A weekly dose of the diabetes drug causes significant weight loss in obese people, a development experts have hailed as gamechanging.
In Europe, 1.2 million people die every year due to obesity. According to the World Health OrganizationAnd the UK has one of the worst obesity rates.
Efforts to combat the disease have long focused on diet and exercise, but many This is how people who lose weight find They regain it over time.
Now researchers say a diabetes drug used with such an intervention could help people with obesity. Participants lost up to 20% of their body weight in the 72-week trial.
Writing in the New England Journal of MedicineAn international team reports that they randomly divided 2,539 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 either 5mg, 10mg or 15mg of a drug called tirzepatide. All participants were also given regular lifestyle counseling sessions to help them eat a low-calorie diet and engage in at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week.
On average, participants had a body weight of 104.8 kg, or 16.5 stone, with 94.5% being obese. Most were white and women, and none had diabetes.
Results from those who stuck to the assigned intervention – about 82% of the sample – showed that at the end of the 72-week period participants given 5mg tirzepatide each week lost an average of 16.1kg, those given 10mg lost an average 22.2 kg and 15 mg were given on an average of 23.6 kg. Those given the placebo injection lost an average of 2.4 kg.
The team says that among those given the highest dose of tirazeptide, 91% of the participants lost 5% or more of their body weight, compared to 35% assigned to the placebo. Seventy-five percent of those given the highest dose lost 20% or more of their body weight compared to 3% of them assigned to placebo.
“We should treat obesity as we treat any chronic disease — with effective and safe approaches that target the underlying disease mechanisms — and these results underscore that tirazeptide may do the same,” said Yale University. Dr. Ania Jastreboff, lead author of the research, which was presented during the 82nd Scientific Session of the American Diabetes Association.
Prof Rachel Batterham, an obesity specialist at University College London who was not involved in the work, said that like semaglutide, tirazeptide works by mimicking hormones in the body that help people feel full after eating and Which is often at low levels in obese people. ,
While semaglutide mimics just one hormone, tirazeptide mimics two, potentially explaining why the latter appears to have a greater effect.
“Weight loss is about improving a person’s health. If you want to improve the really tough complications of obesity, you need a 15-20% weight loss. If you want to improve someone’s heart failure want or want to get rid of their obstructive sleep apnea, reduce their risk of dying from heart disease, then we need to lose a lot of weight that we can achieve and maintain with diet alone ,” Batterham said.
Tom Sanders, Professor Emeritus of Nutrition and Dietetics at King’s College London, said that high doses of tirazeptide resulted in weight loss, but they produced more side effects, mainly nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, while a major association with this class of drug Anxiety had its effects. on the pancreas.
“This class of drugs only works by getting participants to stick to a low-calorie diet prescribed along with the drug, so it’s not a magic bullet,” he said.
Dr Simon Cork, a senior lecturer in physiology at Anglia Ruskin University, also said there were challenges.
“These drugs are game changing for the obesity field, but they will only work as long as the drug is being taken,” he said. “The current guidance to Nice with regards to semaglutide is to take the drug for a maximum of two years, after which it will not be introduced again. We know this is likely to reverse the weight loss effects for many people, The same is true for tirazeptide.
Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, who was not involved in the work, said the latest findings were good news.
He added, however, that like semaglutide, tyrazepatide will be expensive for many years and its use will be initially restricted.
“The advent of these new drugs does not mean that people should give up on the lifestyle because it is better to prevent obesity at a late stage than to treat it after a lot of damage has already been done,” he said. Told.
“Fortunately, ways to help people improve their diet are evolving as we learn what works better. But of course, improving the food environment will have the biggest impact, so the government needs to take this step.” attention should be paid to it.”