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Drug suppressing hunger led to 22% weight loss in the obese

Weight loss drug that suppresses hunger helped obese people shed 22% of their weight: Inventors are ‘initiating’ conversations over regulatory approval

  • More than 1,900 people who were obese at about 231lbs, or 105kg, each were given once weekly injections of Tirzepatide for a year and four months
  • Those who got the highest dose shed as much as 52lbs, or 24kg, results showed
  • But even people who got the lowest dose shed as much as 16% of weight
  • For comparison, people in the placebo group lost just two per cent or 5lb, 2kg
  • Participants had at least one comorbidity such as high blood pressure
  • But none had type 2 diabetes, which is more common in obese people
  • Scientists said the results were ‘impressive’, and this was the first drug ever to deliver a 20 per cent weight loss in Phase III trials
  • They are now considering initiating conversations about the drug with the Food and Drug Administration to get it onto shelves across America
  • A cost was not revealed, but a similar treatment costs $1,600 per month 

A drug which suppresses a person’s hunger could help very obese Americans lose up to 22 percent of their weight, a trial finds.

More than 1,900 people — mostly women — who weighed about 231lbs each were given weekly injections of the drug Tirzepatide for a year and four months.

Those who got the highest dose — 15 milligrams (mg) — shed around 52lbs during the study period. But even those who got the lowest dose — 5mg — shed as much as 16 percent of their body weight or 35lbs.

For comparison, the 625 people in the placebo group who did not receive the drug lost just two per cent of their weight or 5lb.

Scientists behind the drug said it was ‘impressive’ and the first to deliver such a high proportion of weight loss during Phase III trials.

Participants had at least one comorbidity such as high blood pressure, but did not have type 2 diabetes.

A spokeswoman at drug company Eli Lilly told they now planned to ‘initiate a conversation’ with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its roll out. It is expected to be approved for diabetes patients this summer.

A cost for the drug was not reported, but similar weight loss jabs can cost as much as $1,600 a month.

A weight loss drug that suppresses hunger pangs could help very obese Americans lose weight, a trial has found (Stock image)

About two in five Americans — or 138 million people — are obese, estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest.

Injectable weight loss drugs are have been available in the U.S. for years, such as semaglutide — sold under the brand name Wegovy — which is given as a weekly jab.

But they are often expensive and not covered by health insurance plans.

These results suggest they may also be less effective than Lilly’s drug, with results from trials on semaglutide showing it triggered a 14 per cent weight loss in overweight and obese people of 35 to 52 pounds after about a year.

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height. 

Standard Formula:

  • BMI = (weight in pounds / (height in inches x height in inches)) x 703

Metric Formula:

  • BMI = (weight in kilograms / (height in meters x height in meters))


  • Under 18.5: Underweight
  • 18.5 – 24.9: Healthy
  • 25 – 29.9: Overweight
  • 30 or greater: Obese 

In the trials — which are yet to be published — scientists recruited about 2,500 people who had an average Body Mass Index (BMI) of 38, putting them well above the obesity threshold of 30.

They were mostly women, 67 percent, and came from nine countries including the U.S., China and Brazil.

Scientists split them into four groups with those getting the drug receiving either 5mg, 10mg or 15mg as a maximum dose. The fourth group was given a placebo, or inert liquid through injections.

All four groups lost weight, but those getting the drug saw significantly larger reductions in their waistlines. 

Scientists started all groups on a dose of 2.5 mg, and then raised this by the same amount every month until the desired dose had been reached.

Nausea was the most common side-effect from the drug, being experienced by up to a third of patients in each group.

Up to one in five also said they had diarrhea and constipation, while one in 10 said they experienced vomiting during the treatment.

Scientists said participants were more likely to experience side effects when treatment doses were being raised.

For comparison, in the placebo group up to one in ten said they had nausea or diarrhea while one in 20 said they had constipation. 

Less than two percent reported they had been vomiting.

Tirzepatide works by imitating gut hormones that can curb hunger, similar to the Wegovy medication. There are also suggestions it could raise energy expenditure.

Dr Jeff Emmick, the vice president of product development at the drugs company, said in a statement: ‘Obesity is a chronic disease that requires effective treatment options, and Lilly is working relentlessly to support people with obesity and modernize how this disease is approached. 

‘We’re proud to research and develop potentially innovative treatments like tirzepatide.’

A spokeswoman for the company said there were also trials of the drug ongoing in patients with type 2 diabetes. 

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