Eli Lilly announced promising findings from a midstage trial indicating that tirzepatide, a widely-used medication for weight loss and diabetes, may also serve as an effective treatment for fatty liver disease. The study results unveiled additional potential health benefits of tirzepatide, beyond its established roles in weight management and blood sugar control under the brand names Zepbound and Mounjaro.
The pharmaceutical giant disclosed that tirzepatide demonstrated success in a phase two trial targeting metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH), a severe form of liver disease. MASH, characterized by liver fat accumulation and inflammation leading to fibrosis, currently lacks direct treatment options. Studies suggest that approximately 3% to 5% of adults in the U.S. suffer from MASH. Unfortunately MASH is growing with no end in sight.
The trial, involving around 190 adults with advanced stages of liver scarring due to MASH, showed positive outcomes across all dose levels of tirzepatide. Notably, the medication met its primary objective by aiding patients in achieving freedom from MASH without worsening liver scarring compared to those not receiving treatment. For instance, approximately 74% of patients receiving the highest tirzepatide dose remained MASH-free with stable liver scarring after a year, in contrast to around 13% of those on a placebo. Now that is a huge difference.
While the extent of liver scarring reduction wasn’t explicitly disclosed, Eli Lilly highlighted the drug’s clinically meaningful impact across various dosage strengths. The company’s Chief Scientific Officer expressed equal enthusiasm regarding tirzepatide’s potential in reducing liver scarring, emphasizing the absence of concerning data hindering advancement to phase three trials.
Regarding safety, adverse events associated with tirzepatide aligned with prior studies in patients with obesity and diabetes. Typical side effects reported in previous trials of Zepbound included diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
Eli Lilly intends to unveil comprehensive findings from the phase two trial at an upcoming medical conference, signifying a significant step forward in exploring tirzepatide’s therapeutic potential beyond its established uses.
During my career, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the cure for Hepatitis C. It is my sincere hope and fervent prayer that we can achieve similar breakthroughs for metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH), commonly known as Fatty Liver Disease.