You may have heard of the amazing new products on the market to help with diabetes and weight loss. Semaglutide (Wegovy and Ozempic) was FDA approved in 2017 and has worked wonderfully for many people. Until now, semaglutide has been considered the newest and the most powerful weight loss medication, but now there is another option, tirzepatide, that appears to produce even greater weight loss by stimulating two satiety hormone receptors instead of just one.
What is tirzepatide?
Tirzepatide is a new medication that was FDA approved in May 2022 to treat Type 2 diabetes. It’s a once-weekly injection. When used along with diet and lifestyle changes, it can help lower blood sugar (glucose) levels.
In addition to treating Type 2 diabetes, tirzepatide has been shown to help with weight loss in people without diabetes. A clinical trial of over 2,500 people with obesity or overweight experienced significant weight loss with weekly tirzepatide. Those treated with tirzepatide had an average weight loss of 15% to 20% of their starting body weight over 72 weeks (about 16 and a half months). Those taking the placebo (an injection with no medication in it) only had an average of 3% weight loss.
How does tirzepatide work?
Tirzepatide is unique because it’s the first combination of two classes of medications: a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist and a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor agonist. Therefore, tirzepatide is known as a dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist. It works by impacting your body’s insulin levels, blood sugar production, and hunger hormones.
GLP-1 and GIP are both incretin hormones, which are hormones that are released after eating. Tirzepatide works by mimicking their effects. This includes telling the pancreas to release insulin after eating and signaling the liver to lower the amount of glucose it’s making. These effects help you feel full, slow down digestion, and lower blood sugar.
How does tirzepatide cause weight loss?
In addition to helping lower blood sugar, tirzepatide helps with weight loss in a few ways:
- It signals to the brain that you’re full — so you eat less.
- It slows the movement of food through your stomach — so you feel full longer.
Other similar injectable weight loss medications only mimic one incretin — GLP-1. It’s thought that because tirzepatide acts like two incretins, it can cause more weight loss than current alternatives.
Tirzepatide has attracted attention for dramatic weight loss results, including a clinical trial that found patients lost 20% of their body weight in 16 months while using it.
The study results are a game-changing level of weight loss typically unheard of without weight loss surgery, Dr. Robert Gabbay, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association, told USA Today.
If you would like to talk about tirzepatide to help you on your health journey, call our office to schedule to a consultation today.