Bariatric surgery, also known as gastric bypass, is the process of changing the digestive system to help people lose weight. It’s somewhat of a last-resort when diet and exercise have failed, and a patient is experiencing serious health problems due to their weight. The process is painful and invasive, but produces dramatic results. However, according to a recent Gizmodo article, Eli Lilly has a new drug that produces similar weight-loss results without all the trouble.
The drug is called tirzepatide, and it has helped people lose up to 50 pounds, or 22% of their total body weight. Though the findings are preliminary, they suggest the experimental drug could become an affordable alternative to surgery. It works by boosting levels of the GLP-1 and GIP hormones, which are vital in regulating metabolism and hunger. A similar drug, Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, received FDA approval last June. However, it costs about $1400 a month, and isn’t covered by basic Medicare plans. The introduction of a second drug will introduce competition to the market and likely drive prices down.