Mounjaro was approved by the TGA in 2022 and was released in vials form in 2023. However it is facing challenges with supply which raises the question is mounjaro available in Australia.

What is Mounjaro?

Mounjaro is a weekly prescription injection for adults with type 2 diabetes. It helps control blood sugar levels when used alongside diet and exercise. It contains tirzepatide, which is a combination medication mimicking GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 receptors (glucose-like peptide) actions.

It works by increasing insulin and reducing sugar from the liver, helping lower blood sugar levels. It comes in either a user-friendly disposable pen with a built-in needle or a vial for drawing up injections. You can inject it into your lower abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. 

Mounjaro’s side effects include those of similar medications for type 2 diabetes. Common side effects encompass nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches, while more severe effects may include low blood sugar and abdominal or stomach problems.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes happens where the body struggles to regulate blood sugar levels properly. It happens when the body becomes resistant to insulin, a hormone that helps control blood sugar. As a result, blood sugar levels rise, potentially leading to various health issues. It’s often managed through diet, exercise, medications, and sometimes insulin injections. Mounjaro can possibly be a beneficial addition.

Is Mounjaro available in Australia?

In late 2022, Mounjaro received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration for treating adults with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes who cannot use metformin or require extra diabetes medication.

It is manufactured in various forms such as vials and pens, and comes in different strengths. The TGA approved the vial for injection in July 2023 and it was released in Australia in October in 2023. It soon experienced supply issues due to the high demand. The autoinjector pen is yet to be released and the company Eli Lilly has notified TGA of limited availability to be expected in 2024. 

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Mounjaro for weight loss?

Its advantages have become evident since its introduction in the US market. Despite its primary focus on type 2 diabetes treatment, it has attracted interest for its potential benefit in weight management. In a 72-week clinical trial with overweight participants who received weekly Mounjaro injections, there were notable reductions in weight and improvements in blood sugar control.

It isn’t approved for weight loss however its mechanisms suppress appetite and which makes you feel full for longer. It reduces how much food is eaten and slows down how quickly food leaves the stomach. The UK government has approved Mounajro for weight loss in addition to diabetes and the US foods and drugs administration have approved tirzepatide under brand name Zepbound for weight loss. The TGA is yet to determine their approval of Mounjaro for weight loss purposes.

The Cost of Mounjaro

Mounjaro is not yet covered on the pharmaceuticals benefits scheme (PBS). It is a weekly dose, and at this stage the vials come in once off dose vials which can cost $80-$90 a week for the lowest strength, and up to $170 a week for the higher strength. However despite the cost being reasonably high, patients are still purchasing it due to the promise of steady weight loss. 

The alternatives to Mounjaro?

As Mounjaro availability in Australia is still under review, there are other options which can be considered in the meantime. Ozempic is a well known medication for type 2 diabetes which also helps in weight loss. Wegovy and Saxenda are good weight loss medication alternatives if the condition being treated is merely weight management. It is important to have a detailed discussion with a healthcare professional to determine the right course of action. 

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Mounjaro | Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

Type 2 Diabetes Treatment to Lower A1C | Mounjaro® (tirzepatide)