With obesity levels continuing to rise on a worldwide scale, there is a huge demand for medications and supplements that can help. Although diet pills remain a popular option, in recent years, the pharmaceutical industry has developed several brands of weight loss injection.
At the moment, Wegovy is probably the most popular option on the market, but it’s certainly not the only key player. In addition to certain other injectable medications, such as Saxenda, that are also FDA-approved treatments for adults with excess weight, doctors often prescribe diabetes medications, such as Mounjaro, as “off-label” anti-obesity treatments.
Although there are already several options at doctors’ disposal, by the end of 2023, there’s going to be a new kid on the block. It’s called Zepbound and, since the FDA announced the medication’s approval, on November 8, 2023, a lot of people are wondering if Zepbound may be the game-changer many overweight and obese adults are hoping for.
But how good is Zepbound and will be both safe and effective? The FDA’s approval of Zepbound has generated a lot of questions about the latest brand of weight loss injection.
First of all we will tell you about some Zepbound alternatives available OTC, and then we will take a look at some of those Zepbound questions and also provide the answers.
Natural Zepbound Alternatives
Although Zepbound is effective at helping people lose weight, the high cost and potential for side effects has lead to natural alternatives becoming increasingly popular.
PHENQ – Multi Sex Weight Loss
PhenQ is often regarded as an effective natural alternative to prescribed weight loss injections like Zepbound. Here’s why:
1. Comprehensive Approach to Weight Loss: PhenQ adopts a multifaceted approach to weight loss. It not only boosts metabolism to help burn fat but also suppresses appetite and inhibits fat production. This all-round approach helps address weight loss from various angles, which can be more effective than targeting just one aspect of weight loss.
2. Formulated with Natural Ingredients: PhenQ is made from natural ingredients like capsicum extract, piperine, caffeine, and niacin. These ingredients are well-tolerated by many people and have fewer side effects compared to some of the pharmaceutical weight loss injections.
3. Easy to Use: Unlike injections, PhenQ is taken orally, making it easier and more convenient for daily use. There’s no need for a doctor’s appointment or dealing with needles, which can be a big plus for many people.
4. Accessibility: PhenQ is available over the counter, making it a more accessible option for many people. In contrast, weight loss injections like Zepbound require a doctor’s prescription and are typically reserved for individuals with a BMI of 27 or higher who also have weight-related health conditions, or for those with a BMI of 30 or higher.
LEANBEAN – For Women
1. Tailored for Women: One of the standout features of Leanbean is that it’s specifically formulated for women. It takes into account the unique physiological and hormonal differences that can affect weight loss in women, offering a targeted approach to fat burning.
2. Rich in Natural Ingredients: Leanbean is packed with a variety of natural ingredients such as konjac fibre, choline, chromium picolinate, vitamin B6 and B12, among others. These components are usually well-tolerated and are associated with fewer side effects compared to pharmaceutical weight loss injections.
3. Appetite Suppression: Leanbean contains a generous dose of glucomannan, a dietary fibre that expands in the stomach and promotes a feeling of fullness. This can help control cravings and reduce overall calorie intake, aiding in weight loss.
4. No Injections Required: Unlike Zepbound, Leanbean is an oral supplement. This makes it a more convenient and non-invasive alternative for those who are uncomfortable with injections.
5. Over-the-Counter Availability: Leanbean can be purchased without a prescription, making it more accessible for many individuals. On the other hand, weight loss injections usually require a doctor’s prescription and are often recommended for people with a higher BMI or weight-related health issues.
What Is Zepbound?
There is an old saying you may be familiar with – there is nothing new under the sun. That’s certainly the case with Zepbound. It’s actually Mounjaro hiding behind an alternative brand name.
Mounjaro is the original brand name for the drug Terzepatide. It was developed as a secondary treatment for type-2 diabetics seeking an effective way to keep their blood sugar levels under control.
Mounjaro has been an FDA-approved diabetes treatment since May 13, 2022. 
Like a lot of similar medications, one of the main side effects was loss of appetite so, doctors began prescribing it off-label to some of their patients who were very overweight or obese.
Mounjaro’s manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Company, was quick to take note of the medication’s potential for use in that role and sought FDA approval for Tirzepatide for weight loss. It took over a year but the approval has finally come through. 
That means the situation going forward is a little strange but not at all unusual. The same drug (Tirzepatide) is available under two different brand names but only one of them has approval for weight loss.
It’s a similar story with Wegogy. It provides the drug Semaglutide, which is FDA-approved for weight loss as Wegovy and for type 2 diabetes as Ozempic.
However, in the case of Wegovy, it provides the active ingredient in a slightly higher dose than Ozempic. With Zepbound and Mounjaro, even the doses are the same.
What Does Zepbound Do?
The drug Zepbound provides, Tirzepatide, falls into a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.
All the other popular weight loss injections, including Wegovy and Saxenda, belong to this class of drugs as well. They also have similar roots because they were originally developed as treatments for type 2 diabetes.
GLP-1 receptor agonists are synthetic versions of GLP-1, a gut hormone. When food enters the gut, it triggers the hormone’s manufacture.
GLP-1 acts on the pancreas, causing it to produce insulin and glucagon. The human body uses these hormones to control blood glucose levels.
Although GLP-1 receptor agonists were not primarily developed to function as appetite suppressants, they still have much value in this area.
Regardless of whether it’s a natural or a synthetic alternative when GLP-1 reaches the brain, it stimulates it in ways that reduce hunger.
