Diabetes medications lead to significant weight loss in people with obesity – research | medical research

A weekly dose of a drug for diabetes seems to lead to significant weight loss in people with obesity, development experts assessed as a game changer.

According to the World Health Organization, obesity kills 1.2 million people annually in Europe, and the UK has one of the worst rates of obesity.

Efforts to control the disease have long focused on diet and exercise, but many who lose weight in this way recover over time.

Researchers now say that drugs used in conjunction with such interventions can help people with diabetes and obesity. Participants in the 72-week trial lost 20% of their body weight.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, an international group divided four randomly overweight or obese participants into four equal groups.

One group was offered a self-administered placebo injection once a week for 72 weeks, while the other three groups were offered 5 mg, 10 mg, or 15 mg of a drug called tirzepatide. All participants were given regular lifestyle tips to help them eat low-calorie meals and exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.

On average, participants weighed 104.8 kg, or 16.5 stones, and 94.5% were considered obese. Most were white and women and no one had diabetes.

The results of those who followed the intervention – almost 82% of the sample – showed that at the end of the 72-week period, participants who received 5 mg of tirzepatide per week lost an average of 16.1 kg, and those who received 10 mg lost weight on average. Those given 22.2 kg and 15 mg averaged 23.6 kg. Placebo injectors lost an average of 2.4 kg.

The team adds that 91% of participants who received the highest dose of tirzepatide lost 5% or more of their body weight compared to 35% who received a placebo. Fifty-seven percent of those who received the highest dose lost 20 percent or more of their body weight. 3% of placebo recipients.

“We need to treat obesity in the same way that we treat any chronic disease – with effective and safe methods that focus on the underlying mechanisms of the disease – and these results underscore that tirzepatide does just that,” said Dr. Ania Jastreboff, lead author of the study. , Presented during the 82nd Scientific Session of the American Diabetes Association.

The study came after the UK’s National Institute of Public Health (Nice) in February approved the use of another drug, semaglutide, for certain groups of obese people.

According to Professor Rachel Butterham, an expert on obesity at the University College London, who did not participate in the study, tirzepatides, such as semaglutide, help the body feel full after a meal and often mimic low levels of hormones in obese people. .

Although semaglutide resembles the same hormone, it mimics two in the window, which explains why the latter is more effective.

“Weight loss will be followed by fatigue and constant tiredness. If you want to improve the really severe complications of obesity, then you need to lose 15-20%. If you want to improve someone’s heart failure, or if you want to get rid of their sleep apnea, if you want to reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, then we need more weight loss that can only be achieved and maintained by diet, ”Butterham said.

Tom Sanders, an honored professor of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, said high doses of tirzepatide led to weight loss, but they caused more side effects, especially nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. in the pancreas.

“Medications in this class only work by ensuring participants follow a low-calorie diet prescribed with medication, so it’s not a magic bullet,” he said.

Dr. Simon Cork, a senior lecturer in physiology at Ruskin University in England, also said there were problems.

“These drugs change the game in the obesity industry, but they only work until the medication is taken,” he said. “Currently, the instructions to Nice on semaglutide are to take this drug for a maximum of two years, after which it is not recommended again. We know that this can lead to changes in weight loss effects for many people, as well as tirzepatide.

Navid Sattar, a professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow who was not involved, said the latest findings were good news.

According to him, however, like semaglutide, tirespatide is expensive for many years and its use is initially limited.

“The advent of this new drug does not mean that people should abandon their lifestyle, because when there is a lot of damage, it is much better to prevent obesity in the first place than to treat it at a later stage,” he said.

“Fortunately, ways are being developed to help people improve their diets because we are learning what works best. But, of course, improving the food environment has the biggest impact, so it should be the focus of government.

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