Published on November 9, 2023, 12:38 am
The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro diabetes drug, now known as Zepbound, as a weight loss treatment for adults who are obese or overweight with at least one weight-related condition. It is predicted to be a breakthrough in the field of weight loss medications and could potentially become the best-selling drug in history.
Zepbound, also called tirzepatide, works by reducing appetite and food intake. The drug is administered through weekly injections. Clinical trials have shown that a 15 milligram dose of tirzepatide resulted in a remarkable 22.5% reduction in weight, with subjects losing an average of 52 pounds over 72 weeks.
Eli Lilly has announced that Zepbound will be available in the United States by the end of this year, priced at $1,060 for a one-month prescription. To assist those without health insurance coverage for the drug, the company will implement a commercial savings card program.
It’s important to note that Zepbound should be used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. Like other medications of its kind, it may come with some side effects including nausea, abdominal discomfort and pain, and hair loss.
This approval marks only the third time that the FDA has endorsed a drug specifically for weight loss. Previous drugs approved include Wegovy and Saxenda. Interestingly, Ozempic, which is commonly prescribed to manage obesity by doctors, has not received approval for use as a weight loss treatment.
The news of FDA approval led to an immediate increase in shares value for Eli Lilly’s stock by more than 3%. Tirzepatide itself is already being marketed as Mounjaro—a weekly injection intended to control blood sugar levels among diabetic patients.
Zepbound falls into the category of GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs that activate hormone receptors responsible for reducing appetite and food intake. It also mimics the GIP hormone, which aids in insulin release and helps regulate blood sugar levels after eating.
According to the FDA, approximately 70% of adults in America are either obese or overweight. Many individuals in this group suffer from weight-related conditions such as high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes. The FDA recommends that reducing body weight by 5-10% through diligent diet and exercise can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in these individuals.
Zepbound joins the ranks of other popular weight loss drugs like Mounjaro and Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy. However, shortages have been reported for these medications, potentially leaving individuals seeking alternative options.
While Zepbound has been associated with thyroid C-cell tumors in rats, it remains unclear whether the drug carries a similar risk for humans. Further studies and monitoring will be necessary to address this concern fully.
The approval of Zepbound offers new hope for individuals struggling with obesity and weight-related conditions. With its promising efficacy demonstrated in clinical trials, many people eagerly await its availability to assist them on their journey toward healthier lifestyles.