Researchers from Yale and other institutions have discovered a new use for an existing drug.
This medicine, named tirzepatide, was originally approved for treating type 2 diabetes. But it turns out, it’s really good at helping people lose weight, too!
What is Tirzepatide?
Tirzepatide is a drug that doctors usually prescribe to people with type 2 diabetes. This is a condition where the body struggles to control the amount of sugar in the blood.
Tirzepatide works on two hormones in our bodies that help to control this blood sugar. These hormones also send signals to the brain when our stomach is full.
What Did the Researchers Find?
When people with diabetes took tirzepatide, the researchers noticed that they were losing weight. This got the researchers thinking. Could this drug help people who are obese but don’t have diabetes?
To find out, they conducted a study focusing on people with obesity but without diabetes. What they found was exciting.
The people who took the highest dose of the drug lost up to 21% of their body weight. In some cases, this was as much as 50-60 pounds!
To put that in perspective, another drug that treats obesity, semaglutide, can help people lose around 15% of their body weight on average.
Older drugs designed to help people lose weight only managed about 5%. So, tirzepatide was performing really well!
Were There Any Side Effects?
Like all medicines, tirzepatide can have side effects. However, the researchers found that most people in the trial didn’t have serious side effects.
About 15% of the people who received the drug chose to leave the study early. Roughly a third of these people did so because of gut-related side effects.
By comparison, 26% of the people who received a placebo – a treatment with no active ingredients – also chose to leave the study early.
Why is This Important?
On May 13, the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for approving medicines in the United States, gave tirzepatide the green light. It’s now being sold under the name Mounjaro for treating type 2 diabetes.
But what’s really exciting is that this discovery could change the way doctors treat diabetes. Instead of just trying to reduce the amount of sugar in a patient’s blood, doctors could aim to put the diabetes into remission altogether.
That means the disease goes away and stops causing problems. In a previous study of tirzepatide, half the people who were in the early stages of their diabetes went into remission while taking the drug.
The Future of Obesity Treatment
This research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, could be a game-changer in the fight against obesity.
It shows that a drug originally designed to treat diabetes could also help people lose a significant amount of weight.
The researchers, led by Dr. Robert Gabbay, are excited about the potential of tirzepatide and what it could mean for future treatments. As always, science continues to surprise and inspire us in our quest to understand the human body.
If you care about weight loss, please read studies about popular weight loss diets linked to heart disease and cancer, and this exercise has unique benefits for weight loss.
For more information about weight loss, please see recent studies that green diet can reduce belly fat much better, and Keto diet could help control body weight and blood sugar in diabetes.
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