A diabetes drug has shown remarkable effectiveness in helping non-diabetics lose weight – making it an important weapon in America’s fight against obesity.
Researchers at Yale University have conducted research on tirzepatide, finding that the injections can help someone struggling with weight lose about 20% of their pounds when following a weekly diet and exercise regimen. standard.
The drug gained attention in recent years when experts realized it had properties that could help with weight loss. For this study, the Yale team partnered with Eli Lilly – the makers of the drug – to find the ideal dosage to maximize yields.
Currently, the drug is only available by prescription and has only been approved by regulators to treat diabetes. However, Eli Lilly is likely to seek approval as a weight-loss drug as well.
Weekly injections of tirzepatide, a type 2 diabetes drug, reduced an obese person’s weight by more than 20% over 18 months.
The three doses of the drug, five, 10 and 15 mg, were found to be significantly more effective than a simple placebo, diet and exercise
“This is an unusually significant degree of weight reduction in response to an anti-obesity drug compared to results reported in other Phase 3 clinical trials,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers, who published their findings Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, collected data from 2,539 people over 72 weeks for their study.
Each of the patients had either a body mass index of 30 or more – high enough to be considered obese – or 27 with at least one other weight-related condition.
Because the drug’s effectiveness for diabetics is already known, they were not included in the study.
The participants were divided into four groups. One was a placebo group that took no medication. The others received doses of five, 10 or 15 milligrams (mg) of the drug each week.
The placebo group served as a control, and using only diet and exercise alone, they lost an average of 3.1% of their body weight each.
Even lower doses of the drug, as little as 5mg per week, were enough to have a substantial impact.
Nearly half of Americans suffer from obesity, making it a growing crisis in the United States (file photo)
The researchers found that those given the smallest doses lost an average of 15% of their body weight, about five times the success of diet and exercise alone.
As yields dwindled, higher doses were successful in enhancing weight loss.
The group receiving the 10 mg dose lost an average of 19.5% of their weight, while the group receiving the 15 mg dose lost an average of 20.5%.
In both groups, more than 90% of participants also lost more than 5% of their body weight.
HOW DOES OBESITY AFFECT THE BRAIN?
The effect of obesity on the brain is poorly understood and a burgeoning area of research.
A study from the University of Alabama suggests that weight gain impairs our cognitive functioning, even in people without dementia.
And brain scans taken from morbidly obese patients reveal that older people who carry dangerous amounts of weight have higher levels of brain cell breakdown.
However, it is unclear whether this also occurs in younger patients.
Obesity has also been linked to reduced attention span, as well as slower motor speed and information processing.
Older people are consistently more affected, which may be due to declining cognitive function with age anyway.
And reduced cognitive functions can affect an obese person’s ability to lose weight.
Poor memory and functioning have also been associated with patients “slipping off” their weight loss program after bariatric surgery.
Source: psychology today
“A reduction in body weight of five percent or more has long been considered the threshold for a clinically meaningful effect based on improved metabolic health,” the researchers explained.
“It is remarkable that in this trial, the majority (89% to 91%) of participants receiving 10mg or 15mg doses of tirzepatide reached this benchmark.”
Weight loss wasn’t the only positive impact the drug seemed to have on recipients’ lives, the researchers found.
“Weight reduction with tirzepatide was accompanied by greater improvements in all measured cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, including waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, insulin levels fasting, lipids, and aspartate aminotransferase than placebo,” they wrote.
“Participants treated with tirzepatide had a percentage reduction in fat mass approximately three times greater than the reduction in lean mass, resulting in an overall improvement in body composition.”
The results indicate that weekly injections of 15 mg of the diabetes drug will work best for weight loss.
While the difference between the 10 mg and 15 mg groups was small, the researchers saw no evidence that the difference in doses led to an increased risk of negative side effects.
The drug appears to be a silver bullet in America’s fight against obesity.
Previous research has found that the drug can suppress a person’s apatite and limit their daily calorie intake, while increasing the amount of energy they burn throughout the day.
As a result, they end up with a larger calorie deficit – and will lose weight over time.
The study published on Thursday is the second massive study conducted by Eli Lilly in an attempt to prove that its drug can benefit weight loss.
Results released in April showed that the drug could help a person lose around 22.5% of their body weight on average.
A drug like this would also be welcomed by many, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that over 40% of Americans are obese and over 70% are overweight.
Eli Lilly is expected to submit the results of these trials to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval as a weight-loss drug.
The list of FDA-approved weight loss supplements is slim, and tirzepatide should be the most effective of the bunch.
Currently, it’s only approved for the management of type 2 diabetes, although doctors can prescribe it off-label for weight loss as they see fit.
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