The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new injectable drug for type 2 diabetes that is more effective at controlling blood sugar and helping patients lose weight than other therapies, it says.

Tirzepatide (Mounjaro), made by Eli Lilly, is indicated along with diet and exercise for use in improving blood sugar control in adults, the agency announced Friday. It is administered under the skin once weekly with the dose adjusted to each patient’s needs. 

Mounjaro activates two receptors to stimulate insulin secretion in the body. Trial participants who received the maximum recommended dose of the drug experienced lowered HbA1c by 0.5% more than semaglutide. The drug also decreased HbA1c by 0.9% more than insulin degludec and 1.0% more than insulin glargine, the FDA reported.

Like some other diabetes drugs, Mounjaro also contributes to weight loss, often a recommended goal for patients with type 2 diabetes. Weight loss was higher in patients who took the drug when compared to those taking semaglutide, insulin degludec and insulin glargine. 

Side effects of the Mounjaro may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, constipation, upper abdominal discomfort and abdominal pain. 

“Given the challenges many patients experience in achieving their target blood sugar goals, today’s approval of Mounjaro is an important advance in the treatment of type 2 diabetes,” said Patrick Archdeacon, M.D., of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

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