The introduction of Wegovy, a weight-loss formulation derived from Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug Ozempic, has led to a surge in sales for both drugs. This success caught the attention of other pharmaceutical companies, prompting them to unveil the results of multiple clinical trials at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association.
Eli Lilly, in particular, presented the findings of trials involving two diabetes drugs: Mounjaro, an injectable drug already available to patients, and orforglipron, which is still in the clinical trial phase. Both drugs demonstrated effectiveness in promoting weight loss.
In a trial published in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine, Novo Nordisk revealed the results of a study on their investigational drug named CagriSema. This drug combines semaglutide (Ozempic) with a newer medication called cagrilintide and proved beneficial in helping individuals with type 2 diabetes shed excess weight.
Of the drugs mentioned, orforglipron from Eli Lilly stands out as it is administered as a once-a-day pill, making it more appealing to users compared to the injectable medications. In a phase 2 trial involving adults with overweight or obesity, orforglipron demonstrated significant weight reduction. Depending on the dosage, 46% to 75% of participants who received orforglipron achieved a weight reduction of at least 10% by week 36, compared to only 9% in the placebo group. Gastrointestinal events were the most common side effects, leading to discontinuation in 10% to 17% of users.
Another phase 2 trial evaluated orforglipron in comparison to the standard diabetes drug dulaglutide and a placebo, with participants having type 2 diabetes. By the end of the trial, individuals taking the 45 mg dose of daily orforglipron experienced an average weight loss of just over 22 pounds, while those on dulaglutide lost an average of 8.6 pounds, and those on placebo lost under 5 pounds. Gastrointestinal issues were more prevalent in the orforglipron group, affecting 44% to just over 70% of users depending on the dosage.
The results presented at the ADA meeting also included data on Mounjaro (tirzepatide), an injectable diabetes drug from Eli Lilly that has been available to patients for some time. In a company-funded clinical trial involving adults with type 2 diabetes and overweight or obesity, participants who received Mounjaro experienced an average weight loss of 15% after 72 weeks of treatment.
Novo Nordisk’s CagriSema, a new injected weight-loss drug combining semaglutide with cagrilintide, demonstrated improved blood sugar control and significant weight loss. By the end of the trial, individuals taking CagriSema lost an average of 15.6% of their weight, outperforming those who received cagrilintide alone or semaglutide alone.
The introduction of these new medications for obesity treatment has been hailed as an exciting development by experts, as effective medications for weight loss have been limited until now. The complex nature of obesity requires a range of treatment options, and having multiple tools available allows for more effective solutions for individuals with varying needs.