Watch for Tirzepatide, a New Injectable Diabetes Med

There’s buzz about tirzepatide (Mounjaro), a new Rx injectable for type 2 diabetes.

You’ll hear that it’s the first “twincretin.”

That’s because this GLP-1/GIP agonist works in two ways to mimic incretins...hormones that help increase insulin release, decrease blood sugar, and promote fullness, especially after meals.

Tirzepatide may also help patients with diabetes lose weight...up to 25 lb over 10 months.

On med histories, expect patients to report injecting tirzepatide 2.5 mg subcutaneously once weekly...and increase the dose monthly to reach their blood sugar goal, or to a max of 15 mg/week.

Carefully document the patient’s current dose...tirzepatide comes in 6 different strengths.

Stay alert for look-alike/sound-alike mix-ups. Tirzepatide can easily be mistaken for the osteoporosis med teriparatide (Forteo, etc). Their names are similar...and they’re both prefilled pens.

Don’t be surprised if tirzepatide isn’t on your formulary. It costs about $250/dose...and can be held during a hospital stay.

If a patient brings their own supply, help ensure it’s placed in the fridge. But if needed, a pen can be kept at room temp for up to 21 days.

Stay tuned to see if tirzepatide will be approved for obesity in patients withOUT diabetes. These patients may lose as much as 47 lb over 18 months...much higher than all other products (phentermine, etc).

Review our resource, Drugs for Type 2 Diabetes, for more on how tirzepatide stacks up.

Key References

  • N Engl J Med. 2021 Aug 5;385(6):503-515
  • Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2021 Sep;9(9):563-574
  • N Engl J Med. 2022 Jun 4. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2206038
  • Medication pricing by Elsevier, accessed Jun 2022
Hospital Pharmacy Technician's Letter. July 2022, No. 380701

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