New once-a-week obesity jab could help people shed body fat

Researchers have hailed a new once-a-week obesity jab which helps people shed large amounts of body fat, amid growing popularity for the treatment.
All doses of the drug led to weight loss regardless of original BMIAll doses of the drug led to weight loss regardless of original BMI
All doses of the drug led to weight loss regardless of original BMI

Tirzepatide, from Eli Lilly and Company and sold under the brand name Mounjaro, is currently approved by UK regulators for type 2 diabetes but may also soon be approved for obesity.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is seeing whether the drug would be a good use of NHS funds before recommending or rejecting it for use across the health service.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nice has already approved a different drug, semaglutide, sold under the brand name Wegovy, for use on the NHS for obesity. That has been favoured by celebrities including Twitter owner Elon Musk. Reality star Kim Kardashian is also reported to have used the drug.

That drug, manufactured by Danish firm Novo Nordisk, is an appetite suppressant which is delivered via a weekly injection which patients administer themselves.

In the new study, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Dublin but not yet peer-reviewed, researchers conducted an analysis of 2,539 adults who were overweight or obese and had at least one weight-related complication, excluding diabetes.

They were split into groups to either receive a placebo drug, or 5mg, 10mg or 15mg doses of tirzepatide.

At the start of the study, people typically weighed more than 16st and had a BMI of 38.

The average body weight loss after 72 weeks of weekly injections was 16 per cent for the 5mg dose group, 21 per cent for the 10mg and 23 per cent for the 15mg group. This compared with a 2 per cent loss on placebo.

The proportion of people who lost 5 per cent or more of their body weight was 89 per cent on the 5mg dose, 96 per cent on the 10mg and 96 per cent with 15mg.This compared with 28 per cent on the placebo.All doses of the drug led to weight loss regardless of original BMI.

The authors said: "In this 72-week trial in participants with obesity, tirzepatide once weekly provided substantial reductions in body weight, consistent across all BMI categories, with improvement in body composition that was clinically meaningful and consistent across age groups."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dr Louis Aronne, from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York and a consultant to Eli Lilly, who presented the findings, said there was a need to understand the effect of weight loss on fat mass and lean mass, particularly in the elderly.

He added: "This new analysis shows that around three quarters of the weight lost was fat mass, which is consistent across different ages."

Academics have described injections like Wegovy decision as a key development for the treatment of people living with obesity, but others have warned that the drug is not a “quick fix”.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.