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New weight loss drug approved

(NBC) - A new weight-loss drug is officially hitting the market soon.

The FDA approved Eli Lilly's Zepbound Wednesday and some analysts are predicting it destined to become the most popular drug ever sold.

It's called Zepbound, made by Eli Lilly to treat obesity.

The latest in a revolutionary class of weight loss drugs to get FDA approval.

And it could be available to patients within weeks.

"We're all extremely excited in the obesity community because it will be the most effective medication on the market to help people with treatment of their disease," said Dr. Shauna Levy, Tulane Bariatric and Weight Loss Center Medical Director.

In a phase 3 clinical trial, obese patients taking Zepbound.

Lost about a quarter (22.5) of their body weight over 72 weeks.

That's about 52 pounds with many only experiencing minor gastrointestinal side effects.

"Dr. Daniel Skovronsky I hope that as it becomes available and used patients will see the same benefits out there in the real world, that we saw in our clinical trials."

It works by mimicking two hormones.

One that helps curb appetite and reduce how much someone eats.

And another which works to improve how the body breaks down sugar and fat.

The medication called Tirzepatide is already being sold as diabetes drug Mounjaro.

30-year-old Alexis Mitchell's doctor prescribed Mounjaro.

Off-label after a health scare last year.

She's lost 125 pounds so far.

"When you started taking Mounjaro how quickly did the weight come off?"

"Immediately. Within I started the medication on a Friday. I got on the scale on Sunday. I was down five pounds," said Alexic Mitchell.

"How important do you think it is to have a version out there for people who are obese?"

"I feel like it is 100% beneficial. It couldn't have came faster. Honestly, I would recommend the medication to any and everybody who is obese," said Mitchell.

Mitchell says she had to fight to get insurance coverage.

Despite a history of diabetes in her family.

The price tag over a $1,000 a month

Zepbound will be equally expensive and not covered by all insurance plans.

Earlier this year, I visited Eli Lilly headquarters in Indiana and spoke with the company's chief scientific officer.

"There are analysts who say it will be the most lucrative drug ever made. Hyperbole?"

"Probably. What we try to focus on is are we making medicines that treat a deep unmet medical need we thing obesity and type two diabetes are those unmet medical needs," sai Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, Eli Lilly Chief Scientific Officer.

Article Topic Follows: Local Health

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