New Diabetes Drug Shows Promise for Weight Loss in Obese Individuals
A new drug called tirzepatide, which is currently used to treat Type 2 diabetes, has shown promising results in aiding weight loss in obese and overweight individuals with diabetes. Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of the drug, reported that in a late-stage trial involving over 900 participants, tirzepatide helped people lose up to 16% of their starting weight over roughly 17 months, an average of 34 pounds. More than 80% of people taking tirzepatide lost at least 5% of their body weight compared to about 30% of those taking a placebo. In a previous phase 3 study conducted this year, Lilly demonstrated that individuals who were overweight or obese, but did not have diabetes, experienced a reduction in up to 22.5% of their body weight while being administered tirzepatide.
Tirzepatide is part of a family of medications called GLP-1 agonists, which mimic a hormone released when we eat food. In addition to boosting insulin production, they curtail liver's sugar production, suppress hunger, and decelerate the digestive system. Two other GLP-1 agonists, Ozempic and Wegovy, from Novo Nordisk, are also in high demand in the US because of their weight loss effects.
The trial evaluated 938 adult participants with obesity and type 2 diabetes, who received a weekly injection of tirzepatide or a placebo for 72 weeks, with two doses of tirzepatide studied: a 10-milligram dose and a 15 mg dose. All participants in the tirzepatide treatment arms started the study at a dose of tirzepatide 2.5 mg once-weekly and then increased the dose in a stepwise approach at four-week intervals to their final randomized maintenance dose of 10 mg or 15 mg. The results showed that those taking the highest dose achieved weight reductions of 15.7% on average of their body weight, losing up to 34.4 lbs (15.6 kg); while those taking 10 mg dose lost up to 13.4%, or 29.8 lbs (13.5 kg).
The drug, tirzepatide, is being submitted for FDA approval as a weight loss medication, and Eli Lilly expects an update to the process in late 2023, according to a press release.
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1. “People with diabetes lost up to 34 pounds taking Eli Lilly drug, company says” NBC News, 27 Apr. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/people-diabetes-lost-34-pounds-taking-eli-lilly-drug-company-says-rcna81577
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