Many clinical trials are now focusing on the impact of therapeutic interventions on body fat loss. Body fat gain from certain diseases such as diabetes can impact both a person’s physical and mental health, and now trials are focusing on using drug therapies to help regulate appetite and hunger signalling.

Two drugs that have proven to reduce body fat successfully through trials are semaglutide and tirzepatide. Semaglutide acts as an anti-diabetic agent and is formulated as an injectable solution for subcutaneous route of administration. Ozempic is indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycaemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D). A study cited by the New England Journal of Medicine found that participants who were overweight reduced body fat after being administered 2.4mg of semaglutide once weekly.

A similar drug, tirzepatide, sponsored by Eli Lilly, showed success recently in a Phase III study. In the 72-week trial in participants with obesity, 5mg, 10mg or 15mg of tirzepatide once weekly provided considerable and continuous reductions in body weight. Intended for the treatment of T2D, tirzepatide acts by agonising GLP-1 and GIP. Activated GLP1R stimulates the adenylyl cyclase pathway, which results in increased insulin synthesis and release of insulin. GIP receptor stimulates insulin release in the presence of elevated glucose. The drug candidate activates both the receptors, alters the energy consumption and energy conservation, and helps insulin sensitivity.

According to GlobalData’s Clinical Trials Database, there are currently 42 clinical trials in Eli Lilly’s pipeline for tirzepatide. Of these, 26 are completed, 13 are ongoing and three are planned. Out of the planned trials, only one is investigating tirzepatide further for obesity, in a single Phase III trial.