In recent months, there has been an increasing interest in using diabetes medications to treat weight loss.
Drugs with brand names like Ozempic and Wegovy have become so popular with Hollywood celebrities and TikTokers; it has led to nationwide shortage for diabetics.
But the anti-obesity craze is about to be rocked by another major development. According to manufacturer Eli Lilly, the diabetes drug Mounjaro could be approved for weight loss by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later this year. The company just completed a late-stage trial of the weight-loss drug and found that participants lost more than that 50 pounds in almost 17 months.
“We haven’t seen this amount of weight reduction,” Dr. Nadia Ahmad, Lilly’s medical director of obesity clinical development. CBS news.
Analysts predict that Mounjaro, generic tirzepatide, could become one of the best-selling drugs ever. Evaluate Pharma estimates as much as $50 billion in revenue by 2028. To put this in perspective, Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic and Wegovy, reported combined sales of about $2.4 billion in 2022.
How does Mounjaro work?
Mounjaro was approved by the FDA last year for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Patients take it by injection once a week. The drug works by activating two hormones naturally produced in the body that help reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness. It also curbs craving signals that are chemically sent from the gut to the brain.
“Psychologically, you don’t want to eat,” says Matthew Barlow, a health technology manager, told CBS News. “Now I can eat two bites of dessert and be satisfied.”
While studies have shown the drugs to be safe, side effects include nausea and constipation.
Mounjaro is not cheap. A monthly dose can run up to $1,400. But if the FDA approves it for weight loss, people prescribed the drug for obesity could be more easily covered by insurance.