Mounjaro Side Effects: What You Need to Know
- Mounjaro® is an injectable medication used for treating type 2 diabetes and helping individuals control fluctuating blood sugar levels.
- Most people using Mounjaro will experience some side effects. These adverse reactions can range from mild to severe.
- Mild side effects of Mounjaro include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and gastrointestinal issues. Pain and swelling at the injection site are also common.
- Severe side effects include gallbladder issues, increased risk of thyroid cancer, and acute kidney injury. If you experience any of these adverse reactions, seek emergency medical care immediately to avoid further complications.
Managing type 2 diabetes with medications like Mounjaro has become an effective way for patients to control their insulin levels.
However, like most drugs, Mounjaro may cause some unpleasant side effects — especially for first-time users.
It’s important to know what kind of adverse reactions to expect when using Mounjaro.
Not only does it help you understand how the medication affects your body, but it’s also vital for determining if you need urgent medical attention.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the most common mild to severe side effects of Mounjaro and how you can reduce their impact on your daily life.
What is Mounjaro?
Mounjaro — or tirzepatide — is an injectable drug that is intended to treat type 2 diabetes in adults.
It belongs to a class of medications called glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor and glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.
These hormones (GIP and GLP-1) occur naturally and are responsible for regulating our insulin levels.
People with diabetes usually can’t produce enough of these hormones by themselves, which is what causes insulin regulation issues.
This is also why they have to take medication like Mounjaro that mimics these hormones and helps them to control their high blood sugar levels more effectively.
What Are the Different Side Effects Mounjaro Can Cause?
Just like other medications, Mounjaro can cause side effects. These range from mild to severe, and typically resolve as the body adjusts to the drug.
Mild-to-moderate side effects
These side effects are some of the most common that occur when people start using Mounjaro. They tend to last for a few days or weeks and may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Burping and flatulence
- Acid reflux
- Reaction at the injection site
Mild side effects will usually resolve on their own after a couple of weeks. If they last longer than that or start to affect your daily life, be sure to speak to your doctor.
Severe side effects
Severe side effects when using Mounjaro are rare, but they can occur. These may include:
- Severe digestive problems
- Acute kidney injury
- Gallbladder problems
- Increased risk of developing thyroid tumors
- Severe allergic reaction
Any severe side effects won’t go away on their own, and they will require professional medical treatment.
Key Point: What Should You Do If You Experience Severe Adverse Reactions?
If you develop any severe side effects, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Call 911 if your side effects feel life-threatening or if you suspect that you may be having a medical emergency.
How Long After Using Mounjaro Do Side Effects Usually Develop?
You are most likely to experience side effects in the first few days after you start using Mounjaro.
Side effects may also take longer to appear, depending on factors such as the dosage and your overall health.
Early-onset side effects
Milder side effects may start within hours of taking the medication and tend to persist until the body is used to the drug.
They may appear again if the prescribed amount of medication is increased or if you have to take a missed dose.
This includes reactions like headaches, stomach pain, nausea, and other gastrointestinal issues. These side effects can typically be managed with over-the-counter (OTC) medication.
Before taking any other drugs to alleviate your symptoms, ask your doctor about them first to determine if they would negatively interact with Mounjaro.
Delayed-onset side effects
Some side effects will only develop after a couple of weeks or months of using Mounjaro. These may include prolonged fatigue, changes in sleeping patterns, and mood swings.
It’s important to note that Mounjaro hasn’t been in use for a very long time, so delayed-onset side effects are still being studied.
If you experience any unpleasant reactions after using Mounjaro for a while, be sure to communicate your concerns with your doctor.
How Long Do Mounjaro Side Effects Usually Last?
Mounjaro's side effects will last for varying periods of time, depending on each individual.
Typically, the side effects tend to last at least a few days or weeks. Some milder reactions may only last for a couple of hours before resolving on their own.
Most of the Mounjaro side effects are temporary and will resolve as soon as the body is used to the medication.
Remember that if you suspect you may be experiencing a severe adverse reaction, you need to seek emergency medical care to avoid further complications.
