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The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

Diabetes treatment for weight loss raises concerns on bioethics

Ethical concerns and accessibility issues arise as Mounjaro’s unapproved usage for weight loss raises questions.
Type 2 Diabetes, a serious chronic illness, has a relatively new medication being produced to treat it.
sweetlifediabetes / Unsplash
Type 2 Diabetes, a serious chronic illness, has a relatively new medication being produced to treat it.

Mounjaro, a medication originally designed for managing A1C levels in Type 2 Diabetes, is now being used as a potent weight loss solution, with studies showing an average loss of 60 pounds when combined with diet and exercise. This drug, created by Eli Lilly and Company, distinguishes itself from the popular Ozempic with its unique mechanism. However, ethical concerns regarding its approval for weight loss, potential side effects and access for those needing it raise important questions about its broader impact.

A 2022 study found that the treatment, created by Eli Lilly and Company, helped people lose an average of 60 pounds when used with proper diet and exercise. Moreover, at a recent medical conference sponsored by The Obesity Society, experts claimed that it could be one of the most powerful medicines for weight loss ever created.

Mounjaro is the brand name for Tirzepatide. Tirzepatide is a molecule that helps with the activation of the body’s receptors to two hormones. These hormones, described on Eli Lilly’s website, “… are found in areas of the human brain important for appetite regulation.” Tirzepatide is able to block those receptors to increase appetite regulation, which would increase the weight that someone would lose.

What makes Mounjaro different from the widely popular Ozempic is simply the compounds used. While Mounjaro is a tirzepatide, Ozempic is a semaglutide, a molecule that activates the GLP-1 receptor, and not the GIP receptor. With this finding, researchers are saying that Mounjaro, the new treatment for those with Type 2 Diabetes, is even more powerful at lowering A1C than Ozempic.

In addition to that, Mounjaro has proven to help adults lose more weight than adults who used Ozempic. The tirzepatide found in Mounjaro has helped people lose between 12 to 25 pounds or at least a quarter of their body weight, compared to Ozempic where a person lost only an average of 12.5 pounds. The studies have confirmed this–Mounjaro seems to have more of an impact on weight loss than Ozempic, which reached popularity earlier this year for being used as an off-label for that purpose.

According to the Mounjaro website, some of the most common side effects of taking this medication include nausea, decreased appetite, stomach pain and more. However, like every medication, there are always more serious side effects. Pancreatitis(swelling of the pancreas), hypoglycemia, severe allergic reaction and a risk of thyroid cancer are some of the threats that Mounjaro has toward one’s health. When it comes to Mounjaro being prescribed for weight loss, it can be hard to say what exactly those side effects would be because of the lack of approval by the FDA.

With this new stream of information coming from this recent medical conference, it is important to know that with every kind of medication, ethics play a role. Dr. Brenan Prusak, the Smiley Chair for Business Ethics in JCU’s Boler College of Business, told The Carroll News that there is an issue at hand when it comes to the approval status of Mounjaro for weight loss.

“Right now… Mounjaro is not approved for the sole purpose of weight loss… at the moment,” he said. With his background in bioethics, he said that, without the FDA approval of Mounjaro for weight loss, it is hard to say whether or not the use of the drug, or any drug for that matter, will have any lifelong effects.

Another ethical concern when considering Mounjaro as a weight loss drug is that there might not be enough medication for those who actually need the drug for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.

With the news that Ozempic could help people lose a substantial amount of weight, many people were prescribed the drug for weight loss. Due to the increased demand and the lack of resources, many people who have Type 2 Diabetes could not get the drug that they needed to manage their disease. With this newfound purpose of Mounjaro, it raises the question as to whether or not the new drug will fall into this same pattern.

“There are a number of drugs on the market, but it does not downplay the reality that people cannot get what they need,” Prusak said.

People not being able to get the medicine that they need is a huge problem that often gets overlooked in the world of bioethics, so highlighting the idea that people should get the medication that they need until it gets approved by the FDA is necessary for those who need the drug for what it was intended to be used for.

The news of Mounjaro shows promising results for weight loss and the science backs up that claim. However, with everything in the medical field, it is important to understand that there are ethics as to the approval of the medication and who can have access to it. It is not to disprove the outcomes of the study, but rather, it is to keep the public informed so they can make the best decisions not only for themselves but for those around them.


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