A new weight loss drug from Eli Lilly has shown promising results, with participants in a new study averaging a loss of 24% of their body weight, the highest weight loss percentage from any drug in its class.
Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Mounjaro, published results from two separate studies on Monday showing promising signs for a new injectable weight loss drug.
The drug, called retatrutide, helped patients lose an average of 24% of their body weight over the course of 48 weeks on the highest dosage, according to a mid-stage study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Participants lost an average of 58 pounds over the course of 11 months—every participant on the highest dose lost at least 5% and a quarter lost 30% or more of their weight.
In the second study published in the Lancet, researchers found retatrutide not only saw significant weight reductions in people with type 2 diabetes, but it made improvements in glycemic control as well.
Participants lost an average of 17% of their body weight in nine months, which is remarkable as it’s typically more difficult for type 2 diabetics to lose weight compared to others with obesity or who are overweight.
The drug’s side effects are similar to other medications in its class—like Ozempic, Mounjaro and Wegovy—which are mostly gastrointestinal and include mild to moderate nausea, constipation, vomiting and diarrhea.
42.4%. That’s how many Americans have obesity, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 30.7% are overweight and 9.2% are severely obese.
“These phase two data have given us confidence to further explore the potential of retatrutide in phase three trials that will look beyond weight reduction and focus on treating obesity and its complications comprehensively,” Dan Skovronsky, ELI Lilly’s chief medical and scientific officer, said in a statement.
Though retatrutide is in the same class as other weight loss medications, what sets it apart is that it targets three different hunger-regulating hormones. Ozempic and Wegovy are only glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, which are a type of drug used to treat diabetes and weight loss. Mounjaro is a GLP-1 receptor agonist and mimics glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), which is a hormone that helps release food after eating. Retatrutide takes it a step further by also mimicking the glucagon receptor. Glucagon regulates glucose and lipid metabolism, which in turn promotes weight loss, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Insight. Retatrutide’s “triple G” effects may potentially be what’s setting it apart from similar medications. Mounjaro was shown to produce up to 22.5% of body fat reduction and semaglutide (the generic name for Wegovy and Ozempic) resulted in body fat reductions of up to 15%.
What To Watch For
Though trial results are promising, it’ll likely take years before retatrutide is up for approval from the Food and Drug Administration because it has to complete longer phase three trials, which can last up to 2025.
Eli Lilly’s success in the weight loss drug space has boosted the company and made it a frontrunner in the weight loss industry, which experts predict will reach $100 billion by the end of the decade.
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