Tirzepatide vs. Semaglutide: A Close Comparison of Two Popular Medications in the World of Weight Loss

You’ve tried the diets.

You’ve tried the “magic pills”…the juice cleanses…the exercise plans… 

You’ve spent your entire life trying to lose weight, and nothing has worked. If anything, you’ve found yourself gaining weight. 

Weight loss journeys are hard. 

Scratch that - they are downright defeating. 

But they don’t have to be. 

There are methods and tools that can support you on a journey that yields real results, and two popular medications in the market, tirzepatide and semaglutide, have gained a great deal of attention for their effectiveness in promoting weight loss. 

So let’s jump to a discussion around this hot topic of conversation in the weight loss world - tirzepatide vs. semaglutide. 

What are they, what do they do, and how do they differ? Not only that, but is one more effective than the other? 

Tirzepatide vs. Semaglutide: How Do They Work?

Tirzepatide and Semeglutide are both GLP-1 receptor agonists, and Tirzepatide is what we call a dual agonist - combining the effects of both GLP-1 and GIP agonists.

Phew…that’s a mouthful to chew on, and what does any of it even mean? 

To put it simply, these medications work by slowing down digestion, reducing appetite, and increasing feelings of fullness - all leading to effective weight loss. 

But how does all of this work? 

Let’s start by breaking down the terms. 

An agonist is a drug that mimics the mechanisms of a natural hormone or neurotransmitter, occupies a specific receptor in the brain, and activates it. In other words, they act as the “green light” that puts certain body mechanisms into action. 

GLP-1 (Glucagon-like peptide-1) and GIP (Gastric inhibitory Peptide) are incretin hormones (gut hormones) that occur naturally in the body and aid to maintain healthy glucose levels. They stimulate insulin secretion through what’s called the incretin effect, a phenomenon essential for glucose tolerance. 

But in people with obesity, and more specifically Type 2 diabetes, the incretin effect is greatly diminished, or can ultimately stop working altogether. 

So what are the roles of GLP-1 receptor agonists and GIP agonists (semaglutide and tirzepatide)? 

They are incretin mimetics - meaning they imitate the effects of the gut hormones responsible for what results in lower blood sugar levels and increased satiety, kick starting the incretin effect, and leading to weight loss. 

Tirzepatide vs. Semaglutide: How Effective Are They? 

Let’s take a peek at the clinical trials. 

In a 2002 study on the once weekly injection of tirzepatide, a phase 3 trial found up to 20% reduction in body weight in participants over 72 weeks. 

Another study on the once weekly injection of semaglutide resulted in half of participants losing 15% of their initial body weight, and one third of the participants losing up to 20%.

To put this in perspective, a 5% reduction in weight is the threshold for what’s considered “clinically meaningful” as it relates to creating positive change in metabolic health measures. 

The weight loss seen in these studies is up to 15% more than what’s considered to be meaningful weight loss for better overall health. 

That’s huge! 

Along with weight reduction, these studies also found great improvement with cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, including blood pressure, lipid levels, and overall body composition.

In terms of weight loss efficacy, both tirzepatide and semaglutide have demonstrated impressive results in clinical trials.

But is there one that outperforms the other?

In a head-to-head trial, findings did suggest that tirzepatide may be more effective in achieving significant weight loss compared to semaglutide. 

As we mentioned before, tirzepatide has a unique dual agonist action, targeting both the GLP-1 and GIP receptors. By activating both receptor pathways, tirzepatide offers the potential for enhanced weight loss compared to semaglutide alone.

What’s more - another study compared the effects of tirzepatide and semaglutide in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The results showed that tirzepatide led to greater reductions in HbA1c levels and body weight as compared to semaglutide. This suggests that tirzepatide may offer additional benefits beyond weight loss alone.

Tirzepatide and Semaglutide: What Are The Side Effects? 

While both tirzepatide and semaglutide are generally well-tolerated, it’s always important to be aware of potential side effects and considerations associated with any new medication.

The most common adverse effects are primarily gastrointestinal in nature, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, these side effects are typically mild and transient, subsiding as the body adjusts to the medication. Such side effects can be well managed with proper dose titration and lifestyle modifications. 

