FDA Approved Tirzepatide as a Weightloss Drug!

Dec 16, 2023
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval to Eli Lilly’s tirzepatide, a drug initially designed for treating Type 2 diabetes, for weight loss. This regulatory green light opens the door to broader utilization of the medication, marking a significant development in the treatment landscape.

Formerly known as Mounjaro, tirzepatide’s active ingredient, the drug is now set to be marketed as Zepbound for adults grappling with obesity or being overweight with at least one weight-related condition. The approval addresses a previously unmet medical need, offering a novel approach to chronic weight management.

Zepbound operates through a weekly injection, gradually increasing dosage over four to 20 weeks to achieve target doses of 5, 10, or 15 milligrams per week. Its mechanism involves activating two naturally produced hormones—glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). This combination is purported to extend the feeling of fullness, suppress appetite, and slow hunger signals in the brain.

The FDA’s decision stems from two late-stage trials by Eli Lilly, evaluating tirzepatide’s impact on weight loss over 72 weeks. Results indicated substantial weight loss, with a 16% average loss for those taking a 5-milligram dose and even greater losses with higher doses, including a 22.5% reduction with a 15-milligram dose. Another study demonstrated up to a 15.7% weight loss among individuals with obesity or overweight and Type 2 diabetes.

However, despite the promising therapeutic outcomes, challenges persist. Zepbound’s list price is set at approximately $1,060 per month, with Eli Lilly addressing potential financial barriers through a commercial savings card program. Insurance coverage remains crucial, given the variations in out-of-pocket costs for patients.

A broader issue looms as insurance companies opt to exclude weight loss drugs from their plans, citing exorbitant coverage costs. This decision prompts a closer examination of available data, such as the cardiovascular benefits of similar drugs like Wegovy, to influence coverage policies.

Additionally, ongoing supply constraints for tirzepatide pose operational challenges. While Eli Lilly reports an improvement in Mounjaro’s supply in the U.S., international availability remains tight. The introduction of Zepbound into the market raises questions about potential strains on tirzepatide’s overall supply.

Zepbound, like other weight loss drugs, is not without side effects. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and allergic reactions are associated with its use. The FDA highlights potential thyroid C-cell tumor risks in rats, cautioning against Zepbound usage in specific patient groups.

In conclusion, the FDA’s approval of Zepbound marks a significant milestone in the obesity treatment landscape. While the drug showcases promise in addressing weight-related conditions, its widespread adoption faces hurdles related to pricing, insurance coverage, and supply chain dynamics.


•FDA Approval of Tirzepatide
•Eli Lilly Press Release
•Insurance Challenges for Weight Loss Drugs
•Cardiovascular Benefits of Wegovy
•Supply Constraints for Tirzepatide
•Zepbound Side Effects and Warnings