Hormone mimics have benefits that go above and beyond those of the effective weight-loss injections already available. When obesity develops, the adipocytes—lipid-storing cells (orange; artificially colored)—grow larger.
Two new medications for the treatment of obesity are expected to hit the market in the coming years, and they provide benefits beyond those of the very successful blockbuster medications presently available. The first, known as orforglipron, is simpler to create and use, and it will likely be less expensive than current treatments. Retatrutide, the second drug, has a previously unheard-of level of effectiveness and might set new standards for pharmacological obesity treatments.
Endocrinologist Daniel Drucker of the University of Toronto in Canada, who was not involved in the new studies on either medicine, claims that “they’re both breakthroughs.”
The American Diabetes Association meeting this month and the New England Journal of Medicine both released findings from phase II clinical studies of both medications1,2. Phase II studies offer information on a drug’s effectiveness and recommended dosage in a select group of patients.
Retatrutide and orforglipron both imitate hormones made by the gut lining in response to specific foods. By acting on brain receptors, these hormones help to slow food’s transit through the digestive system and reduce hunger, both of which help people feel fuller for longer and lose weight.
The medications belong to a group of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. Drugs of this type were initially developed to treat diabetes, with weight loss as a pleasant side effect. Two GLP-1 receptor agonists that cause significant weight reduction have been available on the market for around five years.
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