Obesity remains a significant public health challenge in the United States and Western industrialized countries. Because of this, the weight loss and weight management sector has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Everywhere you look, you’ll see something about the numerous diets out there promising significant results or how a new exercise program will help you shed fat fast. However, as beneficial as exercise and a proper diet are, there are times when people require more.

In recent years, there has been an uptick in the manufacturing and selling of type 2 diabetes and obesity drugs. Prescription medications like Wegovy, Ozempic, and Mounjaro have become popular names in the market. However, Retratutide is a potentially new drug in this category that has some significant differences that may set it apart from its competitors.

Below, we explore these differences in more detail and highlight what is still unknown about Retratutide.

What Is Retratutide?

Retratutide is an experimental Eli Lilly drug that has shown impressive results in early clinical trials. The drug acts through multiple mechanisms, mimicking GLP-1, GIP, and glucagon, which are naturally occurring hormones in the human body. This combination allows the body to more effectively and quickly break down sugars that have been consumed. In addition, it does this while simultaneously reducing a person’s appetite by signaling satiety to the brain sooner than usual.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this medication has been shown to reduce individuals’ weight. However, the actual magnitude of the weight loss has been astounding. On average, people have reported losing 58 pounds, or roughly 24% of their pre-Retratutide body weight. This amount of weight loss can be life-changing for those dealing with morbid obesity and individuals at risk for weight-related comorbidities, like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

However, it’s important to know that this drug is still in its experimental stage. The drug is still in clinical trials so researchers can learn more about its benefits, side effects, and more.

Who Is Retratutide For?

Retratutide is developed for individuals battling obesity who haven’t succeeded in losing weight with more traditional approaches. By losing weight, it’s expected they’d experience better general health, such as improvements in blood sugar or lipid levels.

Given the impressive amount of weight lost by clinical trial participants, Retratutide is likely the most beneficial for those who are morbidly obese. It’s also worth noting that even though weight loss averaged almost 60 pounds for clinical trial participants, their weight loss had not plateaued by the end of the study. As a result, total weight loss may be even more striking than this 60-pound figure when measured over time.

In addition to treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes, Eli Lilly is also exploring how effective this drug may be in treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease happens when too much fat is stored in the liver. This condition can lead to dangerous consequences, such as scarring, cirrhosis, and even liver failure.

Interestingly, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is often co-morbid with obesity and type 2 diabetes, and at present, the only treatment for it is significant weight loss. Usually, doctors recommend that an individual lose at least 10% of their body weight. Without weight loss assistance, such as with Retratutide, achieving weight loss of this magnitude can be very challenging for some individuals.

How Does Retratutide Work?

Hunger, satiety, and weight are complex and multi-factorial processes in the human body that are controlled by numerous body systems and a host of hormones.

Retratutide works by mimicking some of the most important hormones that help control people’s hunger, including GLP-1, GIP, and glucagon. In scientific terms, the drug is a GIP/GLP-1/Glucagon receptor triagonist.

By acting as a triagonist receptor, Retratutide decreases a person’s appetite and helps send the brain satiety signals sooner than if they were not taking the medication. This would likely reduce the number of calories one would consume daily.

Retratutide has been tested at numerous dosage milligram levels. They’re doing this to determine what level maximizes the benefits, such as weight loss, without encountering side effects, such as dramatic fluctuations in a person’s blood sugar level. No matter what dosage is used, people would start at a low level before gradually increasing the dosage over time.

Retratutide Side Effects

Like with many similar medications that address type 2 diabetes and obesity, Retratutide does have some side effects that individuals may find uncomfortable. The most significant side effects tend to be gastrointestinal and may include nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.

Retratutide’s side effects don’t seem to be dramatically different or worse than what is reported with Wegovy, Ozempic, and Mounjaro. Based on what’s seen so far, most individuals can work through the side effects and continue to use the medication.

One other thing to be concerned about is the impact of losing weight rapidly. Similar drugs have led to undesirable effects, known as Ozempic face or Ozempic butt. This is where ones their face suddenly appears gaunt or their posterior sags due to sudden and dramatic weight loss.

Given how fast the Retratutide weight loss is, users may also experience some of these less-desired changes in body shape.

The Clinical Trial

Results have recently been released from two mid-stage clinical trials. The first study enrolled 338 adults who were obese. The second study involved 281 adults with type 2 diabetes and obesity. Both studies showed significant weight loss.

