New FDA approved diabetes drug helped overweight people lose 35 to 52 pounds, study says


NY POST: This pill might be easy to swallow.

A weekly medication designed to treat Type 2 diabetes may help those without the chronic illness lose weight, a new study says.

Tirzepatide, which goes by the brand name Mounjaro, was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration and studied in people without diabetes.

In the study, overweight participants took three different doses of 5, 10 and 15 milligrams. People who took the smallest dose lost 35 pounds, those who took 10 milligrams lost an average of 49 pounds, and the rest, who took the 15-milligram dose, dropped an average of 52 pounds.

“Almost 40% of individuals lost a quarter of their body weight,” Dr. Ania Jastreboff, a co-author on the study and the co-director of the Yale Center for Weight Management, told CNN in a press briefing.

“Obesity should be treated like any other chronic disease — with effective and safe approaches that target underlying (causes of) disease … and these results underscore that tirzepatide may be doing just that,” Jastreboff stated in an American Diabetes Association news release. “These results are an important step forward in potentially expanding effective therapeutic options for people with obesity.”

Overall, participants without diabetes lost an average of 15 to 20.9% of their body weight throughout the double-blinded, randomized trial, which lasted a whopping 72 weeks and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Meanwhile, those who took the placebo medication only lost an average of 2.4 to 3.1% of their body weight.

“The data was quite impressive,” Dr. Robert Gabbay, the chief medical officer of the American Diabetes Association who was not involved in the study, told CNN. “The weight loss that they got in this study was even greater than what had been seen in the previous studies of people with diabetes.”

“The middle range of weight loss for people in this new study was 49 pounds – 49 pounds is a lot,” he continued. “It’s the range of weight loss that we typically think only possible through surgery.”

In other studies, people with diabetes who used the medication only lost an average of 15% of their body weight, noted Gabbay.

“This is a not an uncommon observation,” he said. “The impact of previous weight loss medications are less effective in people with diabetes, and we honestly don’t know exactly why.”

Yet, he called the impact on those with diabetes “profound,” since it provides “much more than other tools that we’ve had.”

In a new study, more than 2,500 participants were tested with weekly injections of tirzepatide who had a body mass index, also known as BMI, of over 30 or who had a BMI of 27 and at least one weight-related health condition, such as high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. For reference, in adults, being overweight is determined by a BMI of more than 25.

Participants, at the beginning of the study, weighed an average of 231 pounds and had a BMI of 38, injecting themselves with either the drug or a placebo once a week using a “small, pen-like device with a tiny, tiny needle,” as Gabbay described.

“The prick from that needle is less painful than, for example, people that prick their fingers to measure blood glucose,” he explained.

In addition, people were counseled on how to keep a healthy diet with a 500-calorie deficit daily while also engaging in 150 minutes of physical activity per week. But the dramatic weight loss can’t all be attributed to eating better and working out more.

“The kind of weight loss that we see when people exercise and change their calorie intake is somewhere in the order of 5% to 7%,” Gabbay said. “This study showed a profoundly greater weight loss, far above what we would imagine with lifestyle changes.”

While the drug’s packaging warns about thyroid tumors — and advises people with a family history of thyroid conditions to not take the medication — the most common side effects were nausea, constipation and diarrhea. Yet, between 2.6 and 7.1% of participants quit treatment because of adverse effects.

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