You’ve been great, Ozempic, but we should probably start seeing other drugs.
A new weight-loss drug called retatrutide, currently in clinical trials, may help users lose up to 24% of their body weight.
For some people, that amounted to 58 pounds lost in just 48 weeks.
That compares favorably with Ozempic, which has been shown to help users drop up to 15% of their body weight.
The results from this latest drug trial adds to the frenzy in an overheated market for new weight-loss therapies.
Ozempic and Wegovy were developed to address Type 2 diabetes by mimicking the action of GLP-1, a hormone that suppresses appetite and slows stomach emptying. Mounjaro, another Type 2 diabetes treatment, mimics GLP-1 and GIP, another digestive hormone.
But retatrutide, developed by drugmaker Lilly, mimics the effects of GLP-1 and GIP plus the hormone glucagon, earning it the nickname “triple G.”
And with some users losing almost 60 pounds after 48 weeks of retatrutide, “the results blow out of the water” currently approved medicines, according to Fierce Biotech.
“There is tremendous excitement that triple therapy may finally allow us to address the multiple metabolic factors that affect people who are obese, whether or not they have Type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Arun Sanyal, professor of medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, said in a news release.
The results from a mid-stage trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at this week’s American Diabetes Association meeting in San Diego, are promising.
The trial involved 338 overweight people who took injections of “triple G” retatrutide at varying doses or a placebo. After 48 weeks, the people taking the highest dose lost an average of 24% of their body weight.
And some of the trial participants taking the highest dose lost 30% or more of their body weight. Lilly is now planning phase 3 trials of longer duration with more participants.
Side effects of retatrutide were similar to those of other Type 2 diabetes medication in the same class of drugs: mild to moderate nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and skin tingling.
In addition to helping people with obesity and type 2 diabetes, retatrutide may help people with high blood pressure and fatty liver disease, a condition in which fats build up in the liver.
“With GLP-1, GIP, and now glucagon receptor agonists, we may finally be able to holistically manage the multiple morbidities we see in type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Sanyal.
“The medical community and society as a whole are finally moving away from the idea that obesity is just too many calories,” Dr. Sanyal said, “and accepting the reality that obesity is a medical problem that needs a holistic approach, not just dieting.”
If triple-G retatrutide is approved by the FDA, it could be a blockbuster drug for Lilly, which also makes Mounjaro. The drugmaker is on a “growth spree,” according to Fierce Pharma, and expects its 2023 revenues to be at least $30.3 billion.
“We are committed to this class” of drugs, Michael Mason, Lilly’s diabetes head, said. “We’re committed to helping people with diabetes and long term with obesity, and we’re making the investments to make sure we have the supply to do that.”