tirzepadite), Trulicity (dulaglutide) and Rybelsus (semaglutide)
- Ozempic vs Mounjaro vs Wegovy in Canada [/caption]
Each medication has different approved uses by Health Canada. All treatments prescribed by a clinician must medically appropriate and based on clinical evidence. The primary indications for these medications approved by Health Canada are as following:
- Semaglutide: Approved for Weight Loss and Type 2 Diabetes in Canada
- Tirzepatide: Approved for Weight Loss and Type 2 Diabetes in Canada
- Liraglutide: Approved for Weight Loss and Type 2 Diabetes in Canada
- Dulaglutide: Approved for Type 2 Diabetes in Canada
- All medications that require a prescription require an evaluation by a medical practitioner
- Generally, to qualify for any weight-loss medication, individuals should have a BMI of over 30
- Other factors such as blood glucose, diabetes or prediabetes may also be taken into consideration by a health care provider to determine eligibility for weight loss medications if the patient BMI is between 27 and 30
How do they work:
- GLP-1s and GIPs work in similar mechanisms, by imitating hormones called incretins which are naturally produced in our digestive system
- Incretins are used by the body to regulate insulin but can also help individuals feel satiety and fullness
- When GLP-1s and GIPs are used, they imitate incretins to help you improve your blood glucose, as well as reduce appetite and cravings, and feel full for longer
Which medications are the most effective:
- Tirzepatide and Semaglutide can lead to the most significant weight loss based on clinical data
- Tirzepatide seems to be more effective, but additional clinical research and data is required to confirm this. An ongoing clinical trial is expected to be completed by 2025.
- In clinical trials, Tirzepatide at the highest dose, lead to over 15% of average body weight over 18 months, with a third losing 20% of body weight
How do I find which medication is right for me?
- Age: All medications are approved for use in adults but some may be suitable for children above 10 years old
- Underlying health: Existing health conditions, medications or risks (e.g. heart disease) may be an important factor to determine the right medication for you
- Preferences: Oral tablets vs injections may be considered depending on preferences.
- Frequency: Some medications require daily administrations, while many injectable options are once-weekly injections.
- Affordability: These treatments can be expensive, and insurance coverages vary. It’s best to consider the cost of the treatment to ensure you can continue.
- Tolerance: Some individuals may not tolerate certain treatments.
What if a medication hasn’t worked for me in the past?
- Cloudcure’s medical team provides care beyond a single hyped medication or one-size-fits-all-prescribing
- We can help find effective treatment options even if you have not had experienced successfully losing weight or not tolerated a medication due to side effects, or hit a plateau after losing some weight initially
- Speak to your Cloudcure clinician about your medical history to help find the right treatment for you
Variance in insurance coverage:
- There may be differences in insurance coverages for medications, based on the indication they are approved for
- For instance, some insurers and providers may not approve drugs indicated only for T2 Diabetes treatment, when prescribed off-label for weight loss (e.g. Ozempic or Mounjaro)
- In addition, some insurance plans, employers or providers may require pre-authorization prior to providing coverage for these medications
Availability in Canada:
- As of late 2023, the following medications are commercially available in Canada: Ozempic, Saxenda, Victoza, Trulicity, Rybelsus, Mounjaro
- The following medications are not commercially available from their manufacturers in Canada at this time: Wegovy
- There is currently a shortage of Ozempic and Wegovy expected until spring 2024 in Canada
- It is important to consider availably of medications before starting a treatment
- Cloudcure’s programs combine lifestyle change with effective medical treatment
- Anyone can join Cloudcure’s programs after completing an initial eligibility quiz.
- From there, a Cloudcure clinician will determine if the treatment is appropriate, safe and effective for you
- Cloudcure’s team can also assist with insurance support, including direct billing for any drug claims
What else should I know?
- Medications can be highly effective tool when used appropriately, safely and and under the guidance of a medical professional
- However most medications in the GLP-1 group have been studied for effectiveness in the presence of lifestyle change including nutrition and exercise
- Cloudcure’s unique approach is based on a curriculum that can help shift your mindset, build sustainable health habits such as nutrition and daily movement, reduce stress and improve mental and emotional health
What are some red flags when looking for treatment providers?
When looking for effective treatment options, watch out for some of these red flags in any providers:
- Prescription without speaking to a care provider: Don’t accept an online prescription from a medical practitioner who has never met you by phone or video. All Cloudcure members meet face-to-face with a licensed medical practitioner to review their lab work, discuss medications and accept a treatment plan.
- No comprehensive plan for sustainable change: GLP-1s are effective but they still require lifestyle change to be effective. Without these changes, you are not likely to get the full medical benefit of the treatments.
- Prescribing hyped medications as a quick-fix: Not all patients will respond to each medication. While GLP-1 medications can work, some patients may not tolerate certain medications. In addition, some medications may not be effective for individuals given our unique biological differences. Our team can provide treatment options beyond a single hyped drug, that can provide effective weight-loss
- No expertise in obesity medicine: Does your provider have expertise in weight-loss medicine or do they offer everything from sexual health to acne treatments? Some providers may not be able to support you if you experience side-effects, lack of effectiveness or hit a plateau, so it’s important to consider the support available.
The Cloudcure Learning Hub contains educational content providing balanced information on diseases and treatments. The information presented is of a general nature and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not attempt to begin, modify or stop any treatments without professional medical advice. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor, primary healthcare provider or Cloudcure medical practitioner.