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Another Weight Loss Drug Could Soon Join Ozempic in U.S.

April 27, 2023 — A diabetes drug could soon gain FDA approval for weight loss after manufacturer Eli Lilly said Thursday it showed patients lost significant amounts of weight after 72 weeks of treatment. 

The drug, tirzepatide, helped patients in the study lose up to 15.7% of their body weight in a phase III trial. The trial evaluated 938 adults with obesity or overweight and type 2 diabetes, Lilly said in a news release. 

The patients lost an average of 13.4% of their body weight (29.8 pounds) on a 10-milligram dose and 15.7% (34.4 pounds) on a 15-milligram dose compared to placebo.

The company said it will present the full results of the study at an upcoming American Diabetes Association meeting and will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. Lilly said that based on the results, it will request regulatory approval from the FDA “in the coming weeks,” and expects the FDA to act by late this year. 

Tirzepatide is a class of drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. There other drugs like this already approved in the United States for weight loss, including semaglutide, a once-weekly injection, which is approved as Wegovy for patients with obesity and as Ozempic for treatment of type 2 diabetes.

These drugs have been incredibly popular among celebrity influencers, and with use of the #Ozempic hashtag and others on social media, has led to unprecedented use of these drugs for weight loss, often among those who do not have obesity or type 2 diabetes. The popularity has left patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity struggling to find them because of shortages following this phenomenon.

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