Tirzepatide vs. Semaglutide: Which One Is Right for You?

By Amber Smith
Sep 26, 2023 4:00 AM
Article 22


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

It is estimated that being overweight or obese affects around two-thirds of Americans. By living with obesity or being overweight, you put yourself at risk for many health conditions, which is why weight management is vital to having a good quality of life. 

Today, we explore the two prescription medications that can help you manage and improve your weight. Both tirzepatide and semaglutide have been proven effective at helping people on their weight loss journeys. 

Here is some in-depth information to help you determine which is right for you. This article is to be used only as a guide, and any decisions on what medication you take are to be discussed and prescribed only by a medical professional.

The Best Places to Buy Tirzepatide and Semaglutide

First off, here are three reliable telehealth websites where you can connect with a licensed medical professional and get expert advice and your prescribed medication (if applicable) from the comfort of your home.

1. Tirzepatide and Semaglutide on Third Avenue: Most Effective & Editor’s Choice

We recommend booking a consultation with the experts at Third Avenue for a few reasons, the main one being the personalization they offer to suit each patient’s needs. This company offers virtual appointments that match you with board-certified weight loss experts who know what they are talking about when it comes to weight loss. During your telehealth consult, they will take into account your medical history, age, sex, and personal preference that increase efficacy and patient adherence. 

You will be given ongoing guidance and support at any time of the day, seven days of the week. They also offer a money-back guarantee within 30 days. Both their tirzepatide and semaglutide contain vitamin B12, as having a deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to obesity and greater fat accumulation. It could also have an impact on your metabolism and the processes your body goes through to burn calories. The practitioners can discuss the two medications with you and help you decipher which one is right for you.

Third Avenue believes that healthcare should be affordable and accessible to everyone. They are the most affordable on the market, offering personalized tirzepatide medication at $399 per 30 days of treatment. Their personalized semaglutide treatment is $299 per 30 days of treatment. If prescribed, your medication will arrive at your desired address in discreet packaging for free. Best of all, you don’t need insurance to be seen by any of their practitioners or for any prescriptions.

2. Sesame Care: Best for Same-Day Prescription

If you are looking for a same-day prescription that can be sent to your local pharmacy, Sesame Care could be a good option. Whether you get a prescription or not will be up to the medical professional that you schedule an appointment with. Simply go onto the Sesame Care website and select a practitioner for a consultation. They have a range of medical professionals to choose from, with many available appointment times. 

In your appointment, they will give you a full medical history review, your prescription (if you qualify), prescription authorization paperwork, a lab order if need be (at an added cost), and a lifestyle assessment. Sesame Care does not mention the costs for their tirzepatide or semaglutide on their website, and you will need to pay for a consultation with one of their medical assessors. Each appointment ranges from about $60 to $90, depending on the practitioner you choose.

Sesame Care offers a membership program at $10.99 per month or $99 annually, which grants you access to saving $10 off all telehealth consults and primary care visits. It also gives you one free lab or blood test each year, as well as $10 off dental visits or in-person specialist visits. Note this is for appointments only and not for the prescriptions themselves.

3. Roman: Best for Navigating Insurance

Roman doesn’t offer tirzepatide; they only offer semaglutide. However, their website does have a lot of useful information regarding tirzepatide. Roman also has a “Body Program” to help patients lose weight. They currently have over 150,000 patients on their Body Program.

The program costs $99 for the first month, and then it goes up to $145 per month. While the medication and lab tests aren’t included in this price, they do have a few other things they include. You will get one-on-one provider care where you can message one of their providers anytime. If you’d prefer to have a call with them, you can have up to 24 video calls a year included in the program cost. Roman offers insurance coverage support, meaning they have insurance concierge partners that will work with your insurance company to help fund your medication if applicable. 

You will have a personal health coach that you can message any time for their expert advice as well as any support or encouragement you may need to help you get the most out of the program. Finally, you’ll be sent an email each week with detailed strategies and weight loss tips to help you reach a long-term healthy lifestyle. Roman believes you can lose between 9% to 15% of your total body weight in around one year of being on their program.


What Is Tirzepatide?

This subcutaneous injection is a medication used to manage type 2 diabetes. It can also be used as an off-label drug for people who are overweight or obese. It is commonly sold with the brand name “Mounjaro.” Alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise, tirzepatide is used to help control blood sugar in adults living with type 2 diabetes. 

