Diabetes: New drug Mounjaro approved for weight loss use in UK as fat-burning "arms race" continues

It joins the likes of Wegovy, Saxenda and Orlistat as the UK's latest weight loss drug.

The drug was already approved for diabetes treatment. (Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)The drug was already approved for diabetes treatment. (Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)
The drug was already approved for diabetes treatment. (Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

Another fat-burning drug has been given the green light for use in the UK.

Mounjaro was approved for NHS use in September by Nice as an option for patients with type 2 diabetes who do not have the condition under control. Now, the MHRA has authorised it for helping obese and overweight adults with weight management and loss.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Although further approvals are needed to use this in the NHS, Mounjaro has the potential to help thousands of people living with obesity and support those suffering from weight-related illnesses – if used alongside diet and physical activity. Tackling obesity could help cut waiting lists and save the NHS billions of pounds.”

The MHRA’s authorisation is based on the results of two clinical trials, which showed that patients who were treated with Tirzepatide “had a significant weight loss over time compared to patients who took a placebo”. The agency warned the drug may affect how well the contraceptive pill works in obese or overweight female patients. It also listed potential side effects of the medicine, including nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting – which usually goes away over time – and constipation.

Julian Beach, MHRA interim executive director, healthcare quality and access, said: “We have prioritised rapid assessment of this new indication for Mounjaro, given the public health importance of access to new medicines to help tackle obesity. We have drawn on advice from the independent Commission on Human Medicines in coming to our decision, and as with all products, will keep the safety of Mounjaro under close review.”

In September, semaglutide, sold under the brand name Wegovy, was launched in the UK to help tackle obesity. According to Diabetes UK Wegovy, Saxenda and Orlistat are already also approved weight loss drugs.

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