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New Diabetes Drug Shows Greater Potential for Weight Loss Than Ozempic: Research

A recent review of research has unveiled that a groundbreaking diabetes drug surpasses its blockbuster competitor, semaglutide (popularly known as Ozempic), in promoting weight loss and lowering blood sugar levels. This promising discovery has sparked significant interest in the medical community.

Tirzepatide, marketed as Mounjaro by the esteemed US pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, is currently authorized for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in the United States, Europe, and, more recently, the UK. However, Eli Lilly is actively pursuing authorization for the drug’s use in combating obesity within the United States, putting it in direct competition with the Danish company Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide drug, recognized as Ozempic for diabetes treatment or Wegovy for weight loss.

Semaglutide, which gained considerable attention on social media earlier this year for its remarkable weight loss capabilities, experienced a surge in demand, leading to intermittent supply shortages. This surge also raised concerns about individuals who do not have diabetes or obesity using the drug to shed unwanted pounds.

Fresh research, presented at a conference in Germany and yet to undergo peer review, suggests that Eli Lilly’s newer drug may offer even greater efficacy in weight loss and blood sugar management.

The study, conducted by Greek researchers, amalgamated data from 22 prior randomized control trials, each of which independently examined the two drugs. Both tirzepatide and semaglutide are administered as once-weekly injections. The researchers leveraged these studies, encompassing nearly 18,500 type 2 diabetes patients, to evaluate three distinct dosage levels of both drugs over a minimum of 12 weeks.

Lead author Thomas Karagiannis, hailing from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, noted, “For the highest doses, tirzepatide resulted in an average weight loss that was 5.7 kilograms (12.5 pounds) more than semaglutide.” Additionally, it achieved a two percent reduction in blood sugar levels compared to the highest semaglutide dose.

However, it is imperative to acknowledge that the highest tirzepatide dose was associated with an elevated incidence of gastrointestinal adverse events, Karagiannis cautioned.

This groundbreaking research is slated for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Germany next month. Duane Mellor, an expert in evidence-based medicine at the UK’s Aston University, who was not involved in the research, emphasized that the study’s status as a non-peer-reviewed paper is noteworthy. He expressed that a more comprehensive analysis that directly compares the two drugs would have been preferable.

Mellor also stressed the importance of ensuring that both drugs are administered to those with the most pressing needs, particularly individuals grappling with type 2 diabetes, given the history of supply shortages.

Previous research had already indicated that the highest tirzepatide dosage led to an average loss of 15 percent of body weight over a 72-week period. Nevertheless, like Ozempic, weight can be regained if individuals cease taking the drug.

Both tirzepatide and semaglutide operate by mimicking the gastrointestinal hormone GLP-1, which activates receptors in the brain responsible for appetite regulation. However, tirzepatide distinguishes itself by also targeting the hormone GIP, which stimulates insulin release.

The notable success of Mounjaro is underscored by its impressive sales figures, with sales nearly reaching $1 billion in the second quarter of this year alone. As medical advancements continue, the potential of these drugs to transform the lives of individuals battling diabetes and obesity remains a topic of great interest and significance in the healthcare industry.

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