What is Tirzepatide?

Tirzepatide is a medication used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Tirzepatide targets both the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor and the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor, while semaglutide targets only the GLP-1 receptor. Both medications stimulate insulin secretion and reduce glucagon secretion, but tirzepatide may have additional benefits due to its action on the GIP receptor.

Here are some key pieces of information to provide a patient about tirzepatide:

Mechanism of action:

Tirzepatide works by targeting multiple receptors in the body, including the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor and the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor. This leads to increased insulin secretion and reduced glucagon secretion, which helps to lower blood sugar levels.


Tirzepatide is given by subcutaneous injection (injected under the skin) once a week. The injection should be given on the same day each week, and can be taken at any time of the day, with or without food.


The starting dose of tirzepatide is 5 mg once a week. The dose can be increased to 10 mg once a week after 4 to 6 weeks if blood sugar levels are not adequately controlled. The maximum recommended dose is 15 mg once a week.

Side Effects:

Common side effects of tirzepatide include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. These side effects may improve over time as the body adjusts to the medication. Rare but more serious side effects include pancreatitis, kidney damage, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Patients should seek medical attention immediately if they experience severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, or signs of low blood sugar, such as dizziness or confusion.


Tirzepatide is not recommended for patients with a history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (a type of thyroid cancer) or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (a genetic disorder that increases the risk of thyroid cancer). Patients with a history of pancreatitis or diabetic retinopathy should also use tirzepatide with caution. Patients should inform their healthcare provider of any other medical conditions, medications, or supplements they are taking before starting tirzepatide.

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