In May 2022, the medication was first approved for use in the United States. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers it a first-in-class medication. Later, the drug was approved for use in Australia in December 2022, the European Union in September 2022, and Canada in November 2022. 

How Does Tirzepatide Work?

It works by interfering with your glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) hormones, which results in a few key effects. Your GIP is a hormone that inhibits gastric acid secretion and encourages insulin secretion. GLP-1 is a peptide hormone that can reduce blood sugar levels for glucose-dependent individuals by escalating insulin secretion.

By interfering with your GIP and GLP-1 hormones, tirzepatide boosts insulin production and insulin sensitivity, which assists the body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels in the most effective way it can. It also helps the body by reducing the production of stomach acid. By reducing stomach acid, it decelerates the process of food digestion, and it decelerates the pace at which your stomach empties. These factors help make the body feel fuller for longer and can reduce the urge to eat when it’s not necessary.

Who Can Take Tirzepatide?

Tirzepatide is a medication the FDA approved for people with Type 2 diabetes. The FDA has not approved it for weight loss; however, it is showing positive results in the extensive studies being done to test its effectiveness on overweight and obese people. It is an injection to be taken once a week by patients, alongside changing their lifestyles with a healthy diet and consistent exercise. 

If it’s taken correctly with the healthy lifestyle changes, it can help reduce weight by up to 20%. The FDA has put tirzepatide forward to be fast-tracked and, hopefully, will be approved for weight loss by the organization in the near future. Doctors can still prescribe it for weight loss as an off-label medication. Tirzepatide is not deemed suitable for anyone younger than 18 years old.

If you choose to discuss potentially going on tirzepatide with your designated health provider, some specifics need to be disclosed to them. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have ever had pancreatitis, stomach problems, digestion issues, any known allergies, kidney problems, intestinal disorders, eye problems like diabetic retinopathy, or gallbladder disease. 

Is Tirzepatide Effective for Weight Loss?

This medication has been proven to help with weight loss in overweight and obese patients significantly. One study conducted to see the effectiveness tirzepatide has for weight reduction looked at 2539 adults with an average body mass index (BMI) of 38 and an average body weight of 231 lbs. 

Over 72 weeks, they found that those taking 5mgs of tirzepatide weekly lost an average of 15% of their body weight. Those taking 10mgs weekly lost an average of 19.5% of their body weight. Those taking 15mgs weekly lost an average of 20.9% of their body weight. Those on the placebo only lost an average of 3.1% of their body weight.

What Are the Side Effects of Tirzepatide?

Some common side effects of tirzepatide include fatigue, stomach pain, constipation, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and itchiness/inflammation/swelling/redness where the tirzepatide was injected. While these are some common side effects, you must seek medical attention if any of them last for a prolonged time or if the side effects worsen.

Some less common side effects requiring urgent medical attention include pancreatitis, decreased vision, blurred vision, kidney problems, and gallbladder disease. Signs of kidney problems can be any unusual changes in the amount of your urine. Signs of gallbladder disease or pancreatitis can include persistent nausea, persistent vomiting, extreme abdominal pain, or extreme stomach pain.


What Is Semaglutide?

This medicine is an antidiabetic treatment for those living with type 2 diabetes. For type 2 diabetics, this is used for long-term weight management and is an anti-obesity drug. The medication is sold under a few brand names, including Rybelsus, Ozempic, and Wegovy. It was originally developed in 2012 by Novo Nordisk. It is an injection that has been approved by the United States FDA since 2021 for chronic weight management. Like tirzepatide, it is expected to be used alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise. Semaglutide is made for overweight or obese adults who experience one or more weight-related health conditions. It is sold under the brand names Rybelsus, Ozempic, and Wegovy.

How Does Semaglutide Work?

Like tirzepatide, semaglutide triggers a psychological response toward feelings of hunger. It is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that interferes with the GLP-1 receptor in the brain, stomach, and pancreas. This part of the brain regulates appetite. By targeting the GLP-1 receptor, it can regulate appetite and reduce the amount of food you may want to eat. Semaglutide makes you feel fuller for longer by slowing down the speed at which your stomach empties itself. This also leads to users being less likely to want snacks or overeat. By slowing down the digestion process, semaglutide has the added bonus of better blood sugar control (this is a necessity for those managing diabetes).

Who Can Take Semaglutide?

