Tirzepatide, the new FDA-approved medication for weight loss?
It was announced in October of this year that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designation of the FDA approval process for tirzepatide to treat adults with obesity, or overweight with weight-related comorbidities.
Tirzepatide is a once-weekly GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) receptor and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonist. Tirzepatide is a single novel molecule that activates the body's receptors for GIP and GLP-1, which are natural incretin hormones. GIP is a hormone that may complement the effects of GLP-1 receptor agonism. GIP has been shown to decrease food intake while blunting the metabolic adaptive responses that usually occur with calorie restriction resulting in weight reductions, and when combined with GLP-1 receptor agonism, may result in greater effects on markers of metabolic dysregulation such as body weight, glucose, and lipids. Tirzepatide is in Phase 3 development for adults with obesity, or overweight with weight-related comorbidity.
How it works?!
GLP-1 and GIP are gut hormones called incretins, and the intestines release them when we eat. Incretins stimulate the secretion of insulin from the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells, which are called beta cells.
GLP-1 increases the release of insulin from the pancreas. It also reduces levels of glucagon, a hormone that prevents blood sugar from decreasing too much.
Another role of GLP-1 is increasing the number and volume of beta cells in the pancreas. It also promotes a feeling of fullness by delaying stomach emptying and controlling appetite in the brain.
Like GLP-1, GIP increases insulin release. It also improves beta cell production and decreases beta cell destruction. Additionally, GIP reduces fat accumulation, increases bone formation, increases glucagon production, and reduces acid secretion in the stomach.
When will it be FDA approved for weightloss?
While Tirzepatide is FDA-approved for treating diabetes right now, remember that it is on Fast Track Designation. Therefore, it will likely get full approval in 6 months (by the summer of 2023) for weight loss in overweight/obese non-diabetic patients as we already have solid evidence of tackling the problem with GLP-1 receptor agonists.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our clinic.
It is important to have blood work performed prior to beginning this medication to assess liver and kidney function as well as assist in identifying any additional underlying health conditions.