When used in conjunction with a strict diet and regular exercise, the medication in the diabetes medication Mounjaro assists persons with obesity or who are overweight in losing at least a quarter of their body weight, or roughly 60 pounds on average.
In contrast, a group of patients who also exercised and followed a diet lost weight at first but later gained some, according to study published in the journal Nature Medicine on Sunday.
According to this study, which was directed by Dr. Thomas Wadden, a professor of psychology and an expert on obesity at the University of Pennsylvania, if you lose weight before taking the medication, you can add a lot more weight reduction thereafter.
The findings, which were also presented on Sunday at a medical conference, support the claim made by outside specialists that Eli Lilly & Co.’s medication has the potential to be among the most effective obesity therapies available right now.
“Any way you slice it, it’s a quarter of your total body weight,” said Dr. Caroline Apovian, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital obesity specialist who wasn’t involved in the study.
In May 2022, tirzepatide, an injection used to treat diabetes, received U.S. approval. It is marketed as Mounjaro and has been used “off-label” to treat obesity, joining a surge in interest in Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy, two drugs for treating diabetes and helping people lose weight.
All of the medications, which have monthly retail prices of $900 or more, have been scarce for months.
Tirzepatide targets two hormones that become active following a meal and control hunger and the transmission of fullness signals from the gut to the brain. One of those hormones is the target of the medication used in Ozempic and Wegovy, semaglutide.
About 800 participants who had obesity or were overweight with a weight-related health issue but not diabetes participated in the new trial, which was supported by Eli Lilly. The average starting weight for research participants was 241 pounds (109.5 kilogrammes), and they had a body mass index of 38, which is a common indicator of obesity.
More than 200 people abandoned the research after three months of strict dieting and exercise, either because they weren’t able to reduce enough weight or for other reasons. For almost 16 months, the remaining nearly 600 individuals were randomised to receive either tirzepatide or a placebo via weekly injections. The study was completed by around 500 persons.
During the diet and activity phase, participants in both groups dropped close to 17 pounds (8 kilogrammes), or about 7% of their body weight. In general, those who took the medication lost an extra 44 pounds (20 kilogrammes), or 18.4%, of their starting weight. Those who received the dummy shots put on roughly 2.5%, or 6 pounds (2.7 kilogrammes), of their baseline weight.
Overall, 88% of study participants who took tirzepatide dropped 5% or more of their body weight, as opposed to 17% of those who took a placebo. Compared to just over 1% of those receiving a placebo, over 29% of individuals taking the medication dropped at least 25% of their body weight.
Diabetes drug Mounjaro could be FDA approved for weight loss by late 2023: Eli Lilly
According to Apovian, those numbers are greater than those for semaglutide and comparable to those from bariatric surgery.
“We’re doing a medical gastric bypass,” she declared.
More persons receiving the medicine than those getting a placebo reported side symptoms such nausea, diarrhoea, and constipation. The study discovered that they were often mild to severe and generally happened as the drug’s dose was increased. Compared to roughly 2% of those taking a placebo, more than 10% of individuals taking the medicine stopped the research due to side effects.
According to the company, another study’s findings, which show similarly high rates of weight loss, are likely to be released by Lilly soon. The business has been given a fast-track evaluation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the medication to treat obesity, which Eli Lilly may market under a new brand name. A choice should be made by the year’s conclusion.