A new, yet to be approved, once-a-week medication Tirzepatide can significantly lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It could slash blood sugar to normal levels, cut cholesterol and blood pressure, and help weight loss.
It is so effective that it may offer patients a viable alternative to weight-loss surgery, which is at present the most effective method of treating patients who need to lose large amounts of weight and bring their type 2 diabetes into remission.
Tirzepatide is a novel type of medication that combines an existing form of medication called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, and a new, similar drug, known as a glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, or GIP.
GLP-1 receptor agonists have been in use for over a decade and have transformed type 2 diabetes treatment. A number of GLP-1 receptor agonists are currently in use, including exenatide, liraglutide and semaglutide.
The drugs send signals to the brain, helping curb the appetite, stimulate the body to use up glucose in the blood and lower the amount of sugar that’s digested and absorbed from food. The addition of a second active ingredient, GIP, is what some experts say makes tirzepatide more effective.
GIP works in a similar way to GLP-1 receptor agonists, mimicking a naturally occurring digestive hormone, helping both stimulate insulin release and absorption of sugar from the blood. Given on its own, it was ineffective in type 2 diabetes treatment. But in combination with other medicines, it had a transformative effect.
The latest findings give hope that this drug could put people with type 2 diabetes into remission.