The effects on the body weight of obese and overweight people led to record weight loss for participants in a clinically studied experimental drug trial – similar to surgical procedures, the company behind the drug suggests.
Tyrzepatide, developed by the American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly), is a weekly injection that promotes weight loss by mimicking the effects of natural hormones called incretin. In addition to regulating the metabolic processes involved in digestion, these hormones also lower blood sugar after a meal.
In the case of tirzepatide, which is not available on the market until further clinical research, the drug is a synthetic combination of two specific incretin called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) and GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide). ). ).
The former hormone, GLP-1, is the basis of the drug semaglutide for diabetes, which was approved in the U.S. as a drug for weight loss in 2021, and this is the first time the FDA has approved a new treatment for weight loss in several countries. a year.
This approval is given behind the results described as a “game changer” for weight loss, but it looks like the tirzepatide formula – with the addition of GIP along with GLP-1 – could change the game again.
In Phase 3 of the SURMOUNT-1 clinical trial, which studied the effects of tirzepatide, the researchers registered 2,539 participants who were overweight or obese (with a weight-related additional disease but no type 2 diabetes).
Participants received tirzepatide or placebo for 72 weeks, and were encouraged to follow a low-calorie diet and increase physical activity.
Tyrzepatide (5, 10, or 15 milligrams per week) was administered, but all three groups showed significant levels of weight loss during the study.
At the highest dose (15 mg), participants experienced an average weight loss of 22.5 percent (24 kg or 52 pounds), while a 10 mg dose resulted in 21.4 percent weight loss (22 kg or 49 pounds) and 5 mg. saw a 16 percent decrease in body weight (16 kg or 35 pounds).
For comparison, the placebo group lost only 2.4 percent of their body weight (2 kg or 5 pounds). So far, semaglutide weight loss tests have led to weight loss of about 17 percent.
“Tyrzepatide is the first research drug to lose an average of more than 20 percent of its weight in Phase 3 of the study,” said Jeff Emmick, clinical research physician and Lily’s vice president of product development.
Although the results have not yet been reviewed, Lilly says they will be reviewed in the future. Meanwhile, research on the SURMOUNT-1 test continues, along with the SURMOUNT tests, the results of which are expected to be announced in 2023.
However, we know that tirzepatide does not agree with all those who take it. Although the results of weight loss were slightly higher than those treated with semaglutide and seemed to be similar to those of weight loss patients expected from bariatric surgery, some participants in the tirzepatide arm experienced adverse effects.
Depending on the dose, dizziness and diarrhea are relatively common in up to one-third of the group receiving tirzepatide (18.7-23 percent of participants). Some people also experienced vomiting and constipation, but it should be noted that only a small percentage of participants dropped out of the study due to these effects.
Another potential gastric obstruction of tirzepatide is a matter of evaluation – the results of subsequent studies suggest that the FDA should prescribe the drug for patients who have lost weight. (The drug has already been submitted for regulatory testing for the treatment of diabetes.)
Others note that semaglutide – sold by the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk under the Wegovy brand – costs more than $ 1,300 a month, and very few patients can afford such expensive drugs, especially those covered by this rare health insurance.
If tirzepatide follows such a pricing strategy – after its expected but future release – it could be another potential, life-changing event that many people unfortunately cannot afford.
“The drugs themselves look great, but Wegovy is expensive, and others may be,” neuroscientist and obesity researcher Stefan Gayenet told Gizmodo.
“Especially in the U.S., Wegovy is about four times more expensive than other countries. So the key question becomes accessibility.”
In addition to the economy, the effectiveness of these drugs shows that we can soon change the treatment of obesity – a complex and harmful epidemic that has been under our control for decades.
If we can keep that promise and provide fair access to a new generation of anti-obesity drugs, we will improve the health of millions of people around the world, say researchers.
Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Health in Washington, told Healio: “It’s very interesting, but it’s very interesting, even if there are preliminary data on weight loss from a drug at the level of bariatric surgery.” .
“Continuing the development of tirzepatide and similar agents could demonstrate a marine shift in the treatment of obesity, similar to how cholesterol and heart disease management have changed with the advent of statin drugs and how HIV management has changed with antiretroviral drugs.”