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New Diabetes Drug Can Cut Weight Loss by 20%

A new type-2 diabetes drug has been described as ‘game-changing’ and could help diabetic people shed nearly a fifth of their body weight. 


In a 72 week trial run, participants who were given a weekly jab of the new drug - tirzepatide - alongside a healthy diet and an exercise regime lost 3st 10lbs on average. The drug activates two hormones in the body, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, or GIP.


GLP-1 receptor agonists have been used in numerous diabetes treatments of the past decade. Similar diabetes medicine like metformin, mimic naturally occurring hormones involved in digestion and help patients who find they can’t lose weight through diet and exercise alone.


Researchers split the 2,500 study group of overweight and obese people into four group. One group was given 5mg, the other 10mg, 15mg and the other a placebo. Between the participants there was a fairly even split between those with diabetes and those without. 


The results from the trial concluded that over half of the participants in the highest dose group lost 20% of their body weight by the end of the trial. This result means the drug is critical to fighting diabetes, as most medical experts say you need to lose between 15-20% of your weight to gain any health benefits when battling diabetes. 


However, over a third of the participants suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea and it is unclear if their weight will come back once they stop taking the drug. 


The lead author of the research, Dr. Ania Jastrebroff says, ‘We should treat obesity as we treat any chronic disease - with effective and safe approaches which target underlying disease mechanisms - and these results underscore that tirzepatide may be doing just that.'


Unlike other diabetes medication, tirzepatide includes GIP which is the second active ingredient and what experts say makes the new drug so effective. GIP works in a similar way to GLP-1 receptor agonists, mimicking the hormone,  Leptin, helping both stimulate insulin release and absorption of sugar from the blood.


Obesity is one of the biggest health concerns and causes of death in the UK. Data from 2019 showed that at least 64% of adults in the UK were either overweight or obese with Cancer Reserach UK projecting that by 2040 this stat could increase to 71%. 


Obesity is known to be a contributing factor to at least 13 different types of cancer and other serious health issues such as high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes. This costs the NHS roughly £6bn a year. Hopefully this new drug may lower that number.


Image Credit: Diabetes UK

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