Medical Moment: Diabetes drug might help treat obesity

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 5:40 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(WNDU) - After weeks of holiday celebrating, many of us made a resolution to eat better in the new year. Not always easy, right?

And for people with obesity, lifestyle changes might not be enough.

Now, a recently approved diabetes medication is showing promise, in another way, by helping people without diabetes take off a significant amount of weight.

It’s been called a national epidemic; 42% of American adults are obese. By 2030, experts predict the numbers will swell to 50%.

“We have to treat obesity as we would treat any other chronic treatable disease,” said Ania Jastreboff, an endocrinologist at Yale School of Medicine.

Yale endocrinologist Dr. Ania Jastreboff and colleagues are studying the impact of the diabetes medication Tirzepatide, sold under the brand name “Mounjaro.”

In a trial called Surmount-1, researchers studied the once-weekly injectable in 2,500 adults without diabetes and found significant weight loss at 72 weeks.

“The individuals who received the highest dose of the medication, 15 milligrams of Tirzepatide, 40% of them lost greater than, or equal to 25% of their total body weight,” Dr. Jastreboff said.

Think of it this way, that means a person who weighed 200 lbs. slimmed down to 150.

“These types of results we have not seen with any other phase three trial in individuals with obesity with any other agent,” Dr. Jastreboff said. “So, definitely very significant.”

And possibly, a new tool for weight loss when diet and exercise aren’t working.

The FDA has granted the drug fast-track designation for review. This means they will review it sooner than usual for use in chronic weight management.