In the first study, participants, who had a minimum BMI of 30 or a BMI of 27 to 30 with one or more weight-related health conditions, were given one of four potential dosage levels of Retratutide or a placebo. Not surprisingly, those on the highest dose had the most significant weight loss, with many losing up to 30% of their body weight. Perhaps most impressively, everyone at this highest dose lost a minimum of 5% of their body weight.

The results from the second clinical trial mirrored the results from the first study. This double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled individuals with type 2 diabetes and a BMI between 25 and 50. Participants who had a starting dose of 2 mg and later received the highest drug dose (a 12 mg escalation dose) reported the most significant weight loss. They saw impressive declines in their A1C levels as well.

Phase three of the clinical trial will be much larger and is expected to have 1800 participants. At this time, it’s estimated that phase three of the study won’t be completed until February 17, 2026.

Retratutide vs Wegovy, Ozempic, and Mounjaro

In many ways, Retratutide works similarly to the other weight loss drugs, Wegovy, Ozempic, and Mounjaro. But, preliminary results from Retratutide are blowing its competitors out of the market. In fact, researchers and medical professionals have said that the results more closely mirror bariatric surgery results.

Like with the other medications, this drug is an injectable that patients give to themselves once a week. Other than the results, the most significant difference is that Retratutide mimics GLP-1, GIP, and glucagon. This is known as the Triple G action. Ozempic and Wegovy only act on GLP-1, and Mounjaro acts on GLP-1 and GIP. Perhaps not surprisingly, with this tripled-up action, the weight loss results are more striking than any of its three primary competitors.

Since Retratutide is still at an earlier stage of the approval process, it’s hard to reach final or sweeping conclusive comparisons. More studies still need to be completed with Retratutide to see where users’ weight plateaus and if this plateau will be maintained over an extended period of time. Some of these results will likely be seen within the next year when Retratutide applies for final FDA approval.

Retratutide: Promising Results With Possible Hurdles

Is it possible that type 2 diabetes and obesity may one day become chronic conditions of the past? While it might be a little too early to tell, the advent of new drugs for these diseases shows that we’re heading in the right direction.

Based on the results presented by Retratutide’s clinical trials so far, the future looks bright. However, we’ve still got a ways to go. The makers of Retratutide haven’t yet applied for FDA approval, and if and when that approval does occur, there are two huge factors we can’t overlook: cost and supply.

Medications like Wegovy are very costly, so it’s easy to assume that Retratutide will be similarly priced. Unfortunately, that would mean that thousands of people who need the drug may be unable to get it. In addition, we saw how fast Wegovy flew off the shelves and got into the hands of those it was not intended for. Therefore, given its amazing weight-loss results, will the same thing happen with Retratutide? Only time will time, but from what’s seen so far, Retratutide may be a game-changer.

References:

  • https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2023/02/09/2604662/0/en/Latest-Global-Weight-Loss-and-Weight-Management-Market-Size-Share-Worth-USD-405-4-Billion-by-2030-at-a-6-84-CAGR-Growing-obesity-rate-to-propel-market-growth-Facts-Factors-Industry.html
  • https://investor.lilly.com/news-releases/news-release-details/lillys-phase-2-retatrutide-results-published-new-england-journal
  • https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/experimental-drug-offer-weight-loss-drug-now-market-study-finds-rcna89702
  • https://www.cnn.com/2023/06/26/health/weight-loss-next-gen-triple-g-lilly/index.html
  • https://www.everlywell.com/blog/weight-management/what-is-a-weight-related-comorbidity/
  • https://www.clinicaltrialsarena.com/news/eli-lillys-obesity-primary-endpoint/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5497590/
  • https://www.everydayhealth.com/diabetes/new-obesity-drug-may-work-even-better-than-ozempic-wegovy-and-mounjaro/
  • https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/data-insights/retatrutide-eli-lilly-and-co-obesity-likelihood-of-approval/
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nonalcoholic-fatty-liver-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20354567
  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/nafld-nash/treatment
  • https://investor.lilly.com/news-releases/news-release-details/lilly-present-new-research-treatment-diabetes-and-obesity
  • https://www.outlookindia.com/outlook-spotlight/retatrutide-weight-loss-results-review-how-does-retatrutide-compare-to-ozempic-wegovy-and-mounjaro-news-309057
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37385280/
  • https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2301972
  • https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(23)01053-X/fulltext
  • https://classic.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05882045
  • https://www.insider.com/retatrutide-patients-lose-more-weight-than-ozempic-wegovy-mounjaro-2023-6