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FDA authorizes use of diabetes drug tirzepatide for weight loss

Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized the use of a new weight-management treatment offered by Indiana-based drug maker Lilly.

FDA officials authorized Zepbound, the brand name for tirzepatide that is manufactured by Indianapolis-based Lilly, for approval to be prescribed as a weight-management treatment, paving the way for more people to gain access to pharmaceutical options for weight loss.

Zepbound already is FDA-approved as a treatment for diabetes under the trade name Mounjaro.

"In light of increasing rates of both obesity and overweight in the United States, today's approval addresses an unmet medical need," said the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director John Sharretts.

According to the FDA, Zepbound works by activating hormone receptors in the intestinal tract to suppress appetite.

In medical trials, non-diabetic participants taking the medication lost about 18% of body weight in comparison to participants taking a placebo.

Treatments for obesity that also serve as diabetes medication have been controversial in the past because of criticism from medical professionals that they can affect supply chains for diabetic patients when the medicines are prescribed off-label.

In June, the FDA listed Mounjaro as experiencing some supply chain issues.

Lilly leadership celebrated Wednesday's approval.

"Research now shows that the body may respond to a calorie-deficit diet by increasing hunger and reducing feelings of fullness, making weight loss more difficult. Lilly is aiming to eliminate misperceptions about this disease and transform how it can be managed," said Lilly Diabetes and Obesity's president of global medical affairs Leonard Glass.