MILLIONS of Brits with diabetes could see speedy life-changing results from an ‘incredible’ new drug.
The treatment has already been shown to lower blood sugar levels and support weight loss better than other type 2 diabetes drug available.
But new data has revealed that the remarkable new drug does all this in twice the speed of any other medicine currently being dished out by the NHS.
Scientists involved in the research said the once-a-week jab, tirzepatide, was producing results “beyond anything else we have available right now”.
Lead author of the study, Dr Adie Viljoen of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, UK said the drug “may put adults with type 2 diabetes in a better position for preventing long-term complications”.
Some 4.9 million people in the UK are estimated to have diabetes, of which 90 per cent have type 2.
The serious condition, driven by soaring obesity levels, raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes among other complications.
The tirzepatide jab works by targeting hormones that regulate appetite, slashing hunger and calorie intake.
These hormones are often found at low levels in diabetes patients – which is one of the reasons why 90 per cent of people with the disease in the UK are overweight.
The drug also regulates blood sugar levels, which people with diabetes cannot do alone.
Those which diabetes tend to have high blood sugar levels which if left untreated can lead to blindness and nerve damage.
The new data came from two trials, which compared a 5mg, 10mg or 15mg dose to two different existing weight loss and diabetes medications.
The first trial compared a weekly tirzepatide injection to a daily insulin jab.
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is when the insulin the pancreas makes can’t work properly, or the pancreas can’t make enough insulin. This means blood glucose (sugar) levels become too high.
According to the NHS, the symptoms of type 2 diabetes to watch out for include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Getting cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Having blurred vision
The other study compared three tirzepatide doses against weight-loss jab – semaglutide.
Semaglutide, a weight loss jab, has recently been found to reduce the risk of obese people developing type 2 diabetes by over 60 per cent.
Tirzepatide recipients reached a key blood sugar control milestone – HbA1c – on average 12 weeks sooner than those taking insulin jabs.
Similarly, tirzepatide also outperformed the daily insulin jabs, with participants on new new drug reaching HbA1c 12 weeks sooner.
Further analysis found that those who took tirzepatide also reached weight-loss goals “significantly” faster than semaglutide.
Dr Viljoen added: “For people with type 2 diabetes to be able to achieve these improvements in health in around half the time is pretty incredible.”
Last month, The Sun reported that people who have diabetes could soon be able to ditch the insulin jabs and take their medication in a pain free and easy way.
Researchers also hope this new method of taking pills will not only improve diabetics’ mental health but also help the environment.
The findings were presented this month at an European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting in Stockholm.