A New Weight-Loss Drug Could Be a Complete Game Changer. 'Psychologically, You Don't Want to Eat.' Mounjaro, a diabetes drug used to treat obesity, is forecast to make $50 billion in sales annually.

By Jonathan Small

In recent months, there has been a swelling interest in using diabetes drugs to treat weight loss.

Drugs with brand names such as Ozempic and Wegovy have become so popular with Hollywood celebrities and TikTokers; it's led to a nationwide shortage for diabetics.

But the anti-obesity drug craze is about to be rocked by another major development. The diabetes drug Mounjaro could be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss later this year, according to manufacturer Eli Lilly. The company just completed a late-stage study of the drug for weight loss and found the participants lost more than 50 pounds in nearly 17 months.

"We have not seen this degree of weight reduction," Dr. Nadia Ahmad, Lilly's medical director of obesity clinical development, told CBS News.

Analysts predict that Mounjaro, tirzepatide generically, could become one of the biggest-selling drugs ever. Evaluate Pharma estimates as much as $50 billion in sales by 2028. To put this in perspective, Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic and Wegovy, reported combined sales of about $2.4 billion in 2022.

How does Mounjaro work?

Mounjaro was approved by the FDA last year to treat Type 2 diabetes. Patients take it via injection once per week. The drug works by activating two hormones naturally produced in the body that help to reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness. It also curbs craving signals chemically sent from the gut to the brain.

"Psychologically, you don't want to eat," said Matthew Barlow, a health technology executive, told CBS News. "Now I can eat two bites of a dessert and be satisfied."

Though trials have shown the drugs to be safe, side effects include nausea and constipation.

Mounjaro isn't cheap. A monthly dose can run as much as $1,400. But if the FDA approves it for weight loss, people prescribed the medication for obesity could more easily be covered by insurance.

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur

Jonathan Small is editor-in-chief of Green Entrepreneur, a vertical from Entrepreneur Media focused on the intersection of sustainability and business. He is also an award-winning journalist, producer, and podcast host of the upcoming True Crime series, Dirty Money, and Write About Now podcasts. Jonathan is the founder of Strike Fire Productions, a premium podcast production company. He had held editing positions at Glamour, Stuff, Fitness, and Twist Magazines. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, and Good Housekeeping. Previously, Jonathan served as VP of Content for the GSN (the Game Show Network), where he produced original digital video series.

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