Tips for Managing Mounjaro Side Effects
Depending on your individual experience and side effects, your doctor may recommend several strategies for managing any discomfort. Take OTC medications
Mild side effects — such as headaches, nausea, and skin reactions — can usually be alleviated by using OTC medications. This may include:
- Tylenol or Advil for pain relief
- Antihistamines to alleviate mild allergic reactions or skin irritation
- Hydrocortisone ointment for managing pain and swelling at the injection site
- Anti-diarrheal medications
Some side effects — like gastrointestinal issues and dehydration — can be managed by adopting a few lifestyle habits. These habits usually involve:
- Eating smaller meals and bland food to avoid nausea
- Avoiding fatty foods to reduce gastrointestinal issues
- Drinking enough water to avoid dehydration and constipation
- Increasing your physical activity, while focusing on low-impact movements
Managing severe side effects
More severe side effects may require a more aggressive management strategy. This may include:
Regular blood tests and ultrasounds to check for signs of cancer Monitoring kidney function Testing for pancreatitis Monitoring your vision if you have an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy
If your side effects are serious, your doctor may also recommend that you stop using Mounjaro and try different diabetes or weight loss medication that may have less severe reactions.
Common Questions about Mounjaro Side Effects
Does Mounjaro cause hair loss?
Many type 2 diabetes drugs — including Mounjaro — may cause significant hair loss, although the risk is generally quite low.
This is typically triggered by rapid or drastic weight loss, which puts the body under stress. Nutrient deficiencies that result from weight loss may also contribute to thinning hair.
To reduce the severity of potential hair loss, medical professionals recommend following a healthy diet that contains essential nutrients like iron or B vitamins.
Can Mounjaro cause thyroid cancer?
Mounjaro may increase your risk of developing thyroid cancer while using it.
Animal studies have found that tirzepatide — the active ingredient in Mounjaro — can cause thyroid C-cell tumors to develop. However, it’s not known if it has the same effect on humans.
The FDA has issued a boxed warning for Mounjaro and advises people with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer to avoid using this drug.
Can Mounjaro cause pancreatitis?
There is a possibility that Mounjaro may cause pancreatitis, which is swelling and inflammation of the pancreas.
In clinical trials, the side effect was reported, but it was very rare. It’s not currently known if you’re at a higher risk of developing pancreatitis again if you’ve had it in the past.
Does Mounjaro cause high blood pressure?
There is currently no evidence that supports a relationship between Mounjaro and high blood pressure.
Can Mounjaro lead to low blood sugar?
Mounjaro is unlikely to cause low blood sugar — also known as hypoglycemia — on its own.
The drug typically signals your pancreas to release insulin and is designed to keep blood sugar levels stable. However, combining it with other diabetes medication can increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
Taking Mounjaro with insulin — or other insulin-stimulating medication — can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate and become dangerously low.
If you are taking other diabetes medications, you should tell your doctor about these before using Mounjaro.
They will make any necessary adjustments to lower the risk of any complications.
How does Mounjaro affect the gallbladder?
Although fewer than 1% of Mounjaro users develop these issues, it is possible for this medication to affect the gallbladder.
Some clinical trials have shown that GLP-1 medications — like Mounjaro — may increase the risk of developing gallstones. If left untreated, you’ll need surgery to remove the gallbladder.
The biggest sign of gallstones is a sharp stomach pain that won’t go away, even with the use of medications. Other symptoms include nausea, sweating, and vomiting.
Apart from surgery, adopting healthy lifestyle habits like losing weight, exercising, and following a low-fat diet can also help prevent gallbladder complications.
Can Mounjaro cause kidney problems or damage?
Gastrointestinal side effects — including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea — can cause dehydration.
If this is severe enough, it can lead to kidney damage in people with and without pre-existing renal conditions.
In rare cases, acute kidney injuries have been reported by people taking GLP-1 receptor drugs like Mounjaro.
To avoid any serious complications, speak to your doctor before starting with Mounjaro. They can help you determine if this medication is safe for you to use.
When Should You See a Doctor About Mounjaro Side Effects?
Many of Mounjaro’s common side effects don’t require medical attention.
However, if you experience persistent adverse reactions that last for more than a few weeks, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
Ongoing side effects may indicate an underlying health complication that is reacting to the medication. Your doctor should evaluate this and recommend appropriate treatment.
If your side effects don’t improve, your doctor may also advise you to stop using Mounjaro and suggest an alternative drug that could be more effective.
You should seek medical attention if you experience side effects that impact your daily life, such as gastrointestinal issues that affect your ability to eat.
In these cases, a healthcare provider may adjust your dosage or recommend milder alternative therapies.
Where Can I Learn More About Mounjaro and its Side Effects?
LifeMD is here to help. Licensed doctors can assist you with information about Mounjaro and provide guidance on how to effectively manage side effects — all from the comfort of your home.
They can support you through the LifeMD Weight Management Program, which offers you a tailored plan to achieve your weight loss goals.