Eli Lilly’s diabetes drug also helps substantial weight loss

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New York, May 1 (IANS) US pharma giant Eli Lilly’s new blood sugar control drug is also helpful in losing weight, the company has said.

In a recent phase 3 clinical trial including 938 participants, those with obesity or overweight and Type 2 diabetes taking the drug tirzepatide, for a year and five months, lost up to 15.6 kg. It also helped people reduce their blood sugar, the company said in a statement.

However, the data has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal.

“Obesity is a difficult-to-manage disease, and it’s even more difficult for people living with Type 2 diabetes,” said Jeff Emmick, senior vice president, product development, Lilly.

“We have not hit 15 per cent in any other phase three trial for weight management in this type two diabetes population,” added Dr. Nadia Ahmad, an associate vice president at Eli Lilly and medical director of obesity clinical development for the company.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year approved Tirzepatide as Mounjaro — an injectable medicine for adults with Type 2 diabetes to be used along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar (glucose).

The new trial showed Tirzepatide can decrease food intake and modulate fat utilisation. When blood sugar rises after eating food, tirzepatide stimulates the body to produce more insulin, lowering blood sugar level. It also slows down the movement of food from the stomach, making people feel fuller for longer.

The drug is also being studied as a potential treatment for people with obesity and/or overweight with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, obstructive sleep apnoea, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Studies of tirzepatide in chronic kidney disease and in morbidity/mortality in obesity are also ongoing, the company said.

Lilly said it plans to ask the FDA to fast-track approval for tirzepatide purely for weight loss.

“We expect regulatory action as early as late 2023,” the company said.

The company also aims to begin a study that will test Mounjaro against Danish drugmaker’s Wegovy (semaglutide) in 700 participants in the US and Canada, according to clinicaltrials.gov.

The study will conclude in February 2025.

Wegovy was approved for weight loss for adults in the US in 2021 and for children aged 12 and older in 2022.



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