Diabetes drug authorised for weight management and loss – MHRA
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved a new use for a diabetes medication to aid in weight management for overweight and obese adults. This decision awaits further endorsement from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Potential Aid for Weight-Related Health Issues
Overweight adults facing health issues like prediabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, or heart disease may benefit from Tirzepatide. NICE needs to conduct a further review before these patients can access the treatment.
Mounjaro: A New Option for Diabetes Patients
NICE has already approved Mounjaro, also known as Tirzepatide, for NHS patients with type 2 diabetes who find it challenging to control their condition. Health Secretary Steve Barclay highlights the need for additional approvals for NHS use. He suggests that Mounjaro, along with diet and exercise, could help many people living with obesity and reduce NHS costs.
How Tirzepatide Works
Tirzepatide helps patients feel full, less hungry, and experience fewer cravings. The MHRA based its approval on clinical trials where Tirzepatide led to significant weight loss compared to a placebo.
Tirzepatide is a medication for treating type 2 diabetes and is also being researched for its potential benefits in weight management. It works by mimicking the effects of incretin hormones, which are natural hormones that help to regulate blood sugar levels. Tirzepatide is a dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. This means it targets both the GIP and GLP-1 receptors that play a role in insulin secretion and appetite regulation.
In people with type 2 diabetes, it aids in improving blood sugar control, and studies have shown that it can lead to significant weight loss, which is why it is being considered for helping obese or overweight individuals without diabetes to lose weight. By activating the GLP-1 receptor, Tirzepatide slows down gastric emptying, which can make a person feel full longer after eating and reduce appetite, leading to a decrease in calorie intake.
The drug is administered via injection, typically once a week, which may be more convenient compared to daily diabetes medications. Its weight loss effects and blood sugar control potential make it a promising medication for improving the health outcomes of individuals with type 2 diabetes and those struggling with obesity.
Considerations and Side Effects
The MHRA cautions that the drug might reduce the effectiveness of contraceptive pills in overweight women. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation count among possible side effects. Diabetic patients may also commonly experience low blood sugar.
Ongoing Monitoring of Mounjaro
Julian Beach from the MHRA emphasizes the quick evaluation of Mounjaro due to the importance of accessible obesity treatments. The MHRA promises to keep monitoring the safety of Mounjaro.
Introduction of Wegovy for Obesity
In September, the UK saw the launch of semaglutide, sold as Wegovy, to help tackle obesity. After NICE’s approval earlier this year, patients can now get Wegovy through specialist services.