GLP-1 also slows down gastric emptying. To put it another way, it causes the stomach to retain food longer before releasing it into the gut. By doing so, it extends the feeling of fullness that occurs after meals.
Tirzepatide differs from similar drugs, such as Ozempic, because it also has the ability to mimic glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP).
Although GIP does not share GLP-1’s other abilities, it can act on the hunger centers of the brain in ways that help reduce appetite.
Putting it in simple terms, Zepbound has a double-pronged approach to appetite suppression that alternative weight loss injections do not have.
How Does Zepbound Compare to Wegovy?
Clinical evidence suggests that, when it comes to supporting weight loss, Zepbound may have superior abilities.
The FDA approved Wegovy for weight loss based on the data from four 68-week clinical trials. Data from one of them showed people taking wegovy lost 6.2% of their initial body weight, compared to those receiving a placebo.
Data from one of the other clinical trials was doubly impressive. Compared to the placebo, the average body weight reduction was 12.4%. 
Zepbouund’s FDA approval for weight management is based on the data from two clinical trials. Both of them ran for 72 weeks.
Data from the smaller of the two clinical trials shows the study participants taking Zepbound lost 12% of their body weight, compared to the placebo group. If you ignore the fact that Zepbound clinical trials ran for a month longer than the ones evaluating Wegovy, that would put Zepbound and wegovy on an equal footing.
However, data from the larger clinical trial show people taking Zepbound lost 18% of their original body weight, compared to the placebo group.
Even with the slightly longer time frame, that’s still a big difference because it’s a 50% improvement on the best results obtained by people taking Wegovy. 
If Zepbound works as well in an uncontrolled environment, many overweight people who are given the choice may choose it over Wegovy.
The new medication may be more desirable for another reason as well – it’s cheaper.
The list price for Wegovy is $1,349.02 per month. Zepbound has a list price of $1,059.57 per month.
That’s still expensive and may place the new medication beyond the reach of people who do not have appropriate medical insurance. However, with the potential to provide better results and allow people to save around $300 per month, in this 2-horse race, Zepbound appears to be an easy winner.
How Do You Use Zepbound?
Zepbound comes in special pen-like injector devices that are quick and simple to use. Although there is a need for a little pre-injection preparation, when you press the end of the device against your skin, the injection process happens automatically and the needle remains hidden away out of sight.
So, although you may feel a slight pricking sensation, you won’t need to watch the needle enter the flesh or worry about inserting it a sufficient amount.
Zepbound devices are available in several strengths:
- 2.5 mg Tirzepatide
- 5 mg Tirzepatide
- 7.5 mg Tirzepatide
- 10 mg Tizepatide
- 12.5 mg Tirzepatide
- 15 mg Tirzepatide
New users begin with the lowest dose and, presuming the response is positive and there are no side effects, they gradually progress to the highest dose over the following months.
As with all prescription weight loss medications, Zepbound is intended to support the efforts its users are already making with diet and exercise.
Does Zepbound Have Any Side Effects or Safety Implications?
The FDA only approves weight loss medications if it considers the benefits they provide outweigh any potential risks.
However, all medications have side effects. Zepbound is no exception.
The most common side effects reported during clinical trials were changes in bowel movement, vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues.
Side effects of this nature are common to all medications that mimic the actions of GLP-1.
Unfortunately, GLP-1 receptor agonists may also have the potential to cause additional side effects, some of them dangerous. Drugs of this type have caused thyroid tumors in rats. Because of this, the FDA insists that they be distributed with a boxed warning that discloses the potential risks to the thyroid.
Research published in Diabetes Care confirms this type of drug carries an increased risk of thyroid cancer and medullary thyroid cancer. It also suggests the danger of this becomes particularly high after 1-3 years of treatment. 
In addition to disclosing the risks to the thyroid, the Zepbound medication guide also discloses several other potential risks including pancreatitis, kidney failure, and thoughts of suicide.
Zepbound also has the potential to interact badly with several medications. It may prevent birth control pills from working as well.
There can be no denying that Zepbound offers a lot of value as an anti-obesity treatment. However, it’s a medication that comes with a number of potential health risks many people are likely to find unacceptable.
The cost of using Zepbound for weight loss does not work in its favor either. When you are paying $1,000+ for four injections, the last thing you expect to have to worry about is dangerous side effects.
However, Zepbound is only available to people who are very overweight or obese. Many people who want to use Zepbound may find it unavailable to them anyway.
It’s also worth noting that Zepbound’s only value is as a hunger suppressant. Many over-the-counter diet pills that are safer to use have this ability too and most of them offer additional support in other areas such as fighting fatigue and providing thermogenic fat-burning benefits.
All things considered, when you take a long, hard look at the medication, in the cold light of day, it could be seen as leaving much to be desired on several fronts.
However, the same is true for all the other popular weight loss injections and sales continue to go from strength to strength.
So, despite the many negatives, Zepbound may still become one of the best-selling weight management medications in 2024.
1. FDA Approves Novel, Dual-Targeted Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-novel-dual-targeted-treatment-type-2-diabetes
2. FDA Approves New Medication for Chronic Weight Management: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-medication-chronic-weight-management
3. FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-drug-treatment-chronic-weight-management-first-2014
4. GLP-1 Receptor Agonists and the Risk of Thyroid Cancer: https://diabetesjournals.org/care/article-abstract/46/2/384/147888/GLP-1-Receptor-Agonists-and-the-Risk-of-Thyroid?redirectedFrom=fulltext