It’s also always important to remember that individual responses to these medications may vary, and a consultation with a healthcare professional is necessary to determine the treatment option unique to your needs. 

Expert Opinions On Tirzepatide vs. Semaglutide For Weight Loss

According to leading endocrinologists and obesity specialists, both tirzepatide and semaglutide have shown promising results in promoting weight loss.

“Semaglutide is a legitimately effective medication. It provides health-altering weight loss,” said  Dr. Christopher McGowan, a board-certified physician in internal medicine, gastroenterology, and obesity medicine.“It has an overall excellent safety profile and is generally well tolerated.” (5)

Jennifer Clements - Clinical Professor and Director of Pharmacy Education also weighed in with her expert opinion on both drugs during an interview with Pharmacy Times:

“We know with both semaglutide and tirzepatide, they are very beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes and obesity…we see larger and sustained weight loss that we have not seen before in clinical trials.” (6) 

While experts collectively agree that there are benefits to semaglutide and tirzepatide, they also caution that people be aware of the misinformation and false claims out there. 

One of the biggest concerns is that people assume it’s a quick fix to lose a few extra pounds. It’s creating this false narrative that it can be used a few times to achieve your goals, and then discontinued, but that’s not at all how it works or how it’s intended to be used. 

As with anything, a temporary fix will yield temporary results. 

The use of semaglutide and tirzepatide injections for weight loss in those with obesity and type 2 diabetes should be utilized alongside lifestyle changes that incorporate a healthy diet and exercise regimen. 

As leading experts would agree, these weight loss drugs are great tools. But taking them without addressing and changing your lifestyle is like trying to put up a house without a foundation.

It won’t hold.

This is why we recommend that you work alongside a healthcare professional, such as a functional practitioner, who can aid in the holistic approach to developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while taking these weight loss medications. 

Choosing Between Tirzepatide and Semaglutide - A Summary of Factors To Consider

So now that you know a bit more about these two popular weight loss medications, how do you discern which one is right for you? Here are a few of the top things to consider. 

  1. Weight loss goals 

Everyone’s weight loss journey is unique, and whether or not these weight loss medications are right for you is largely dependent on your individual goals. 

Ultimately, the choice between tirzepatide and semaglutide should be made alongside a healthcare provider who can assess your individual needs and recommend the most appropriate option. This is also important to help make sense of any potential side effects, and answer any and all questions you may have. 

Remember, weight loss medications are most effective when used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, and working with a functional practitioner is a great way to find this support. 

  1. Previous medication and health history 

When taking any new medications, it’s imperative that you consider factors such as your medical history, current medications, and overall health. 

At Biofuse, we have you fill out an intake form and our team carefully considers these factors, and whether or not you would be a proper candidate. 

  1. Cost and accessibility 

Cost and accessibility are important factors to consider when deciding on a new medication. 

In terms of access, both semaglutide and tirzepatide are approved by the FDA, but cost can certainly be a barrier. 

It's worth noting that the cost of these medications can vary depending on factors such as insurance coverage and dosage requirements.

At Biofuse Wellness, we offer 2 price points…

Although tirzepatide is more expensive, a 2023 study found it to provide better value for money in the long term than semaglutide for weight loss. 

Set Up A Consultation Today 

Curious if semaglutide or tirzepatide may be right for you? 

Give us a call, or stop in. 

At Biofuse, our medical professionals are dedicated to ensuring whether semaglutide or tirzepatide is right for you and your individual goals. 

Not only that - we’re dedicated to helping you achieve optimal wellness. 

Get started today. 


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551568/

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9992880/

  3. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.11.21.23298775v1

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9546430/#:~:text=Conclusions,%E2%80%90to%E2%80%90head%20clinical%20trial.

  5. https://www.insider.com/doctors-biggest-concerns-about-weight-loss-drug-semaglutide-ozempic-wegovy-2023-3

  6. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/expert-semaglutide-versus-tirzepatide-how-both-can-aid-type-2-diabetes-and-obesity

  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36507900/