Mounjaro is a new injectable weight loss treatment that is also used to treat type 2 diabetes. Here we discuss Mounjaro and how it might interact with alcohol. We also give advice on alcohol use with Mounjaro and how to cut-down your alcohol use safely.

What is Mounjaro?

Mounjaro is a new weight loss drug made by Eli Lilly. Like many similar medications, Mounjaro is also a diabetes medication used to control blood sugar levels. Like Wegovy and Ozempic, Mounjaro comes as a weekly injection pen. 

Mounjaro works for weight loss by slowing down the movements of your digestive system. This helps to keep food in your stomach for longer, so you feel full more quickly and your fullness (satiety) lasts for longer. Combined with diet and exercise, this can make it easier to lose weight.

Mounjaro has received MHRA and FDA approval for use in weight loss after clinical trials. However, it has not yet been made available on the NHS to help people control their body weight. With this in mind, if you want to be prescribed Mounjaro, UK patients should approach private healthcare providers to see if it is a suitable treatment for them.

As of February 2024, Mounjaro is available privately for weight loss treatment. If you would like to receive Mounjaro from Simple Online Pharmacy, you can begin an assessment to find out if it is a suitable treatment for you.

Mounjaro Side Effects and Risks

Like all medications, Mounjaro does carry risks. You will find a full list of side effects in the patient information leaflet that accompanies the treatment. Common side effects are related to the digestive system and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation. It is also increases your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which is one of the key benefits for people with type 2 diabetes.

Mounjaro is not suitable for everyone. It should only be taken by people with a BMI of 30 or more, or people with a BMI of 27 or more if they have a weight-related medication condition. Additionally, studies on animals identified that Mounjaro may increase the risk of thyroid tumours called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC).

The risk of this in humans is not currently understood, so it is important that you avoid Mounjaro if you may be at an increased risk of MTC, especially if you or a family member has ever had MTC or a hormonal condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

Mounjaro and Alcohol

What Happens if you Drink Alcohol on Mounjaro?

Currently, we do not have much data about the effects of combining alcohol and Mounjaro. However, we do have evidence about similar drugs, such as Wegovy, which are likely to produce the same effects as Mounjaro when mixed with alcohol. With this in mind, it is recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol while taking Mounjaro. Alcohol may increase the side effects and reduce the overall effectiveness of Mounjaro.

Common side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea are also features of alcohol consumption and so are likely to be made worse by taking Mounjaro and alcohol together. If you are treating type 2 diabetes with Mounjaro, you may also increase the risk of hypoglycaemia if you take it with alcohol.

Mounjaro can also increase the effects of alcohol on your body, so you may be intoxicated much more quickly than usual. This is especially important if you intend to drive, as you may become a risk to yourself or others. Do not drive if you have had alcohol with Mounjaro, as your driving abilities may be impaired.

You should also be aware that alcohol can also contribute to weight gain. Alcohol is very high in calories and it can also increase your appetite. In this way, alcohol may counteract the benefits of Mounjaro and disrupt your weight loss journey.

Can I Drink Alcohol with Mounjaro?

Whilst it is recommended that you avoid alcohol when taking Mounjaro, for the reasons mentioned above, research on a similar drug called Wegovy does suggest that you may be able to drink a moderate amount of alcohol without experiencing significant adverse effects. This does not apply if you have poor diabetic control.

If you intend to drink alcohol on Wegovy, you should limit yourself to one drink for women and a maximum of two for men each day. It is best to avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach as you may experience the effects more quickly. Be aware that Mounjaro and alcohol may impair your ability to drive, so you should not drink and drive even if you believe you would be below the alcohol limits.

Reducing Alcohol on Mounjaro

Interestingly, recent studies suggest that tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Mounjaro, may actually help people to reduce their alcohol intake. It seems to work by reducing alcohol cravings and the desire to drink alcohol. With this in mind, you may find that Mounjaro helps you to cut-down on your alcohol use. If a significant proportion of your calorie intake comes from alcohol, this may have an even greater impact on your weight loss.

If you would like to cut down on your alcohol intake, please discuss this with your doctor. Suddenly stopping alcohol after a period of high levels of alcohol consumption can be dangerous, so professional help is recommended.

Getting Help With Drinking

Alcohol Dependence

It is estimated that there are over 600,000 people dependent on alcohol in England alone and just 18% of them are receiving treatment. The social acceptance of heavy drinking may mean that many people do not realise that they are addicted to alcohol until it starts having a significant impact on their day to day life.

To reduce the risk to your health, guidelines recommend that you should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week, spread across at least three days. 14 units of alcohol is approximately one and a half bottles of wine, or 6 medium glasses of wine, or 6 pints of 4% beer.

Exceeding 14 units of alcohol per week does not mean that you are alcohol dependent, but it does mean that alcohol may pose a bigger risk to your health. In fact, it is possible to be alcohol dependent even if you are not a heavy drinker. Unfortunately, like many addictions, alcohol dependence is likely to escalate, which may have a significant impact upon your life.

If you find it hard to relax or to enjoy yourself without drinking alcohol, you may be alcohol dependent. Thinking about the following questions, may help you to understand more about your alcohol use and if this crosses the line into alcohol dependence:

  • Do you often feel a need to drink alcohol?
  • Do you find it difficult to stop drinking once you start?
  • Has your alcohol use got you into trouble or caused you injury?
  • Is your drinking causing you problems?
  • Have people warned you or shown concern about how much alcohol you drink?

You may also find it helpful to complete the Drinking Check from DrinkAware to assess the risk from your drinking.

If you are concerned about your drinking, your GP may be the best place to start. They will be able to help you explore your alcohol use and put you in touch with local services who can help. You may also want to explore online resources and support groups. AlcoholChangeUK and DrinkAware offer lots of advice and support.

Alcoholics Anonymous run local support networks using the 12-step programme, which many people find helpful. Lastly, Al-Anon is a support group for people who are affected by someone else’s drinking and can be particularly useful for family members of people who are dependent on alcohol.

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Conclusion

Mounjaro weight loss injections work best when they are not combined with alcohol. Alcohol is likely to increase the risk of side effects and to reduce the effectiveness of Mounjaro. For this reason, it is recommended that you avoid alcohol when taking Mounjaro.

If you must drink whilst taking Mounjaro, you should limit yourself to one alcoholic drink per day for women, or two for men and you must be mindful that Mounjaro may increase your sensitivity to alcohol causing you to feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than usual.

Some people do find alcohol very difficult to cut-down. If you think this may apply to you, you should speak to your GP for further advice. There are many different resources available to support you as you reduce your alcohol intake. Suddenly stopping drinking after drinking high levels of alcohol can be dangerous, so you should speak to a medical professional for advice beforehand.