New Type 2 diabetes medicine helps maintain blood sugar level, weight targets faster

Sep 18, 2022

Washington [US], September 18 : In comparison to other diabetic medications, tirzepatide accomplishes blood sugar control and weight loss goals more quickly, according to new research examining the time needed to attain blood glucose targets.
According to the most recent analyses of the SURPASS-2 and SURPASS-3 trials, adults treated with different doses of injectable tirzepatide (5, 10, and 15 mg) reached blood glucose targets about four weeks sooner than those treated with injectable semaglutide (1 mg), and between four and 12 weeks sooner than those treated with once-daily insulin (degludec; iDe). These findings were presented at this year's European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting in Stockholm.
According to the lead author Dr Adie Viljoen, a Consultant Metabolic Physician and Chemical Pathologist from the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust in the UK, "Tirzepatide is unusual since it duplicates two natural insulin-releasing and appetite-suppressing hormones in one injection."
"The pace we are seeing in glucose-lowering and weight loss is beyond anything else we have right now, and it may put adults with type 2 diabetes in a better position to avoid long-term consequences," he continued. However, it's crucial to keep in mind that these medications should be used in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise.
T2D is a progressive, chronic illness in which the body does not produce or use insulin as it should, causing elevated blood glucose levels. Although there are numerous drugs available to treat diabetes, only around half of US individuals with T2D reach the target haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c; a measure of blood sugar management) of less than 7%. This is despite the fact that more than 30 million Americans have T2D. Higher HbA1c levels are linked to problems such as heart disease, stroke, nephropathy, retinopathy, and nerve disease in the kidneys and eyes (neuropathy).
Tirzepatide is a single molecule that is a member of a novel class of diabetic medications that imitates two hormones, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which are involved in blood sugar regulation and appetite reduction. In May 2022, the US Food and Drug Administration gave it the go-ahead for the treatment of T2D.
The SURPASS-2 and SURPASS-3 trials evaluated long-acting insulin (iDeg) as an add-on therapy to metformin with or without a sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitor, and different doses of tirzepatide (5, 10, and 15 mg) with a once-weekly injectable semaglutide 1 mg (a single hormone, GLP-1 mimic agent) [3].
In general, participants receiving tirzepatide at all doses lowered their HbA1c levels more than participants receiving semaglutide and iDeg, and a higher percentage of participants at 40 weeks (SURPASS-2 and SURPASS-3) and 52 weeks (SURPASS-3) achieved an HbA1c of less than 7% (53 mmol/mol), less than or equal to 6.5 per cent (=48 mmol/mol), and less than 5.7 per cent.
In the most recent analysis comparing the time to attain HbA1c goals from the beginning of the study, researchers discovered that participants receiving tirzepatide accomplished their HbA1c goals of less than 7% and 6.5 per cent or less far more quickly than those taking semaglutide and iDeg (see table in notes to editors).
For all tirzepatide doses, it took an average (median) of 8 weeks to obtain an HbA1c level of less than 7% compared to 12 weeks for both semaglutide and iDeg, and 12 weeks to reach a level of 6.5 or less vs around 16 weeks and 24 weeks, respectively.
Additional SURPASS-2 analysis revealed that patients treated with tirzepatide considerably outperformed semaglutide in terms of weight reduction goals. On the two higher doses of tirzepatide (10 and 15 mg), it took an average of 12 weeks to lose at least 5% of body weight, but semaglutide took 24 weeks (see table in notes to editors).
For many people, Viljoen asserts, "even a moderate weight loss of 5% of starting body weight is associated with clinically substantial improvements in weight-related health concerns." It's very amazing that persons with type 2 diabetes can make these health improvements in about half the time.
Participants taking tirzepatide had mild to moderate gastrointestinal side effects including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. These side effects were most frequently reported during the dose escalation period and got better over time.