JumpstartMD Offers GLP-1 GIP (Zepbound® / Tirzepatide) Medication for Weight Loss
In early November, 2023, the combination GLP-1 GIP medication tirzepatide, previously known as Mounjaro® as a medication FDA approved for type II diabetes treatment, was FDA approved for weight management under the brand name Zepbound®. Given tirzepatide studies show greater pharmacologic weight management efficacy than ever before in history, that represents an exciting development in our armamentarium to help our members improve their health and well-being in combination with healthy lifestyle changes.
How does Zepbound® (Tirzepatide) Work?
Similar to Mounjaro® (also tirzepatide), Zepbound® stimulates the body’s own GLP-1 and GIP receptors. That helps to suppress hunger and cravings, improve internal insulin efficacy, and support previously unseen weight loss outcomes. Like other GLP-1 medications, it should also help to prevent and reverse diseases ranging from type II diabetes and pre-diabetes to heart attack, strokes and fatty liver disease. By improving healthspan, it may potentially help to alleviate or prevent many other weight associated diseases, both directly and indirectly, whether Alzheimer’s dementia, sleep apnea, symptomatic arthritis, PCOS. By expanding healthspan, one could argue it may also lengthen not only quality of life but lifespan.
Combination GLP-1 GIP medications like Zepbound® are not stimulants like some older generation weight management medications nor habit forming.
How Effective is Zepbound® (Tirzepatide) for Weight Loss?
In a study published in JAMA in December 2023, Zepbound® showed mean weight loss of over 25% after 88 weeks and mean weight loss of nearly 21% after 36 weeks. Needless to say, those are positively life changing outcomes that impact not only weight and quality of life, but a host of weight associated diseases and headwinds for optimization of longevity.
How is Zepbound® (Tirzepatide) different from GLP-1 Medications like Wegovy®?
Zepbound® (tirzepatide) and Mounjaro® (tirzepatide) distinguish themselves from pure GLP-1 agonists and prior generations of weight management medications, because they stimulate two receptors, both the native GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) AND GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) through one “peptide” (short protein) molecule.
In so doing, they stimulate natural metabolic pathways that produce a variety of unique benefits to promote weight loss, health, and well-being.
GLP-1 (and GLP-1 GIP) benefits include:
- Slowing the time in which the stomach empties in ways that promote a sense of fullness, reduce hunger, and more
- Reduction in levels of the hormone glucagon to stabilize and reduce elevations in blood sugar
- Increase insulin sensitivity and enhance insulin secretion, particularly for insulin resistant people in whom that mechanism is broken
- Reduce hunger and cravings within the hunger center of the brain
Do GLP-1 and GIP “Peptides” Exist Naturally Within the Body?
Yes. Both GLP-1 and GIP peptides (short proteins) exist naturally within the body and help to control blood sugars, hormone levels, and appetite in response to a meal. However, in our own natural versions of these peptides, their duration of action is short. In Zepbound® and other weekly GLP-1 medications, scientists worked to lengthen the duration of activity of these peptides and thus simplified their dosing and enhanced their efficacy. In so doing, they have leveraged our own internal pathways to help to restore healthy weights in combination with complimentary lifestyle changes.
What is the FDA Indication for Zepbound® (Tirzepatide)?
As of November 2023, Zepbound®, is FDA approved for weight management in people with a BMI > 30 or a BMI > 27 with at least one weight related co-morbidity (condition).
How Much Does Zepbound® (Tirzepatide) Cost and Are There Discounts?
The retail price of Zepbound® is $1,279 per month, cost-prohibitive pricing for the vast majority of people in need. That said, we have a team of experts who can help members determine whether they may qualify for commercial card saving programs or insurance coverage. Oftentimes, a successful outcome in that pursuit leads to a $25 monthly cost for medication.
Even for those who may not be eligible for a GLP-1 (or GLP-1 GIP) insurance coverage or discount program, we have partnerships with pharmacies that provide compounded tirzepatide and semaglutide at significantly lower cost than the full-retail price of Zepbound® or Wegovy®.
For those interested in GLP-1 insurance coverage or discounting, discuss options with your JumpstartMD clinician, and we can then partner to determine how best to proceed.
Why Use Medications Like Zepbound® (Tirzepatide) to Achieve and Sustain Superior Weight Loss and Health Improvement Outcomes?
It goes without saying that healthy lifestyle changes and behaviors are critical, central components of any sustainable weight loss and health journey. But let’s face it, losing weight and equally importantly, sustaining your healthier, lower weight once you get there, isn’t easy. In fact, in the above cited JAMA article on Zepbound®, patients off medication regained 14% of their body weight within a year of discontinuing the medication. Other studies show similar loss of benefit and rebound after discontinuation of medication; a tendency frankly common not only for those who lose significant weight with the support of medication but even for those who lose significant weight without medication. In fact, statistically, 95% of people achieving major weight loss regain their lost weight within a three to five year period. Studies show that part of the reason for regaining relates to changes in biology following major weight loss, changes that actively encourage regain, something that’s obviously discouraging to anyone undergoing a recurring cycle of “yo-yo dieting” with losses and regain.
