How I’ve been losing weight by using Mounjaro
A doctor advises taking off-label prescriptions for weight loss, despite side effects
Note: This column describes the author’s own experiences with Mounjaro (trizepatide). Not everyone will have the same response to treatment. Consult your doctor before starting or stopping a therapy.
Confession time. Since November, I’ve been injecting the medication Mounjaro (trizepatide) once a week to help me lose weight. It’s a prescription medication used to treat type 2 diabetes and is often used off-label for weight loss. Its maker, Eli Lilly, hopes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will approve the drug for that latter purpose later this year.
Before Mounjaro, I couldn’t lose weight. My vegan diet and Peloton bike riding were not helping me. No matter how hard I tried, the scale didn’t move.
Maybe it’s because I’m postmenopausal. Or because I have an autoimmune thyroid disorder. Or because my bleeding disorders, hemophilia type B and von Willebrand disease, affect my activity. Maybe all of the above.
Last year, I discovered my liver, which I knew was too fat (a condition aptly named fatty liver), was starting to scar. My fatty liver had progressed to NASH, or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. My primary doctor referred me to a hepatologist. After a bazillion tests with wildly conflicting results, the hepatologist suggested I lose weight. Now.
The hepatologist told me he had a zero-tolerance policy for the scale not moving. He suggested a referral to a medical weight loss clinic if I hadn’t lost weight by my next appointment, in one month. I suggested we save time and that he put through the referral immediately, which he did.
But my weight wasn’t high enough to qualify for weight loss surgery, so he suggested I try one of the new medications being used for weight loss. He said they’d proven successful for many of his patients.
The medical weight loss clinic
At the clinic, I see an obesity medicine doctor and participate in classes on nutrition and the psychology of weight loss. I follow a high-protein diet and track my calories in the app MyFitnessPal. I drink a lot of water.
The clinic handles obesity like a cardiologist treating high blood pressure or an endocrinologist treating diabetes. Obesity is treated as a chronic disease that requires medication, which I’ll probably need to take for the rest of my life.
I’ve lost over 30 pounds and over 15% of my weight since November. My weight loss has been frustratingly slow, but my progress is considered successful as long as I lose an average of half a pound a week.
The most critical component in my weight loss journey has been the Mounjaro. Hands down. This life-changing medication is magical; it’s transformed my relationship with food overnight. I’m rarely hungry, and my cravings have disappeared. I no longer think about food, a phenomenon called “food noise.”
It’s not the easy way out, however. My doctor has prescribed a second medication to help with nausea. And the accompanying constipation can be severe; in fact, I work daily to keep myself moving and to avoid a bleeding episode that the constipation might cause.
Mounjaro is expensive and sometimes challenging to obtain because of the high demand. Luckily, I was grandfathered into a coupon that takes the cost down to $25 per month. But my coupon will expire at the end of June; after that, a typical prescription will cost around $1,000.
I hope Mounjaro will soon be approved for weight loss and covered by my insurance. These new medications are genuinely revolutionary in the fight against obesity. I’m grateful to be able to benefit from them.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.