The FDA has approved semaglutide for obese or overweight patients as young as 12 years old and older. Note that according to The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), it is only approved for weight loss under the brand name “Wegovy.” Semaglutide is also FDA-approved for those with type 2 diabetes. 

It is an injectable solution to be used in conjunction with behavior changes, including regular exercise and consuming a healthy diet to help with weight loss. Once prescribed by a medical professional, the injectable is to be administered under the skin once a week and must only be purchased from a licensed pharmacist or pharmaceutical company.

When consulting with your doctor about potentially starting your weight loss treatment with semaglutide, be sure to mention if you have any known allergies, including an allergy to the drug itself. If you have any medical history that includes pancreatitis, digestion problems, kidney problems, gastroparesis, stomach disorders, gallbladder disease, diabetic retinopathy, or intestinal disorders, let your doctor know before they prescribe you the medication.

Is Semaglutide Effective for Weightloss?

Semaglutide has not only proven effective for weight loss, but it has also been proven to lower the risk of stroke, heart attacks, some cancers, and even death in some patients. A study conducted to see its effectiveness for weight loss found that after 68 weeks of being on semaglutide, half of the participants reduced their body weight by 15%. Nearly a third of the participants were able to reduce their body weight by 20%.

What Are the Side Effects of Semaglutide?

Like all medications, semaglutide does have some common side effects. They shouldn’t last long, but if the side effects last a long time or worsen, get in touch with your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible. Some common side effects can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, or itchy/red/swollen skin around the area where you injected the semaglutide.

The less common but serious side effects can include signs of gallbladder disease or pancreatitis. Symptoms of those two side effects can include ongoing nausea, persistent vomiting, excruciating abdominal pain, or excruciating stomach pain. If you experience any of these, seek urgent medical attention right away.

Frequently asked questions

What Is Tirzepatide for Weight Loss?

This injectable medication activates the body’s receptors for GIP and GLP-1 incretin hormones. Some of these hormone receptors are located in parts of the brain and are an essential part of regulating appetite. By regulating your appetite, tirzepatide can limit feelings of hunger by making you feel fuller for longer. This once-a-week injectable also interferes with your body’s insulin levels and blood sugar production. All of these effects can lead to significant weight loss.

How Quickly Do You Lose Weight on Semaglutide?

Some users can see weight loss results within eight weeks of having the semaglutide injections. Most patients will see changes in their weight by 12 weeks. Generally, the drug takes about two weeks to start working in the body. This medication does require you to be eating a well-balanced diet and to do regular exercise. The results of one study showed that half of the study’s participants lost 15% of their total body weight after 68 weeks of taking the injectable. Furthermore, nearly a third of the participants lost 20% of their total body weight after 68 weeks of being on semaglutide.

Can You Buy Tirzepatide for Weight Loss?

Tirzepatide (also known as Mounjaro) has only been approved by the FDA for people living with type 2 diabetes. Doctors still can prescribe it as an off-label for obesity or for those with a high body mass index (BMI) of 27kg/m2 or greater. However, it is unlikely that your insurance company will cover the cost of the medication due to the fact the FDA has not yet approved it for these purposes. 

One option for being prescribed the medication is to go through a telehealth website where you can have the medication prescribed and dispensed by the same place so long as you qualify for it. This seems to be the most affordable way to go about getting the medication, especially for those who might not have insurance that covers it.

Is Semaglutide Weight Loss Permanent?

Most patients regain the weight that they lost when they finish taking semaglutide. This has been documented and is iterated to most patients that the primary way to manage obesity is to have a major lifestyle change in terms of completing daily or regular exercise and eating consistently healthy meals without overeating. Of course, these factors change from patient to patient, so be sure to discuss with your medical practitioner any concerns that need addressing.

What Is Tirzepatide Cost?

Purchasing the medication through a pharmacy can range between $1000 and $1500 per month; however, companies like Third Avenue are offering it as a personalized treatment at $399 per month. If you are just going through your regular pharmacy for tirzepatide and have coverage from your insurance provider, you could get it at as little as $25 each month. Of course, this all depends on your insurance coverage and personal policy. Bear in mind this medication is unlikely to be covered for obesity as this medication is only FDA-approved for type 2 diabetes.

What Are the Side Effects of Taking Semaglutide?

Every medication can come with some side effects. While on semaglutide, you may experience common side effects, including heartburn, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, headache, vomiting, burping, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Keep track of your symptoms and get in contact with your doctor if they worsen or just do not go away. These side effects should be relatively mild, and the benefits of weight loss should outweigh the inconvenience of experiencing these side effects.

