Tirzepatide treatment results in successful weight loss regardless of obesity-related complications

Having medical conditions linked to obesity does not impact the total weight loss achieved with the anti-obesity medication tirzepatide, according to an industry-supported study being presented Saturday at ENDO 2024, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in Boston, Mass. 

Obesity causes or worsens over 200 diseases. It has been widely believed that when patients suffer multiple medical problems, they are not able to lose as much weight as those without medical issues. The new study, funded by tirzepatide maker Eli Lilly Inc., was designed to see if having more obesity-associated diseases results in less weight loss.

Overall, tirzepatide treatment resulted in significant weight loss, regardless of the number of obesity-related complications patients had at the outset of the study."

Sriram Machineni, M.D., lead researcher of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y.

Tirzepatide, a once-weekly GLP-1 receptor agonist, was approved in November 2023 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under the trade name Zepbound for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol). Tirzepatide was previously approved by the FDA under the trade name Mounjaro to treat type 2 diabetes.

The researchers combined the results from four different trials. The designs of each study and the patient characteristics were different, but all the patients had obesity. There were a total of 4,726 subjects, all of whom either had obesity (a body mass index, or BMI, of greater than 30), or overweight (a BMI of at least 27) along with an obesity-related medical condition. A subset of 938 subjects from one of the four trials had type 2 diabetes.

The weight losses achieved in the tirzepatide groups were classified by the number of obesity-related conditions (no other medical conditions, one such condition, or two or more) compared to patients who received a placebo.

Participants who were older or had obesity for longer had a greater number of obesity-related comorbidities, as would be expected. Greater reductions in body weight were seen in participants treated with tirzepatide compared with placebo, regardless of the presence of other obesity-related conditions.

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