Tirzepatide: Promotes Impressive Weight loss

Source Study: AM Jastreboff et al NEJM 2022; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2206038. Tirzepatide Once Weekly for the Treatment of Obesity

USA Today (6/6/22): Diabetes drug helps patients lose never-before-seen amounts of weight, study shows

An excerpt:

The drug, called tirzepatide, works on two naturally occurring hormones that help control blood sugar and are involved in sending fullness signals from the gut to the brain...Those taking the highest of three studied doses lost as much as 21% of their body weight – 50-60 pounds in some cases…

Another obesity treatment approved last year called semaglutide, from Novo Nordisk, provides an average of up to about 15% weight loss. Previous generations of diet drugs cut only about 5% of weight and many carried prohibitive side effects…

About 15% of participants who received the active drug dropped out of the 72-week trial, about a third because of gastrointestinal side effects. Twenty-six percent of trial volunteers who received a placebo dropped out.

On May 13, the Food and Drug Administration approved tirzepatide, under the trade name Mounjaro, for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes…The new tirzepatide trial, called SURMOUNT-1, included more than 2,500 volunteers [without diabetes]…Nine out of 10 lost weight, and on the highest dose, 15 mg, they lost an average of 52 pounds each...

It’s too soon to know what price Lilly will set for tirzepatide. Mounjaro, the same drug used to treat diabetes at the same doses, retails for almost $1,000 a month…Semaglutide went on the market last year for weight loss and has been in short supply ever since, Rind said. It costs about $1,600 a month for the 2.4 mg weight loss dose, which is higher than the 1 or 2 mg doses used to treat diabetes. Like other weight loss drugs, semaglutide isn’t covered by many insurance plans. 

My take: This therapy, already approved for Type 2 Diabetes, appears promising for obesity but costly. More time will be needed to understand the safety profile with extended use.

Related blog post: Are We On the Verge of Pharmacologic Management of Obesity (Again)?

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