The American Medicines Agency (FDA) announced Wednesday evening that it had approved a long-awaited drug against obesity, from the American group Eli Lilly. Marketed under the name Zepbound, this treatment is administered by injection once a week.
The molecule used, tirzepatide, demonstrated much greater weight loss than with other drugs and was already used against type 2 diabetes under the name Mounjaro.
She belongs to a new generation of treatments mimicking a gastrointestinal hormone (GLP-1) that activates receptors in the brain that play a role in regulating appetite. Given its effectiveness, it was prescribed by some doctors for weight loss, outside of official recommendations.
For obese or overweight people with a related health problem
Using tirzepatide, but at a different dosage, Zepbound is now authorized in the United States to treat obese people, as well as overweight people suffering at the same time from a related health problem (type 2 diabetes). , high cholesterol or hypertension). Its use should be combined with exercise and a low-calorie diet, specifies the FDA. The American agency also warns against possible side effects: nausea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, etc.
Available nationwide “by the end of the year,” Eli Lilly hopes, Zepbound will be sold for $1,066 per month. This expensive price, similar to that of treatments in the same class, poses a problem of access for patients, because anti-obesity drugs are generally not reimbursed by health insurance in the United States.
A $140 billion market
“Broader access to these medicines is crucial,” Mike Mason, an executive at the company, said in a statement. “That’s why Lilly is committed to working with healthcare, government and industry partners to ensure that people who can benefit from Zepbound can have access to it. » Especially since, according to several experts, the treatment must be taken long term, or even very long term, otherwise the lost pounds will be regained. In the United States, approximately 40% of adults suffer from obesity.
New anti-obesity drugs represent a $140 billion market by 2032, according to a JP Morgan analysis. This market is dominated by two laboratories, Eli Lilly and the Danish Novo Nordisk, which uses the semaglutide, also GLP-1 analogue. The anti-diabetic produced by Novo Nordisk, Ozempic, has recently experienced periodic stock shortages, after causing a furore on social networks for its slimming properties. This craze raises fears that people who are not clearly overweight will use Mounjaro or Zepbound to lose a few extra pounds.