Tirzepatide For Weight Loss

Eli Lilly product Tirzepatide recently completed a Phase III trial called SURMOUNT-1 during which overweight participants taking the once weekly 15 mg injection lost an average of 52 lbs. or 22.5% of their body weight. The drug also comes in a 5 mg dosage which produced an average 35 lb. weight loss and a 10 mg dosage which produced an average 49 lb. weight loss.

The SURMOUNT-1 study was comprised of 2,539 overweight or obese adults who had at least one other co-morbid health risk factor, but were not Type II Diabetics, including hypertension, heart disease, elevated lipids and obstructive sleep apnea. The drug was added to a reduced calorie diet and an exercise regimen. They initially received 2.5mg once a week for four weeks and then gradually increased the dosage. The study ran for 72 weeks. Those patients with prediabetes were allowed to remain in the program for an additional 104 weeks.

The major side effects were all related to the gastrointestinal tract including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The higher dosages produced more adverse effects. The drug outperformed Ozempic or Wegovy in head to head tests including weight loss and reduction in hemoglobin A1C. The price of the drug may be the most adverse effect costing just under $1,000 a month retail. Eli Lilly has a program for those in need to reduce the price to $25 a week.

This adds another successful weight loss medication to the field now dominated by Semaglutide drugs.

New Drug Shows Weight Loss Promise – Just in Time for the Holidays

Thomas Walden, PhD of the Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania presented data on weight loss at a Bariatric Medicine meeting held remotely called ObesityWeek. It was reported this week on Medscape Medical News.

Using the diabetic drug semaglutide (Ozempic), they demonstrated that 75% of the 611 participants lost 10 % or more of their baseline body weight. When they used the higher diabetic dosage, 55% of the participants lost more than 15% of their initial body weight and 36% lost greater than 20%.

Diabetic drugs have been used off-label for years for weight loss. Byetta and Trulicity work to reduce weight as well. The real problem with these medications is cost – with a month of Ozempic costing $800 – $900 while the other two (Trulicity and Byetta) are more expensive than that.

We know weight loss helps diabetics and hypertensives improve their control and health but there are a limited number of drugs you can safely give a 55 year-old with these types of medical conditions. I was surprised and perplexed when a local bariatric specialist started my 64 year-old patient on an amphetamine for three weeks with their heart rate accelerating and blood pressure elevating characteristics.

In patients, 55 or older, I believe in nutritional counseling first. We have experienced dietitians locally both at our hospitals and private practice who will teach you how to eat correctly and work you to develop a personal weight loss plan.

The retail diets like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and NutriSystem work and are safe. However, not all retail diets provide behavioral coaching which is a crucial component for losing weight safely and maintaining the weight loss (not yo-yo dieting).

I have twice now experienced great success with OPTAVIA.  The program incorporates Healthy Habits which is an innovative and proven lifestyle approach which gets your mind and body working together.  A health coach provides you with personalized guidance for maximum effectiveness.

Their plan uses five of their “fueling meals” plus one “lean and green meal” you prepare per day.  Following their plan, I have lost more than 35 pounds, in just three months.

I have recently signed up to be an OPTAVIA coach for those patients interested in this program and requiring help and encouragement along the way. Losing the weight is always easier than keeping it off for a “foodaholic” like me but with their maintenance program, and hopefully some discipline, I will keep it off this time.

Happy Holidays to all my patients, colleagues and friends. If you would like to shed those extra pounds, and live healthier, just give me a call. We will discuss the program and how you would benefit from it.