An experimental drug Retatrutide, also called "triple G", has helped patients with obesity lose an average of 24 per cent of body weight on the highest dosage over 48 weeks, a study showed. The drug is being developed by Indianapolis-based drug company Eli Lilly.
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the phase 2 trial of the drug was conducted on 338 adults who were obese, and they received either Retatrutide or a placebo each week. Retatrutide is a once-weekly injection, but it may soon be made in the form of pills.
The patients who took 12 milligrams (MG) lost around 41 pounds or 17.5 per cent of their body weight in 24 weeks. Those who were on a placebo lost 1.6 per cent.
After 48 weeks, the patients who were administered the drug lost 58 pounds or 24.2 per cent of their body weight. At the same time, those on placebo lost a much lower 2.1 per cent.
"Triple G" is part of a drug class known as incretins designed to mimic the action of the GLP-1 hormone. This hormone helps regulate blood sugar, slow stomach emptying and decrease appetite.
Another weight loss drug by Eli Lilly, Mounjaro, is awaiting approval from the US regulators. Its trials showed a weight loss of 22.5 per cent over 72 weeks.
As compared to Mounjaro, which targets GLP-1 and a second hormone GIP, Retatrutide targets GLP-1, GIP and a third hormone, glucagon.
The company is now looking for candidates for the third phase of trials for "triple G".
In a statement, as reported by the news agency Reuters, the company's chief scientist and medical officer, Dan Skovronsky, said, "These phase 2 data have given us the confidence to further explore the potential of Retatrutide in phase 3 trials that will look beyond weight reduction and focus on treating obesity and its complications comprehensively."
Some patients in the trial showed results beyond weight loss. Almost three-fourths of those who started it with pre-diabetes had reached a normal blood sugar level after 48 weeks.
However, there were some side effects on the patients under trial. This included nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting, which worsens with a higher dose. Moreover, one patient had elevated liver enzymes, and another had a case of acute pancreatitis.
Apart from Eli Lilly, several other companies are working on making weight loss drugs. This includes Denmark's Novo Nordisk and USA's Pfizer.