Study Reveals Significant Weight Loss with Diabetes Drug Mounjaro

by Andrew Wright
Obesity Treatment

A groundbreaking study has unveiled remarkable results regarding the diabetes drug Mounjaro in the context of weight loss. Researchers found that when combined with rigorous diet and exercise, the medication led individuals struggling with obesity or excess weight to shed an average of 60 pounds, equating to at least a quarter of their body weight.

In contrast, a control group that also adhered to diet and exercise regimens but received placebo injections experienced initial weight loss, which was unfortunately followed by weight regain. These findings, presented in the journal Nature Medicine, highlight the potential of Mounjaro, produced by Eli Lilly & Co., as one of the most potent medical treatments for obesity to date, according to experts in the field.

Dr. Thomas Wadden, a prominent obesity researcher and psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who spearheaded the study, noted, “This study says that if you lose weight before you start the drug, you can then add a lot more weight loss after.”

Dr. Caroline Apovian, a specialist in obesity treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, emphasized the significance of the results, stating, “Any way you slice it, it’s a quarter of your total body weight.”

The drug in question, tirzepatide, received approval in the United States in May 2022 for diabetes treatment under the name Mounjaro. However, it has also been employed “off-label” to address obesity concerns, reflecting the surging demand for diabetes and weight-loss medications, such as Ozempic and Wegovy, manufactured by Novo Nordisk. It is worth noting that these medications come with a substantial monthly price tag, exceeding $900, and have been in short supply for several months.

Tirzepatide operates by targeting two hormones that influence appetite and satiety after meals, regulating the communication between the gut and the brain. In contrast, Ozempic and Wegovy, utilizing semaglutide, target one of these hormones.

The study enrolled participants with an average initial weight of approximately 241 pounds and a body mass index (BMI), a common measure of obesity, around 38. After three months of intensive diet and exercise, over 200 participants left the trial, with the remaining 600 individuals randomly assigned to receive tirzepatide or a placebo via weekly injections for about 16 months. Nearly 500 participants completed the study.

Both groups initially lost around 7% of their body weight, roughly 17 pounds, during the diet and exercise phase. However, those who received tirzepatide achieved an additional weight loss of 18.4% of their initial body weight, equivalent to approximately 44 pounds on average. In contrast, the placebo group regained approximately 2.5% of their initial weight, equivalent to 6 pounds.

Remarkably, approximately 88% of individuals taking tirzepatide lost 5% or more of their body weight during the trial, compared to roughly 17% of those on placebo. Additionally, nearly 29% of the tirzepatide group achieved a weight loss of at least a quarter of their body weight, in stark contrast to just over 1% in the placebo group.

These outcomes are not only higher than those observed with semaglutide but also akin to the results typically seen with bariatric surgery, as stated by Dr. Apovian, who described the treatment as akin to a “medical gastric bypass.”

While the study indicated some side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and constipation, these were predominantly mild to moderate and correlated with the dosage of the drug. Notably, more than 10% of participants receiving tirzepatide discontinued the study due to side effects, compared to about 2% in the placebo group.

Eli Lilly is poised to release the results of another study, which reportedly demonstrates similarly high rates of weight loss. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expedited its review of tirzepatide for obesity treatment, with potential plans to market it under a different brand name. A decision is anticipated by year-end.

The Big Big News Health and Science Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Obesity Treatment

Q: What is the key finding of the study involving the diabetes drug Mounjaro?

A: The study found that when combined with intensive diet and exercise, Mounjaro helped individuals with obesity or excess weight lose an average of 60 pounds, which is approximately a quarter of their body weight.

Q: How does Mounjaro, also known as tirzepatide, differ from other diabetes medications like semaglutide?

A: Tirzepatide, the drug used in Mounjaro, targets two hormones that regulate appetite and fullness after eating, while semaglutide, found in drugs like Ozempic, targets only one of these hormones.

Q: What percentage of participants in the study experienced significant weight loss with tirzepatide?

A: Approximately 88% of participants taking tirzepatide lost 5% or more of their body weight during the trial, and nearly 29% of them achieved a weight loss of at least a quarter of their body weight.

Q: Are there any notable side effects associated with tirzepatide?

A: Some participants reported mild to moderate side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and constipation. More than 10% of those taking tirzepatide discontinued the study due to side effects, compared to about 2% in the placebo group.

Q: What is the significance of these findings for the treatment of obesity?

A: The results suggest that Mounjaro, or tirzepatide, could become one of the most potent medical treatments for obesity, with weight loss results comparable to those seen with bariatric surgery.

Q: When can we expect further developments regarding the availability of tirzepatide for obesity treatment?

A: Eli Lilly is expected to release results from another study soon, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is fast-tracking its review of tirzepatide for obesity treatment, with a decision expected by the end of the year.

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ScienceGeek October 15, 2023 - 9:43 pm

This is groundbreaking news in obesity treatment. Can’t wait 4 more details from Eli Lilly. #MedicalAdvances

Reader123 October 15, 2023 - 10:23 pm

Wow! This study about mounjaro drug is so cool. 60 pounds! That’s gr8 news 4 people with obesity. Wonder if there r side effects tho?

PatientJourney October 16, 2023 - 6:36 am

If Mounjaro helps me lose weight like this, I’d consider it! Thx for the info on this drug.

CuriousMind October 16, 2023 - 6:49 am

Wait, so tirzepatide in Mounjaro targets 2 hormones? That’s interestin’ compared to semaglutide. Need to learn more!

HealthNut44 October 16, 2023 - 4:00 pm

Impressive! Mounjaro’s weight loss results r amazin’. Hope it gets FDA approval soon! #Excited


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