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GLP-1s

Is tirzepatide available on the NHS?

Robbie Puddick
Written by

Robbie Puddick

Medically reviewed by

Fiona Moncrieff

5 min read
Last updated June 2024
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Jump to: What is tirzepatide? | How do you qualify for a tirzepatide prescription? | How much does tirzepatide cost? | Can I get tirzepatide if I don’t have diabetes? | Can I get tirzepatide over the counter? | Does tirzepatide have side effects?

If you’re living with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes or obesity, you should be able to get tirzepatide on the NHS in 2024 if you meet their eligibility criteria and are part of what’s called a ‘specialist weight-management programme’.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) announced on Friday, 8th September, that tirzepatide had been approved for treating individuals living with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes. It was also approved for weight loss in the UK in November 2023.

Tirzepatide is sold under the brand name Mounjaro and manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

You can currently buy Mounjaro as part of Second Nature’s Mounjaro weight-loss programme. The programme starts from £229 per month and we have all Mounjaro doses in stock, although it’s worth noting there are strict eligibility criteria.

To understand if our Mounjaro programme is right for you, then you can take our health quiz to learn more.

Check my eligibility

What is tirzepatide?

Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is a dual-function medication for individuals living with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Tirzepatide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist and a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) mimetic.

When we eat food, our gut releases a hormone that helps the body regulate hunger and blood sugar levels. This hormone is called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1).

The actions of GLP-1 are the target of Mounjaro and other medications like Wegovy, Saxenda, and Ozempic.

This class of medications are known as GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1s). They mimic the actions of the hormone GLP-1.

GLP-1s improve insulin function to lower blood sugar levels and delay gastric emptying, decreasing appetite. GLP-1s also communicate with the brain’s appetite control centre, the hypothalamus, to reduce food-seeking behaviour.

Additionally, GIP is a hormone released in response to food that helps regulate blood sugar levels and helps our fat cells ‘absorb’ more excess energy, preventing fat from being stored in the liver or pancreas.

GIP also has receptors in the brain, similar to GLP-1, and scientists believe it’s also involved in regulating appetite.

The medications that mimic GIP are known as GIP mimetics. These additional actions are the target of Mounjaro.

So, tirzepatide has a dual function that mimics two hormones in the body that support blood glucose levels and weight loss.

How do you qualify for a tirzepatide prescription?

To receive a tirzepatide prescription via the NHS in the UK, here are the eligibility criteria confirmed by NICE:

  • Triple therapy with metformin and 2 other oral antidiabetic drugs is ineffective, not tolerated or contraindicated, and
  • they have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 kg/m2 or more and specific psychological or other medical problems associated with obesity,
  • or they have a BMI of less than 35 kg/m2, and:
    • insulin therapy would have significant occupational implications, or
    • weight loss would benefit other significant obesity-related complications.

Lower BMI thresholds (usually reduced by 2.5 kg/m2) apply for people from South Asian, Chinese, other Asian, Middle Eastern, Black African or African-Caribbean family backgrounds.

How much does tirzepatide cost?

To purchase a prescription for tirzepatide via the NHS in England, you’ll only need to pay the base fee for a prescription of £9.95.

Tirzepatide starts from £229 a month from Second Nature as part of our Mounjaro weight-loss programme.

Can I get tirzepatide if I don’t have diabetes?

You can get tirzepatide if you’re living with obesity and meet other strict eligibility criteria from the provider of the medication.

Second Nature launched its Mounjaro weight-loss programme in February 2024.

Can I get Mounjaro over the counter?

Mounjaro will not be available over the counter in the UK; it will only be available via prescription.

Does tirzepatide have side effects?

All medications have potential side effects, and tirzepatide is no different. The most common side effects of Mounjaro (tirzepatide) are nausea, constipation, vomiting, and other symptoms affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, like diarrhoea.

You might also experience less common side effects like tiredness or headaches.

These symptoms most commonly occur around the time of the injection, during dose escalation, and are typically transient and will ease after you’ve adapted to the medication.

However, everyone responds differently to these medications; some people won’t experience any side effects, while others will have to discontinue their medication due to the discomfort the side effects cause.

Not a magic pill

Weight-loss injections are designed as additional tools for healthy lifestyle change and shouldn’t be considered as lifelong medications.

Instead, they should be used to help you kickstart your weight-loss journey whilst you focus on building new, healthy habits.

Consider the use of antidepressants for people living with depression. They’re not designed to cure the condition. Instead, they’re designed to allow room for therapy to treat the condition’s underlying cause.

Tirzeptaide (Mounjaro) is similar. It can help silence food-related thoughts and also give you a boost of confidence with more immediate weight-loss results.

This helps to buy you the time and headspace to understand why your body may have struggled to lose weight previously, and to build new long-term healthy habits.

The core focus of our Mounjaro programme is to calm down the feeling of food noise, lower your cravings, and to allow you to build healthier habits to keep the weight off for good.

The ultimate goal is to make losing weight feel second nature.

Second Nature’s medication-supported programmes

Second Nature has two medication-supported programmes: a Wegovy weight-loss programme and a Mounjaro weight-loss programme.

If you’ve made the decision to try Wegovy or Mounjaro (assuming you’re eligible), why should you choose Second Nature over other medication providers?

For peace of mind.

Second Nature has worked with the NHS for over 6 years providing weight-loss programmes across the UK.

Whilst our Wegovy and Mounjaro weight-loss programmes are private and not currently used by the NHS, we’ve built the programmes with a focus on scientific evidence, patient safety, and data security.

We hope that our 6+ years of working with the NHS and building a track record of effective weight-loss results will give you peace of mind to give us a try.

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