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New Weight Loss Drug Could ‘Wipe Out’ Liver Disease – The Messenger

Nov 19th, 2023

A new experimental drug found to be more effective than Wegovy and Mounjaro for weight loss could also stop fatty liver disease in its tracks, according to new clinical trial data.

At this weeks Liver Meeting the annual conference of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases experts revealed that a retatrutide treatment regimen was capable of reducing liver fat by as much as 85%.

Retatrutide, which is under development by Eli Lilly for weight loss, is in the same family of drugs as Ozempic and Mounjaro, as they are all GLP-1 agonist drugs. However, retatrutide is also an agonist of the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon receptors.

In the phase 2 trial, patients who were given weekly injections of 8 mg and 12 mg retatrutide resulted in 24% weight loss and between 81% and 86% reduction of fat in the liver. Whats more, 89% and 93% of patients receiving retatrutide 8 mg and 12 mg had less than 5% liver fat after 48 weeks of treatment, meaning that there was no longer enough fat in their liver to meet fatty liver disease criteria.

Arun J. Sanyal, M.D., chair of the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at Virginia Commonwealth Health, who presented the findings at the annual meeting, said that the results are quite dramatic.

Between 80-90% of patients and actually by week 48, at the high dose, 93% of patients lost so much fat in the liver that they were below the cutoff for having fatty liver disease, which is quite dramatic, because in the overweight-obese population, we first said that 70-75% of them will have excess fat in the liver, Dr. Sanyal said in an interview with HCPLive during the meeting. But now we have a treatment that can treat obesity, and you can wipe out the liver fat in 90% of these people.

People with fatty liver disease, also called steatotic liver disease, have excess fat build-up in their liver. Things like type 2 diabetes, obesity and chronic heavy alcohol consumption can cause the excess fat to accumulate. Often fatty liver disease will not cause issues, but if left untreated, long-term problems like hepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis can develop. Between 80 and 100 million adults in the United States are affected by the condition.

While clinical findings on retatrutide are positive thus far, Dr. Sanyal notes that there is a caveat the people involved in the phase 2 trial had early stage liver disease and were not considered at risk of advanced liver disease during the time of their enrollment. That makes it challenging to understand whether retatrutide would benefit patients who might be at risk of developing conditions like cirrhosis and hepatitis.

More clinical trials are needed to assess retatrutides utility in advanced liver disease, but in the meantime, Dr. Sanyal suggests that the drug could still help to delay the onset of severe liver scarring.

Here, the implication is that by treating the underlying obese state and by getting rid of all the fat in the liver, there's at least a reasonable assumption that you might in the future be able to say that this population that no longer has fat in the liver, they're not going to progress to significant scarring of the liver, or they will not develop fibrosis or fibrosis-related outcomes, Dr. Sanyal said.

See the article here:
New Weight Loss Drug Could 'Wipe Out' Liver Disease - The Messenger

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