That being said, there are no other chronic diseases (and obesity is a chronic disease as now, at long last, acknowledged by the American Medical Association) with lifestyle alone. By way of simple example, if one has high blood pressure and their doctor starts medication (and lifestyle changes, ideally) to improve their blood pressure, once the blood pressure is normalized, do you stop the medication? Of course not, as if you did the blood pressure would go right back up.
Medication in Combination With Healthy Lifestyle Changes
The chronic disease of obesity and the abundant conditions associated with it are no different. Now with the help of 21st century medications such as Zepbound® (tirzepatide), we, at long last, have medications that, in combination with healthy lifestyle changes, can not only help people lose life changing amounts of weight but can leverage those same lifestyle changes AND medication to keep it off. In so doing, they will also prevent and reverse a host of common and concerning diseases.
Granted, some can manage their weight loss long-term without medication or with modifications in medication regimen. However, many, many people will struggle with that. When that’s the case, it is by all means reasonable and rational to continue medications that can help sustain life changing outcomes in both weight and disease prevention for the long-term when needed.
Weight Loss Maintenance With Your JumpstartMD Clinician
That’s a conversation on weight loss maintenance that you can have with your JumpstartMD clinician such that the two of you can partner, without judgment or shame, to determine what would make the most sense for YOU, both in terms of healthy lifestyle changes but also 21st century pharmacologic (medication) support, if and when needed, to sustain remarkable successes, prevent and reverse diseases, and support your longevity and long-term quality of life.
FAQ’s About GLP-1 GIP Combination Medications Like Zepbound® (Tirzepatide):
Q: Is GLP-1 GIP Medication like Zepbound® an Injectable?
A: Yes. Zepbound® is injected once weekly injectable with an ultra-tiny needle and very simple, easily utilized delivery mechanism tolerated by even the most needle phobic in our experience. Compounded forms of tirzepatide can also be simply delivered once weekly through a self-administered, painless subcutaneous injection.
Q: How frequent is the dosing?
A: Once a week. Pick a day.
Q: What if I have questions?
A: First off, you’ll meet with your JumpstartMD clinician and during that visit, he or she can answer any questions you might have, whether then or in the future. Your Medical Team will discuss the details of your medication.
Q: What GLP-1 GIP brands do you prescribe?
A: Zepbound® and Mounjaro® are the only GLP-1 GIP medications on the market today and ultimately they’re the same thing with different branding for different FDA approval indications, weight management (BMI > 30 or > 27 with at least one weight related co-morbidity like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, or others) in the former and type II diabetes in the latter.
Q: Are medications required at JumpstartMD?
A: Starting at the first appointment, our members learn that losing weight – and keeping it off – is about making smart decisions based on nutritional science. Members lose an average of 26 pounds (12.6% of their starting weight) by month 6.
In that vein, know that weight management medications are by no means required to participate in a JumpstartMD weight management program. In fact, many of our members pursue their weight management journey without medication and our published outcomes study on over 22,000 members showed that they also do remarkably well.
Nonetheless, that group is, to some degree self-selected, while we know that biology drives behavior along with excess weight and medication can positively influence the biology of both behavior and fat formation.
In fact, research shows that, in combination with health coaching and lifestyle changes, new generation medications like Mounjaro® , Zepbound®, Wegovy®, Ozempic® and others can be both safe and extremely effective at promoting long term, successful weight loss.
Q: What happens if I am not eligible for a GLP-1 or GLP-1 GIP Savings Card or insurance coverage for expensive medication like Zepbound®, Mounjaro®, Wegovy®, Ozempic®, or another GLP-1?
A: If your insurance won’t provide coverage for a GLP-1 or GLP-1 GIP agonist, fear not. For one, our clinicians can explore compounded versions of GLP-1 or GLP-1 GIP medications like semaglutide or tirzepatide, respectively. Second, our clinicians are experts in medical weight management and have a host of medication options in addition to GLP-1’s and GLP-1 GIP’s plus non-pharmacologic tools in their toolbox to help you to achieve and sustain your health and wellness goals.
Q: In addition to GLP-1’s like Wegovy® and GLP-1 GIP’s like Zepbound® or Mounjaro® are there other effective weight management medication options available for interested and eligible JumpstartMD members?
A: Yes. If medications like Wegovy® (semaglutide) or Zepbound® or Mounjaro® (tirzepatide) are cost-prohibitive at full retail and are not on one’s insurance formulary or otherwise available on an insurance subsidized or savings program, other classes of lower cost generic and non-generic medications can also be prescribed either alone or in combination and to great benefit with the right individualized nutritional guidance and support. That being said, remember, for those who are not interested in complementing their healthy lifestyle changes with medication, our members who abstained from medication were also clinically proven to achieve remarkable levels of weight loss through guidance founded on proven science and supported through a wonderful team of compassionate, motivational, and expert clinicians and health coaches.
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