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Tirzepatide Aids Weight Loss Regardless of Obesity-Related Complications

Anti-obesity medication tirzepatide is effective at aiding weight loss even if a patient suffers from diabetes or other obesity-related complications, a new study has found.

Suffering from some of the many health conditions associated with obesity does not prevent tirzepatide — the active ingredient in weight loss drug Zepbound — from working, according to new research.

The new study, conducted by the Endocrine Society and funded by tirzepatide maker Eli Lilly Inc., aimed to determine the impact of having obesity-related diseases on the drug’s ability to induce weight loss. Obesity is known to cause or worsen more than 200 diseases, and it’s long been said that suffering from multiple medical issues can make it more difficult to lose weight.

The study demonstrated that isn’t necessarily the case, however.

“Overall, tirzepatide treatment resulted in significant weight loss, regardless of the number of obesity-related complications patients had at the outset of the study,” said lead researcher Sriram Machineni, M.D., of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, in a news release.

Researchers conducted four separate trials to get these results, examining 4,726 subjects, all of whom either had obesity or overweight along with an obesity-related medical condition. A subset of 938 subjects from one of the four trials also had type 2 diabetes.

The researchers looked at how many medical conditions participants had and how much weight they lost while taking tirzepatide and compared the results with patients who received a placebo.

They found that while older patients or those who’d had obesity for longer had more obesity-related medical conditions, all participants treated with tirzepatide experienced greater weight loss than those treated with the placebo regardless of their other health conditions.

Tirzepatide, a GLP-1 antagonist, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2023 under the name Zepbound for weight management in those with obesity or overweight and at least one other related medical condition. Mounjaro, approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes, also contains tirzepatide as its active ingredient.

Both drugs have faced shortages recently as demand for GLP-1 antagonists continues to increase.

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