Woman standing on scales depicting weight loss

MHRA green lights diabetes drug for weight loss treatment

Obese and overweight patients are set to benefit from the diabetes treatment, tirzepatide, following new approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The medicine, marketed as Mounjaro, has been given the green light for weight loss and weight management in adults aged 18 and over.

This comes after clinical trial data showed that people treated with tirzepatide achieved significantly better weight loss results than those with a placebo.

In one study, over 2,500 obese or overweight adults with at least one weight-related complication were given either 5mg, 10mg or 15mg of tirzepatide on a weekly basis, or a placebo.

The 72-week period resulted in the average weight change being:

  • -16% for 5mg
  • -21.4% for 10mg
  • -22.5% for 15mg
  • -2.4% for the placebo

“We have prioritised rapid assessment of this new indication for Mounjaro, given the public health importance of access to new medicines to help tackle obesity.”

MHRA’s interim executive director for healthcare quality and access, Julian Beach, said: “We have drawn on advice from the independent Commission on Human Medicines in coming to our decision, and as with all products, will keep the safety of Mounjaro under close review.”

The treatment will be made available for those with a BMI of 30kg/m2 or more, as well as between 27-30kg/m2.

It has been recommended to be used in conjunction with reduced calorie diets and increased exercise.

The medicine works by regulating people’s appetite, allowing them to feel fuller for longer and thus experience fewer food cravings.

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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