A new study shows that the medicine in the diabetes drug Mounjaro helped obese or overweight people lose at least a quarter of their body weight, or about 60 pounds on average, when combined with diet and exercise. Intensive exercise.
By comparison, a group of people who also dieted and exercised, but were then given dummy injections, initially lost weight but then gained it back, researchers reported Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine. .
Dr. Thomas Wadden, an obesity researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania who led the study, said: “This study says that if you lose weight before starting the drug, you may lose weight. weigh more later.
The results were also presented Sunday at a medical conference, confirming that the drug developed by Eli Lilly & Co. production has the potential to become one of the most effective medical treatments for obesity to date, outside experts say.
No matter how you slice it, it still makes up a quarter of your total body weight, said Dr. Caroline Apovian, who treats obesity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and was not involved in the study.
The injectable drug, tirzepatide, was approved in the US in May 2022 to treat diabetes. Sold as Mounjaro, it has been used off-label to treat obesity, contributing to increased demand for diabetes and weight loss drugs including Ozempic and Wegovy, made by Novo Nordisk.
All drugs with retail prices of $900/month or more have been in short supply for months.
Tirzepatide targets two hormones that activate after people eat to regulate appetite and the feeling of fullness transmitted between the gut and brain. Semaglutide, the drug used in Ozempic and Wegovy, targets one of those hormones.
The new Eli Lilly-funded study recruited about 800 people who were obese or overweight with weight-related health complications but did not have diabetes. On average, study participants weighed about 241 pounds (109.5 kg) to start and had a body mass index, a common measure of obesity, of about 38.
After three months of intensive dieting and exercise, more than 200 participants dropped out of the trial because they hadn’t lost enough weight or for other reasons. Nearly 600 remaining people were randomized to receive tirzepatide or placebo by weekly injections for about 16 months. Nearly 500 people completed the study.
Participants in both groups lost about 7% of their body weight, or nearly 17 pounds (8 kg), during the diet and exercise phase. On average, people taking the drug went on to lose an additional 18.4% of their original body weight, or about 44 more pounds (20 kg). People who received dummy injections regained about 2.5% of their original weight, or 6 pounds (2.7 kg).
Overall, about 88% of people taking tirzepatide lost 5% or more of their body weight during the trial, compared with nearly 17% of people taking placebo. Nearly 29% of those taking the drug lost at least a quarter of their body weight, compared with just over 1% of those taking the placebo.
These results were superior to those of semaglutide and similar to those seen with bariatric surgery, Apovian said.
She said she was having gastric bypass surgery.
Side effects including nausea, diarrhea and constipation were reported more often in people taking the drug than in people taking a placebo. Research shows they are mainly mild to moderate and occur mainly when the dose of medication is increased. More than 10% of people taking the drug stopped the study because of side effects, compared with about 2% of people taking a placebo.
Lilly is expected to soon release the results of another study that the company says shows similarly high rates of weight loss. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted the company an expedited review of an obesity drug that Eli Lilly could sell under a different brand name. A decision is expected later this year.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Education Communications Group. AP is solely responsible for all content.
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