A pharmacist displays a box of Mounjaro, an injectable tirzepatide drug used to treat type 2 diabetes made by Lilly at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, May 29, 2023.
George Frey | Reuters
The blockbuster diabetes drug Mounjaro is more effective for weight loss than another wildly popular treatment, Ozempic, in overweight or obese adults, according to great resolution of the actual data released on Monday.
Patients receiving Eli Lilly‘small Mujaro were significantly more likely to lose weight and saw greater reductions in body weight at specific time points compared to those who had started Novo Nordisk‘s Ozempic at study with Truveta Research. The company aggregates and analyzes patient data from a collection of healthcare systems.
The results come as both the drug and similar treatments approved for weight loss are growing in demand in the US for their ability to help patients shed unwanted pounds over time. Wider adoption has boosted shares of Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk this year.
Mounjaro and Ozempic are only approved to treat type 2 diabetes, but many people use the weekly injections off-label to lose weight.
Previous frontal studies have also suggested that Mounjaro is more effective than Ozempic for weight loss and blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes.
But Monday’s study confirms Mounjaro’s superiority over Ozempic in a real-world setting, especially among adults who are overweight or obese. It is worth noting that, according to Truveta Research, head-to-head clinical trials in this population are not yet available.
Eli Lilly is taking on Mounjaro with Wegovy, a higher-dose version of Ozempic approved for weight loss, in a clinical trial in progress in obese or overweight patients. But the results won’t be announced until next year.
“We were able to compare the effectiveness of these two important weight loss medications before randomized clinical trials,” said Dr. Nick Stucky, study author and vice president of Truveta Research, in the statement. “This study can help inform patient care and outcomes today, not months from now.”
Truveta Research looked at specific healthcare data for about 18,000 adults who are overweight or obese and first started taking Mounjaro or Ozempic between May 2022 and September 2023. Nearly 52% of these patients had type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found that patients taking Mounjaro were three times more likely to lose 15% of their weight than those taking Ozempic. Patients in Mounjaro were also 2.6 times more likely to achieve 10% weight loss and 1.8 times more likely to lose 5% of their weight.
Those who received Mounjaro also experienced “significantly greater reductions” in body weight at specific time points, according to Truveta Research.
At three months, patients on Mounjaro lost 5.9% of their weight, while those on Ozempic lost 3.6%. At six months, people receiving Mounjaro lost 10.1% of their weight, while patients receiving Ozempic lost 5.9%. And at one year, those on Mounjaro lost 15.2% of their weight, while those on Ozempic lost 7.9%.
The Truveta study also found that patients without type 2 diabetes lost more weight than those with the condition. But the differences in efficacy between Mounjaro and Ozempic were similar in both populations.
Rates of gastrointestinal adverse events were similar between patients receiving Mounjaro and Ozempic.
Mounjaro and Ozempic are both weekly injections that change the way patients eat and lead to reduced appetite by mimicking certain hormones in the gut. Both have corresponding weight-loss drugs that use the same active ingredient: Eli Lilly’s recently approved Zepbound and Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy.
Ozempic and Wegovy only mimic a hunger-regulating hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1, also known as GLP-1, which increases feelings of fullness and lowers blood sugar levels.
Meanwhile, Mounjaro and Zepbound mimic GLP-1 and another hormone in the gut called glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, or GIP.
The dual approach means that Mounjaro and Zepbound have an enhanced effect on regulating appetite and blood sugar levels. experts could potentially lead to more significant weight loss than drugs that target only GLP-1.
In a late-stage study of more than 2,500 adults with obesity but not diabetes, those who received 5 milligrams of Zepbound for 72 weeks lost about 16% of their body weight on average. Higher doses of the drug were associated with even greater weight loss, with a 15-milligram dose leading to an average weight loss of 22.5%.
More than two in five adults are obese, according to the National Institutes of Health.
About one in 11 adults is severely obese.