A revolutionary new chronic weight management drug has received approval and is proven to be 20% more effective than rival, Ozempic.
The type 2 diabetes drug tirzepatide was being widely prescribed off-label for weight loss but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made official its use as a weight loss medicine earlier this week.
In their press release, the FDA explains that the new drug known previously as Mounjaro for diabetes, will now be called Zepbound for weight loss.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2021 Australia had the ninth highest proportion of overweight or obese people aged 15 and over among the 21 OECD countries.
Obesity is seen as the second leading risk factor for ill-health and premature mortality in Australia and increases the risk of many preventable chronic conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer.
Zepbound will be manufactured by pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly, and belongs to a new category of drugs that includes semaglutide, known as Ozempic for diabetes and Wegovy for weight loss, that have gained significant popularity in recent times.
“Obesity and overweight are serious conditions that can be associated with some of the leading causes of death such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes,” said Dr John Sharretts, the FDA’s director of the Division of Diabetes, Lipid Disorders, and Obesity.
“In light of increasing rates of both obesity and overweight in the United States, today’s approval addresses an unmet medical need.”
During its 72-week clinical trial, Zepbound showed over 20% average weight loss at higher doses, outperforming previously approved medications.
It has been FDA cleared for people with obesity or those seen as overweight and have at least one weight related health condition such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
As with similar drugs patients inject themselves under the skin once a week and it is recommended alongside a reduced calorie diet and increased exercise.
According to the FDA, Zepbound’s main side effects include gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhoea.
Its label contains warnings for pancreatic inflammation, low blood sugar, acute kidney injury, diabetic retinopathy or damage to the eye’s retina.
Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus are cautioned about suicidal thoughts or behaviour.
Eli Lilly stated that Zepbound will cost approximately $US1060 ($1653) a month before insurance, and will be available by the end of 2023.
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