What to Expect with Mounjaro Guide
As you begin your Mounjaro medication, we wanted to share some useful information on what to expect when starting.
How the medication works
GLP-1/combined GLP-1 medications are powerful, naturally-occurring hormones in your body that send signals to your brain to improve your metabolic function and regulate your appetite and digestion. The GLP-1s/combined-GLP-1s that Calibrate doctors prescribe work on the same receptors as the natural GLP-1/GIP hormones.
The GLP-1s/combined-GLP-1s you’ll be taking through Calibrate will help your body to fight the natural increases in appetite and hunger that occur as you begin to lose weight. GLP-1s/combined-GLP-1s are different from older classes of weight loss medications (like phentermine) because they work on key underlying metabolic pathways to support sustained weight loss, not a quick fix.
How to take it
We prescribe injectables because clinical studies show they’re more effective than pills for weight loss. You’ll administer Mounjaro yourself through an injection pen in your thigh, abdomen, or upper arm.
While this may sound scary, most members actually report it being painless, quick, and easy. This is because the needle is extremely tiny—significantly smaller than those used for shots at the doctor’s office—and because you’re injecting directly under the skin instead of into muscle, which is also different from the shots you’re probably used to. Always replace your needle each time the pen is used. For further information on how to replace needles, please watch the instructions for administering Mounjaro.
As for high-level things to keep in mind, you can take the medication with or without food and at any time during the day. Also, store your pen in the fridge until you’re ready to break the seal. Once opened, it lasts 21 days at room temperature.
There are 6 doses for Mounjaro: 2.5 mg, 5.0 mg, 7.5 mg, 10.0 mg, 12.5 mg, and the maximum dose is 15 mg weekly.
Mounjaro comes in six different pen formulations, and each dose is labeled with a different color.
What to expect
1st pen (gray label): 4 doses at 2.5 mg (weeks 1-4)
2nd pen (purple label): 4 doses at 5 mg (weeks 5-8)
3rd pen (green label): 4 doses at 7.5 mg (weeks 9-12)
4th pen (pink label): 4 doses at 10 mg (weeks 13-16)
To help minimize side effects, you’ll start at the lowest dose — that’s 2.5 mg weekly. After four weeks, increase to 5 mg weekly. You will increase your dose every four weeks after that until you reach the 10 mg dose.
After reaching the 10 mg dose, the Calibrate Medical Team will determine if an increase to a higher dose is recommended. If a higher dose is recommended, the dose increase schedule continues as noted below:
5th pen (blue label): 4 doses at 12.5 mg for 4 weeks
6th pen (orange label): 4 doses at 15 mg and continue this dose
To show you exactly how to use the pen and perform your injections, read this page and watch this video. The step-by-step instructions have been compiled by the makers of Mounjaro, the medication you will be taking. If you have any further questions about how to take your medication, send a message to your Calibrate Medical Team through the Calibrate app and they’ll walk you through the process.
If you experience intolerable side effects after a dose increase, contact your Calibrate Medical Team via the Support Center in the app to discuss possibly going back to your previous dose. With our guidance you’ll most likely stay on the lower dose for a couple of extra weeks before you increase the dose again.
The most common side effects include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort. The good news is that they typically go away within three weeks, so try to stick with it. In case of an emergency (such as severe abdominal pain, which is very uncommon) please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you were to have a medical emergency, when you are able to do so please also notify your Calibrate Medical Team via the Support Center in the app.
How do GLP-1 / GIP medications like Mounjaro work?
GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) are both incretin hormones. Incretin hormones are secreted by the gut and help to regulate insulin and glucose levels in the body leading to improvements in metabolic health and weight loss. Incretin hormones also address biology in a way that helps lower your weight set point.
The combined effect of GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonists leads to more weight loss than seen with GLP-1 receptor agonists alone.
Why use an injectable?
Injectable GLP-1s/combined GLP-1s are preferred since they’ve been around for years and their use is supported by many clinical trials. They are more effective than oral GLP-1s for weight loss in clinical studies. An injectable also offers a lot of flexibility, as it can be done with or without food at any time of day.
Is it painful?
While an injectable may seem scary or sound painful, it’s actually easy to use, and your Calibrate Medical Team will walk you through all the steps. Most patients report after starting that it’s easier than taking a pill and doesn’t hurt. The needle is extremely small and hidden in the pen so you can barely see it when injecting.
How do I inject?
Mounjaro comes in a single-use pen that’s simple to use. You dial up to the dose and inject it under the skin in your stomach, thigh, or abdomen. We recommend changing the site each week to minimize the potential of a skin reaction. The videos below will walk you through injecting Mounjaro step-by-step. We’re also happy to answer any questions you have if needed. Message your Calibrate Medical Team through the Calibrate app with any questions.
- Mounjaro instructions: https://www.mounjaro.com/how-to-use-mounjaro
What are common side effects?
Many individuals don’t have any side effects with this medication. However, for those who do, nausea is the most common. Usually nausea resolves after a few weeks as your body adapts to medication, but we encourage you to reach out to the Medical Team to discuss dosage modifications and for side effect management. Do not increase the dose faster than recommended, since the dosing schedule was designed to minimize side effects. Things that help reduce nausea are eating blander foods, eating smaller portions, and staying active.
You may also have changes in bowel movements (constipation being the most common). If this happens, you can take a fiber supplement (such as Metamucil or Benefiber) or increase your intake of vegetables and fruits.
If you’re worried about any side effects, you can also always message the Medical Team in the Calibrate app.
Will I develop any redness around the injection site?
Redness around the injection site is common and will go away. We recommend rotating the injection site and once you remove the gray base cap, do not put it back on as it may damage the needle. If you choose to inject in the same area (e.g. abdomen), always use a different spot. If the area becomes painful and/or swollen, let us know right away by messaging your Calibrate Medical Team via the Support Center in the Calibrate app.
What if I forgot to take it on the day I’m supposed to or I want to change the day I inject?
If you miss a dose of Mounjaro, take the missed dose as soon as possible, within 4 days after the missed dose. If more than 4 days have passed, skip the missed dose and take it again on your regularly scheduled day.
The day of weekly administration can be changed if necessary, as long as the time between the two doses is at least 3 days (72 hours).
If you experience a lapse in Mounjaro for more than 2 weeks, please send the medical team a message for guidance on restarting your medication as dosage adjustments might be needed.
Where do I store the pens?
Keep your Mounjaro pen in the refrigerator.
- Make sure the temperature is between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C).
- Store the pens in the original packaging to protect your pen from light.
- Do not freeze the Mounjaro pens.
- If you are going on a trip, Mounjaro can last unrefrigerated for up to 21 days. Just make sure the temperature does not get any higher than 86°F (30°C). Keep your pen in its original carton to protect your pen from light.
What do I do with the needles after the pen is used up?
You can place the entire pen in any large empty container (e.g., detergent, milk, or water container) and drop it off at the pharmacy when full.
How do I travel with the medication?
You can travel with unopened pens in your suitcase. Put them in the refrigerator when you get to your destination. We can provide you with a letter to enable flying with needles in your carry-on luggage (if needed). See the Tracking, Medications, and More for Travel guide for more information on traveling while doing Calibrate.
How long does it take for the medication to work?
It usually takes a couple of weeks of titrating up on the medication before you start losing weight, but you may notice that you feel fuller longer within the first week.
Is there a risk for developing thyroid cancer?
We do not recommend Mounjaro if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or MEN syndrome. But for everyone else, there are no human studies that show an increased risk of thyroid cancer.