A ‘trusted’ new drug could transform the lives of millions of diabetes patients, researchers have suggested today.
Tirezapatide works by mimicking hormones that help control blood sugar and suppress appetite, helping people shed pounds.
It has been shown to be more effective than other similar medicines, including those on the NHS.
But recent data presented at medical conferences show it can work as quickly as 12 weeks.
Scientists involved in the analysis said the once-a-week jab was producing results ‘better than anything we’ve seen so far’.
By mimicking hormones in the body, tirzepatide helps people feel full and satisfied after a meal.
These are often low-grade obese patients and comprise the majority of type 2 diabetics.
In addition to helping people feel full, the drug helps control diabetes by helping the body control diabetes by removing excess sugar from the body and stopping the liver from making and releasing excess sugar.
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to blindness and can cause patients to have a limb amputated or fall into a coma.
Scientists have hailed a clinical trial of tirzepatide, sold under the brand name Munjaro, for ‘amazing’ weight loss and diabetes treatment results.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a common disease that causes high blood sugar (glucose) levels.
It can cause symptoms such as excessive thirst, excessive urination and fatigue. It can also increase your risk of serious problems with your eyes, heart, and nerves.
It is a lifelong condition that can affect your daily life. You may need to change your diet, take medications, and have regular checkups.
It is caused by a chemical (hormone) in the body called insulin. It is often associated with obesity or inactivity or a family history of type 2 diabetes.
As obesity has increased over the past few decades, so has type 2 diabetes.
According to data, around 5 million Britons are infected and 29 million people in the United States.
Medicines are already available to fight the disease, but the new analysis suggests that tirzepatide, sold under the brand name Munjaro and made by the US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, may provide better and faster improvement for those affected.
The new data comes from two trials that compared doses of 5mg, 10mg or 15mg with two different existing drugs.
The dose of tirzepatide was increased by 2.5 mg every four weeks until the necessary strength was achieved and then for approximately one year of trials.
One trial involved nearly 1,500 people with type 2 diabetes.
Participants in this trial were randomly assigned to receive either a once-weekly or daily insulin injection of one of three different doses of tirzepatide.
Another trial compared three doses of tirzepatide with another weekly weight-loss and semaglutide for diabetes. It involved 1,800 participants.
Recipients of tirzepatide achieved the key level of blood sugar control, a hemoglobin A1c level of less than 7 percent, an average of four weeks faster than semaglutide.
In addition, participants on tirzepatide recorded hemoglobin A1c levels that were 6.5% lower over the 12 weeks prior to daily insulin jabs.
Similar findings were also recorded for weight loss in the semaglutide trial.
Research suggests that a weekly obesity jab can cut the risk of diabetes in half and lead to adequate weight loss.
A landmark review suggests that a weekly dose of the anti-obesity drug Jabis can more than halve the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Patients can inject themselves with semaglutide, which works by hijacking the brain to suppress appetite and reduce calorie intake.
Participants who were overweight and obese had a 61 percent lower risk of exposure than normal doses.
A drug called Wegovi has been approved for use in the UK after it was shown to help patients lose an average of 15 per cent of their body weight with 2st 7lb.
Around 4.5 million people in England live with type 2 diabetes, which costs the NHS more than £10 billion a year.
Researchers conducted a new analysis of data from two previous trials of semaglutide to evaluate its effect on the condition.
Study leader Dr Timothy Garvey said an average weight loss of 15 per cent ‘is sufficient to treat or prevent many obesity-related complications that affect health and quality of life’. He added that this effect is ‘a game changer for obesity medicine’.
People on the 10mg and 15mg doses of tirzepatide lost 5% of their total body weight after 12 weeks.
This was half the time compared to participants semaglutide.
Dr Addie Viljoen, consultant metabolic physician and chemical pathologist at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, who led the analysis, said tirzepatide was producing ‘impressive’ results.
‘The speed we’re seeing in glucose-lowering and weight-loss is faster than anything we’ve ever had,’ he said.
It puts adults with type 2 diabetes in a better position to prevent long-term complications.
Even modest weight loss of 5 percent of initial body weight is associated with clinically significant improvements in weight-related health issues for many individuals.
‘For people with type 2 diabetes to be able to achieve these health improvements in half the time is amazing.’
However, it is important to remember that the injection is not a silver bullet, and should be used in conjunction with diet and exercise.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or when the insulin it does produce does not work properly, causing high blood sugar levels.
It can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, increased risk of stroke, kidney problems, eye problems and nerve damage.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is genetic, type 2 diabetes is primarily caused by obesity. It can also be reversed with a healthy lifestyle.
Tirezapatide mimics two hormones in the body, one called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists and one called glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, or GIP.
GLP-1 receptor agonists have been used for ten years and have revolutionized the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Participants in clinical trials reported experiencing side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when taking tirzepatide, although these often occurred when doses were increased.
The drug is currently approved as a prescription diabetes drug in the US, although Eli Lilly is believed to be seeking approval to use it as a weight-loss drug.
It is said to cost about £843 ($975) for a four-week course but is not currently approved for use in the UK.
The authors of the recent analysis noted several limitations of their study, such as clinical trials, particularly because they were not designed to compare glycemic control and weight loss between drugs, so the results should be interpreted with caution.
The analysis, funded by Eli Lilly, will be presented at the European Diabetes Research Conference in Sweden from September 19 to 23.