The FDA has approved a new drug to help Americans lose weight, and it’s set to hit the market later this year.
The drug, called Zepbound, joins other medications in fighting obesity, a disease that affects about 100 million Americans.
CBS reporter Nancy Chen looks at Zepbound for this week’s edition of Here for Health.
It’s being hailed as a milestone in treating obesity: the FDA’s approval of pharmaceutical research company Eli Lilly’s drug tirzepatide — previously found it diabetes drug Mounjaro.
The FDA approving Zepbound comes after a trial showed patients without diabetes lost up to 22.5% of their body weight, around 52 pounds, by using the drug.
It works by slowing down digestion by having the brain think the stomach is full, thereby reducing appetite. Although common side effects include nausea, stomach pain, and indigestion, doctors note Zepbound’s other potential benefits.
“What we’re seeing with some of these medications for diabetes like Ozempic, like Mounjaro — also known as Zepbound — is that they are effective in treating a number of different conditions related to diabetes, not just obesity. But also reducing risk of heart attacks, reducing risk of stroke,” said Dr. Celine Gounder, a CBS News medical contributor.
Eli Lilly says the listed price will be more than $1,000 for six doses, which is a six-week supply.
The FDA reports there’s still a shortage of the drug, but federal approval means those with insurance may now be able to afford it, if they can find it.
“These medications, whether that’s Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, Zepbound, they are effective in helping people lose weight, but they’re also very expensive. And whether we’ll see long term coverage by health insurance companies, whether people need to take them long term in order to keep the weight off, all of that remains to be seen,” Gounder said.