King's Hospital
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FDA-approved injectable prescription medication, Mounjaro - also known as Tirzepatide - is now available at King’s College Hospital Dubai Diabetes Endocrine and Obesity Institution. This is used to improve blood sugar (glucose) through weight loss alongside exercise and diet for adults with type 2 diabetes. King’s is the first hospital in the UAE to start using this drug.

King’s College Hospital provides services for obesity management, including the state-of-the-art facilities for bariatric surgery.

While commenting on the new developments in the field of diabetes and obesity, Dr Emran Ghaffar Khan, Consultant and Director of the King’s College London Diabetes, Endocrine and Obesity Institute in Dubai Hills, says, "I have a very exciting news to share, and it certainly is an honour and a privilege to be able to introduce this long-awaited new medication to help our patients with type 2 diabetes."

UAE is the second country after the USA to have this medication approved for treatment. "I am very proud to announce that King’s College Hospital Dubai is the first hospital in the UAE where this medication has been made available," adds Dr Khan, who is a specialist in the management of obesity and has been working in this field for almost 30 years.

"Recently the FDA approved this new weight loss drug that promises up to 22.5 per cent weight loss in young obese adults, which is more than a weekly injection used for type 2 diabetes. The drug is called Tirzepatide, and it's available in the market under the brand name Mounjaro," he says.

"The reason for my excitement is that the subject of type 2 diabetes and obesity is close to my heart. I specialise in this field, have worked in the UK for the past 35 years and for the last three years, I have been working in the UAE. We have all been waiting for such a miracle drug to help our patients achieve significant weight loss, which is meaningful and substantial. This can make a big improvement in the patient’s health and quality of life," Dr Khan explains.

In my extensive experience with diabetes and obesity management, I have never seen such results with any medication so far. No weight loss medication has given us such a significant weight loss with minimal side effects.

- Dr Emran Ghaffar Khan, Consultant and Director of the King’s College London Diabetes, Endocrine and Obesity Institute

When asked if this drug could be used for weight loss and obesity without type 2 diabetes, he says, "This is an entirely new class of medication and at the moment, this is only approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, studies have shown that there is significant weight loss induced with its use. However, there are ongoing trials for this drug on non-type 2 diabetic obese patients and we were are anxiously awaiting FDA approval."

What's unique about Tirzepitide?

"We have been using some medications, such as Semaglutide and Liriglutide, for diabetes and weight loss. These  work on the GLP-1 receptors in the cells in the body and control blood sugar. However, Tirzepitide works differently and is unique in the sense that it is a dual incretin medication. It works both on GLP-1 and another receptor called GIP/ Glucose Dependent Insulinotropic peptide giving much better result at blood sugar control while resulting in significant weight control and weight loss," Dr Khan says.

"This new drug, Tirzepitide, produces much better impact on diabetes and weight loss can be about 22.5 per cent of the body weight for some patients. It accounts for potentially 25kg weight loss in patients weighing 100kg."

Dr Khan adds, "In my extensive experience with diabetes and obesity management, I have never seen such results with any medication so far. No weight loss medication has given us such a significant weight loss with minimal side effects. Certainly, we need to provide advice and support with lifestyle and dietary changes to achieve better results."

How Mounjaro works

It works by making the patient feel fuller and reducing appetite. It also increases the production of insulin and helps in getting better blood sugar control. As patients feel fuller and eat less, they experience a significant reduction in weight.

"It is very easy to use with a prefilled pen, where you do not see the needle and inject yourself once a week on your thigh or tummy. The main side effect tends to be nausea and diarrhoea in the fist few weeks of staring the medicine," Dr Khan says.

The FDA criteria for the approval of a weight loss drug is at least 5 per cent whereas this drug gives you about 20 per cent weight loss. The weight loss not only helps with diabetes control, but also has significant benefits including improvement in cholesterol, blood pressure, fatty liver, sleep apnoea, cardiovascular health, type 2 remission, and osteoarthritis of hips and knees. It improves the quality of life of patients, both physically and psychologically.

"About 80 per cent of our diabetic patients have excess weight, and the medications which we have been using, for example Gliclazide and Glimepiride and even insulin, lead to more weight gain, which leads to further insulin resistance, resulting in a vicious cycle," points out Dr Khan.

"This is an exciting new tool in the hands of endocrinologists to help us tackle the massive problem of obesity which most people find it difficult to combat. This is much easier for patients to achieve their targets for health and lifestyle. We would like to take the opportunity and welcome you to King’s College Hospital Diabetes, Endocrine and Obesity Institute for further advice and support," Dr Khan says.