Tirzepatide, the active ingredient of a new weight loss Zepbound, significantly lowered blood pressure in patients with obesity.
Taking tirzepatide led to blood pressure reduction by up to 10.6 mm Hg in 36 weeks, according to a study published in the journal Hypertension on February 5.
The study included nearly 500 participants with a body mass index of 27 and higher. About one-third of them reported having hypertension and taking medications to control it.
The participants were divided into groups taking 5, 10, or 15 milligrams of tirzepatide as weekly injections or a placebo.
During the 36-week period, participants on tirzepatide saw significant reductions in systolic blood pressure (the upper number).
Those taking 5 mg tirzepatide had their blood pressure drop by 7.4 mm Hg on average. In the 10 mg and 15 mg tirzepatide groups, the systolic blood pressure decreased by 10.6 mm Hg and 8 mm Hg, respectively.
The findings are part of a larger phase 3 study evaluating Zepbound’s safety and efficacy, sponsored by its manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Company.
A normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg. Hypertension is diagnosed when the systolic blood pressure is ≥140 mmHg and/or the diastolic blood pressure is ≥90 mmHg when measured on two different days.
Obesity causes hypertension
Obesity, especially abdominal, has been consistently associated with increased blood pressure and accounts for 65–78% of cases of primary hypertension. Obesity raises blood pressure through complex mechanisms, including sympathetic nervous system overactivation and insulin resistance.
Weight loss is the first-line treatment for obesity-related hypertension, although few patients achieve success without pharmacological management.
Genetics, older age, and diseases like diabetes can increase the risk of developing hypertension as well, but there are some risk factors that you can control, such as:
- Unhealthy diet high in salt, saturated fat, and trans fats.
- Low intake of fruits and vegetables.
- Physical inactivity.
- Tobacco and alcohol consumption.
How effective is Zepbound?
Tirzepatide is the active ingredient of the type 2 diabetes drug Mounjaro and weight loss drug Zepbound, which belongs to a novel class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists.
In type 2 diabetes patients, the drugs can effectively improve blood sugar levels and reduce weight without raising the risk of hypoglycemia, a condition in which blood sugar levels drop below the standard range.
As weight loss drugs, GLP-1 receptor agonists reduce appetite and food intake. In clinical trials, patients on Zepbound lost up to 18% of their body weight, with other types of GLP-1 receptor agonists yielding similar results.
While being praised for their effectiveness, the drugs also raise concerns about their severe side effects. A 2023 study on GLP-1 receptor agonists associated the drugs with gastrointestinal issues, including pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, and stomach paralysis.
A recent study suggests that GLP-1 receptor agonists may cause rare but severe psychiatric events leading to suicide, although further investigation is needed.
Tirzepatide and other GLP-1 receptor agonists can have significant benefits for type 2 diabetes management, weight loss, and cardiovascular health. However, they should only be taken under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
- Hypertension. Tirzepatide reduces 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure in adults with body mass index ≥27 kg/m2: SURMOUNT-1 ambulatory blood pressure monitoring substudy.
- National Library of Medicine. Obesity-related hypertension: a review of pathophysiology, management, and the role of metabolic surgery.
- WHO. Hypertension.
- Eli Lilly and Company. Lilly's SURMOUNT-1 results published in The New England Journal of Medicine show tirzepatide achieved between 16.0% and 22.5% weight loss in adults with obesity or overweight.