American health authorities announced that they had approved on Wednesday November 8 a highly anticipated drug from the American group Eli Lilly against obesity, the latest entrant into a market that has become major for the pharmaceutical industry.
The treatment, which will be marketed as Zepbound in the United States, is administered by injection once a week. The molecule used was already approved against diabetes, but sometimes prescribed outside of official recommendations by certain doctors for weight loss, given its effectiveness.
In a large clinical trial, Zepbound was shown to provide significant weight loss, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement. Zepbound is now authorized for people who are obese, or overweight and have a related health problem (type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension). Its use should be combined with exercise and a low-calorie diet, specifies the FDA.
This drug belongs to a new generation of treatments, mimicking a gastrointestinal hormone (GLP-1) which activates receptors in the brain playing a role in regulating appetite. Eli Lilly's molecule, tirzepatide, was already marketed under the name Mounjaro for people suffering from type 2 diabetes, since FDA authorization in 2022. The Novo Nordisk laboratory uses a molecule called semaglutide, authorized against obesity in the United States since 2021 under the name Wegovy.
Its diabetes counterpart, authorized since 2017 and called Ozempic, has recently experienced periodic stock shortages, after causing a furor on social networks for its weight-loss properties.