Zepbound is a prescription medication approved in 2023 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for chronic weight management. 

Can Zepbound help you lose weight? And how effective is the medication for weight loss? This article will explain everything you need to know about Zepbound and weight loss.

Feet on a scale with a tape measure lying in front

Key Points

  • Zepbound, a GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist, has been FDA-approved for chronic weight management in adults who are obese or overweight. This medication, containing the active ingredient tirzepatide, is administered through weekly injections.
  • Clinical trials have demonstrated Zepbound’s effectiveness in weight loss, with study participants losing an average of 25 percent of their body weight. The trials also showed significant improvements in blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
  • The mechanism of Zepbound involves reducing appetite, regulating blood sugar, slowing stomach emptying, and reducing glucose production by the liver. This is achieved through mimicking the actions of both GLP-1 and GIP hormones in the body, which are naturally involved in appetite suppression and blood sugar regulation.
  • Effectiveness varies among individuals, with factors such as diet, physical activity, and adherence to the medication affecting outcomes. While some people may experience significant weight loss, others may see smaller results. Zepbound’s weight-loss effectiveness is enhanced when combined with lifestyle modifications.
  • Zepbound should not be used by people with certain medical conditions, those under 18, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those allergic to its components. It’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider before starting Zepbound.

What is Zepbound? 

Zepbound (tirzepatide) is a weekly injectable treatment designed for long-term weight management.

Belonging to the class of medications known as dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, it mimics two of the body’s natural hormones that control hunger and blood glucose regulation.

Zepbound is approved for people ages 18 and above who are dealing with obesity (body-mass index [BMI], a measure of weight relative to height, of 30 or more) or who are overweight (BMI of 27 or more) and also have at least one weight-related health issue, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, or heart disease.

How does Zepbound work? 

Zepbound works in a few different ways. The GLP-1 hormone helps to slow stomach emptying and increase feelings of fullness, contributing to reduced calorie consumption. It also improves insulin sensitivity and helps to lower levels of the hormone glucagon, which in turn reduces glucose production by the liver.

Similarly, the GIP hormone helps regulate blood sugar levels, which can also reduce food cravings and lower appetite. 

In studies, it has been shown to help people lose weight and improve blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. 

Read more in: Everything You Need to Know About Zepbound.

Can Zepbound help you lose weight?

Yes, Zepbound has been shown to be an effective medication for weight loss. 

In the SURMOUNT-4 clinical trial, participants who completed the first 36 weeks of the study experienced an average weight loss of 20.9 percent. Overall, 89.5 percent of study participants receiving Zepbound at 88 weeks maintained at least 80 percent of their initial weight loss, compared to 16.6 percent receiving the placebo (inactive treatment). 

From week 36 to week 88, participants continuing on Zepbound experienced an additional average weight loss of 5.5 percent, while those switched to placebo saw an average weight regain of 14 percent.

The overall weight loss from the start of the study to week 88 was 25.3 percent for those taking Zepbound, versus 9.9 percent for those taking the placebo.

How much weight will you lose taking Zepbound?

There is no definitive amount of weight that you will lose if you start taking Zepbound. As with all medications, effectiveness will vary by the person and depend on health history, health goals, lifestyle, and medication adherence. 

That said, Zepbound has shown effectiveness in leading to significant weight loss. Participants in the SURMOUNT-4 clinical trial experienced an average weight loss of 20.9 percent during the starting 36-week period, and those continuing with Zepbound for an additional 52 weeks saw further weight reduction, averaging a total of 25.3 percent from the beginning of the study. 

In another trial, the SURMOUNT-3 study, participants who had already achieved weight loss through a 12-week intensive lifestyle intervention and then started on Zepbound experienced an additional average weight loss of 18.4 percent over 72 weeks. 

This contributed to a total average weight reduction of around 26.7 percent from the start of the lifestyle intervention to the end of the Zepbound treatment. 

Zepbound is most effective when it is used in combination with lifestyle changes including a balanced diet and regular physical activity. 

Who should not take this medication?

Zepbound is a prescription medication intended for specific use under medical guidance. 

It is not suitable for people under 18, pregnant or breastfeeding women, those with certain genetic conditions, or anyone allergic to its active ingredient, tirzepatide, among others. 

For more information on others who should not take Zepbound, read: Everything You Need to Know About Zepbound.

How much do you take for weight loss?

The dosage of Zepbound for weight loss is tailored to each person, starting at a lower dose and gradually increasing based on your body’s response and tolerability. 

Most people start treatment with an initial dose of 2.5 milligrams [mg], which is gradually increased over time to find the best maintenance dose that provides effective weight loss while minimizing potential side effects.

Find out about potential side effects in: Zepbound Side Effects.

Your healthcare provider will closely monitor your progress and adjust your dose as needed, considering factors such as weight loss efficacy, side effects, and overall health.

To learn more about Zepbound dosing, read: Everything You Need to Know About Zepbound.

How long does it take to lose weight on Zepbound?

Weight loss with Zepbound is a gradual process, influenced by various factors including diet, exercise, and metabolic differences between people. How quickly you lose weight will depend on the mix of these factors.

In clinical trials, participants began to see weight loss early in the treatment process, with significant reductions becoming more apparent over time.

As noted previously, in the SURMOUNT-4 trial, participants experienced an average weight loss of approximately 20.9 percent after 36 weeks of treatment.

It’s important to note that individual results can vary, and continued weight loss over time typically requires sticking to prescribed treatment and lifestyle modifications.

Why am I not losing weight on Zepbound?

Weight loss is a complicated process, and there is unfortunately no universal solution. While many people see significant benefits from Zepbound, others may not experience the desired effects.

This could be due to a variety of factors, including differences in age, starting weight, lifestyle habits, existing health conditions, interactions with other medicines, and how consistently the medicine is taken. 

Research suggests that the long-term use of GLP-1 receptor agonist medicines, such as Zepbound, often sees a decrease in adherence over time, with about half of users discontinuing use around the one-year mark, possibly due to costs or side effects.

If you’re taking Zepbound and not seeing the expected weight loss, speak with your provider. They may be able to suggest strategies or alternative medicines that could work better for you.

Learn more about one alternative in Wegovy vs. Zepbound: How Do They Compare?

Is Ozempic or Zepbound better for weight loss?

Both Ozempic and Zepbound can contribute to weight loss, but they are approved for different uses. Ozempic is approved for managing type 2 diabetes, while Zepbound is specifically approved for weight management.

Zepbound, which mimics two hormones (GLP-1 and GIP), tends to be more effective for weight loss on average than Ozempic, which mimics the GLP-1 hormone. 

Clinical trials have shown that participants taking Zepbound experienced an average weight loss ranging from 15 to 21 percent, whereas those on Ozempic observed an average weight loss of up to 14.9 percent.

It’s important to consult with your medical team to determine what treatment approach is most suitable for your weight-loss goals.

Read more about Ozempic in: Everything You Need to Know About Ozempic.

What is the strongest weight-loss prescription pill?

There are many options available, but GLP-1 medications are considered to be the most effective weight-loss medications available, on average.

These include Saxenda (liraglutide), Wegovy, and Zepbound.

Unique among this group, Zepbound has a dual mechanism of action, mimicking both GLP-1 and GIP hormones for its weight-loss effects.

Learn more in Everything You Need to Know About Zepbound. Did you find this article helpful? Click Yes or No below to let us know!