The weight-loss drug Zepbound provides more health benefits than dropping pounds and controlling diabetes, a new study shows.
It also appears to help people with obesity manage their high blood pressure, results show.
Patients taking Zepbound (tirzepatide) experienced a significant reduction in their systolic blood pressure, the top number in a blood pressure reading, according to a study published Feb. 5 in the journal Hypertension.
Systolic blood pressure is a stronger predictor for heart-related death than the diastolic bottom number, researchers said in background notes.
“Although tirzepatide has been studied as a weight-loss medication, the blood pressure reduction in our patients in this study was impressive,” said lead researcher Dr. James de Lemos, chair of cardiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Tirzepatide works by mimicking two hormones in the body that stimulate insulin secretion and sensitivity after a person eats. The drug helps slow down digestion, reduce appetite and regulate blood sugar levels.
For the study, 600 adults with obesity were assigned to take either a placebo or varying doses of tirzepatide, which is administered through injection.
After 36 weeks, results showed that:
Participants taking 5 mg of tirzepatide had an average systolic blood pressure reduction of 7.4 mm Hg
People taking 10 mg had an average systolic blood pressure reduction of 10.6 mm Hg
Participants taking 15 mg had an average systolic blood pressure reduction of 8 mm Hg
“While it is not known if the impact on blood pressure was due to the medication or the participants’ weight loss, the lower blood pressure measures seen with tirzepatide rivaled what is seen for many hypertension medications,” de Lemos said in a journal news release.
The blood-pressure-lowering effects of tirzepatide showed up in blood pressure measures taken both during the day and at night, researchers said. Nighttime systolic blood pressure is a stronger predictor for heart-related death than daytime readings.
“Overall, these data are encouraging that novel weight-loss medications are effective at reducing body weight and they are also effective at improving many of the cardiometabolic complications of obesity, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia [high cholesterol], among others,” said Dr. Michael Hall, chair of medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.
“While the impact of each of these beneficial effects is individually important, many of these obesity-related complications act synergistically to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease,” added Hall, who was not involved in the study. “Thus, strategies that mitigate multiple obesity-related complications may reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.”
More studies are needed to determine Zepbound’s long-term impact on heart attack, heart failure and other heart-related health issues, Hall added.
“Also, studies are needed to investigate what happens to blood pressure when medications like tirzepatide are discontinued — does the blood pressure rebound and go back up, or does it remain lowered?” Hall wondered.
The study was funded by Eli Lilly and Co., the manufacturer of tirzepatide.