Who Cannot Take Tirzepatide?

It should be emphasized that if you have a family medical history or a personal medical history of medullary thyroid carcinoma, that tirzepatide should be abstained from. Same for patients with a medical history of multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) syndrome. This syndrome can cause endocrine glands to grow tumors on them. This doesn’t mean that you cannot still consult your doctor about the medication, as depending on your situation, a medical professional could still deem this treatment a suitable option.

Can You Stay on Semaglutide for Life?

So long as your doctor approves this medication for your use and your body tolerates the weekly injections, there is no time frame for how long you can take semaglutide as it is made for long-term use. There are some possible long-term effects of using semaglutide; in such cases, you should discuss with your designated healthcare professional the medication's suitability for your needs. The long-term effect that is most commonly seen is a gastrointestinal disorder. Some of the more common long-term side effects of semaglutide may arise from underlying health issues that develop as a result of changes to your increased insulin production, rapid weight loss, and blood sugar levels.

What Are the Disadvantages of Tirzepatide?

There are some common side effects associated with many GLP-1 receptor agonists, including tirzepatide. These side effects can include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. The side effects observed were more likely to be felt once the tirzepatide had been initiated or increased in its administered dosage. The diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting were mild to moderate in terms of how extreme the side effects have been experienced.

Can Doctors Prescribe Semaglutide for Weight Loss?

If you consult with your doctor and they deem semaglutide as a suitable medication to help you lose weight, they may prescribe it to you with instructions on how to take it. The United States FDA approved the Wegovy injectable (a brand name of semaglutide) as a weight management option for adults who are obese or overweight with one or more health conditions associated with being overweight. Some of those conditions could include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.

Is Tirzepatide a Pill?

No, it is an injectable drug administered under the skin that targets two obesity-related hormones. It is only taken once a week and is effective at helping people lose weight when used alongside a structured exercise regime and a healthy diet. There are weight loss options that can come as pills; however, tirzepatide is not available as an oral capsule at this time. You can administer the injection in your upper arms, thighs, stomach, or as otherwise directed by your doctor or pharmacist.

Why Am I Not Losing More Weight on Semaglutide?

If you are struggling to lose weight on semaglutide, it could be due to another medical condition you have or your lifestyle. If you are concerned about your weight loss not being as progressive as you expected, make a booking with your designated medical provider to discuss your concerns. It’s important to remember that semaglutide is to be taken while consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet as well as persistent exercise.

Does Tirzepatide Make You Sleepy?

This medication should not cause you to feel low in energy, tired, or weak. If you are having continual symptoms of fatigue or if it is getting worse, talk to your doctor about all your symptoms. Fatigue can be associated with type 2 diabetes and is a common side effect of the condition.

What Foods to Avoid on Semaglutide?

If you are going on semaglutide, the types of foods you need to avoid are those that contain saturated fats, high fat, high sodium, refined carbohydrates, high-glycemic starchy vegetables, and added sugar. If you are taking semaglutide and you have diabetes, it is important that you cut out those foods that contain a lot of sugar, as this is what spikes blood sugar levels and, in some cases, can work against the medication.

Medical Disclaimer:


The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. You should always consult with your doctor or a licensed healthcare provider before taking any medication or making decisions regarding your health.


Prescription Medication:


Medications discussed herein are prescription medications, and it should only be used under the guidance and supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. You should not use prescription medications without a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare provider.


Privacy and Data Handling:


We are committed to protecting your privacy and handling your personal and medical information responsibly. If you choose to provide any personal information on this platform, please refer to our privacy policy for details on how we collect, use, and protect your data.


FDA Regulation (United States):


In the United States, these medications are subject to regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It should be obtained through a licensed healthcare provider or pharmacy. Any promotion or purchase of the medications should be in compliance with FDA regulations.


Accuracy and References:


We strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information in our content. However, medical knowledge and guidelines may evolve over time. The information provided here is based on credible sources and reputable medical references. Please consult the latest medical literature and consult with a healthcare professional for the most current information and guidance.


Individual Results May Vary:


Please be aware that individual experiences with medications like these may vary. The effectiveness and safety of Viagra depend on various factors, including an individual's health, medical history, and adherence to prescribed dosages. Consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice and recommendations.

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2023 Kalmbach Media Co.