The Allure of Tirzepatide, Continued

In their generic form, pharmaceuticals go by science-oriented names that start with lower-case letters, like tirzepatide. Being a commercially marketed product, Mounjaro starts with a capital letter, and there is no other tirzepatide on the market, so at this point in time, they might as well be synonyms. Mounjaro was approved for the treatment of diabetes only a year ago, in May of 2022, but that wasn’t the big news.

Required and routine human testing had made it clear that tirzepatide might turn out to be the most spectacularly effective weight-loss drug ever, and it appears to be on the verge of approval for that purpose. Eli Lilly’s diabetes medication plant in North Carolina is going to end up costing close to two billion dollars, so obviously the corporation is optimistic about both the need and the demand for its products.

Other important names in this realm are the semaglutide weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, which only imitate one natural hormone, whereas tirzepatide imitates that one, plus an additional hormone with which it works synergistically.

Say what?

Tirzepatide was described by a writer as psychoactive, a term that might not be recognized as problematic by someone for whom English is not their first language. In the U.S. (colloquially, at any rate), we tend to reserve that term for LSD, mescaline, and other substances of the hallucinatory and mind-bending variety. Nevertheless, tirzepatide does have effects other than somatic on some people. Also, some weight-loss pills allegedly contain plant-based stimulants to help with the hunger-reduction and energy-increase aspects of their action.

An intriguing line on a website from India says,

The bulk of Eli Lilly’s (Tirzepatide) Weight Loss Drugs include stimulants like Garcinia Cambogia in their formulations. They reduce hunger while also speeding up metabolism and boosting energy levels.

The author did not offer a source, and the article was admittedly “sponsored,” so could have been written by an enemy of Lilly. Also, it was not possible to chase down any more references to that assertion, so who knows? On the other hand, such things apparently do happen. It was possible to find a paper titled “Nine prohibited stimulants found in sports and weight loss supplements: deterenol, phenpromethamine (Vonedrine), oxilofrine, octodrine, beta-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA), 1,3-dimethylamylamine (1,3-DMAA), 1,4-dimethylamylamine (1,4-DMAA), 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (1,3-DMBA) and higenamine”

Still, the damage could be done

Irresponsible use of just about anything could hurt people. Unsupervised use of tirzepatide, for instance, if it becomes available without a prescription, could dangerously lower a person’s blood sugar leading to irritability, confusion, anxiety and/or and mood instability. Writing for The New York Times, journalist Dani Blum notes,

But it’s not yet clear what the long-term effects of taking Mounjaro might be — a pressing issue, given that people need to keep taking the drug for continued results, said Akshaya Srikanth Bhagavathula, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas who has studied tirzepatide.

This vast unexplored area is particularly worrisome if eventually the medication is sold over the counter (without a prescription). For instance, little is known about how tirzepatide affects people who have neither diabetes nor obesity. We don’t know what it does in people who just want to shed 20 pounds of winter weight and get back their beach bodies. The risk of malnourishment and disordered eating calls for close medical supervision — something that is unlikely to happen in all cases.

Another thing: It is seriously recommended that weight-loss drugs not be combined with alcohol, but let’s face it: In the Venn diagram of people who would self-medicate with them in order to look good at the club on Saturday night, and of people who drink alcohol, there is a sizeable overlap.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The Diabetes Drug That Could Overshadow Ozempic,”, 04/11/23
Source: “Newly Approved Diabetes Drug Has Record-Breaking Weight Loss Effect,”, 06/07/23
Source: “Eli Lilly Weight Loss: Top 5 Over The Counter Alternatives To Eli Lilly (Tirzepatide) Weight Loss Drug,”, 01/27/23
Source: “Nine prohibited stimulants,”, March 2021
Source: “Mounjaro,”, undated
Image by GovernmentZA/CC BY-ND 2.0

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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