A study of the weight loss drug tirzepatide showed that people who took it had significantly lower blood pressure after 36 weeks of using the drug.
Tirzepatide, manufactured by Eli Lilly, is used to treat type 2 diabetes, under the brand name Mounjaro, and to treat obesity, under the brand name Zepbound. It is the latest in a new class of weight-loss drugs, and its main competitor is semaglutide, made by Novo Nordisk and sold as Ozempic for diabetes and Wegovy for weight loss. For both drugs, researchers assessed whether they had additional effects beyond weight loss.
Blood pressure study, supported by Eli Lilly and published Monday in the journal Hypertension, was part of a larger effort to evaluate the effects of tirzepatide on weight loss. Researchers had previously found that people who took the drug had lower blood pressure when measurements were taken in a doctor’s office. The new study applied more rigorous criteria: Did participants taking the drug have lower blood pressures when measured with a 24-hour monitor?
They did it. Those taking the drug had systolic blood pressure – the pressure on blood vessels when the heart contracts – that was 7.4 to 10.0 milligrams of mercury lower than participants taking a placebo. Systolic pressure is believed to be an accurate indicator of heart disease risk.
The reduction in blood pressure, said Dr. James de Lemos, a cardiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and lead author of the study, is about what would be expected with a full dose of a medicine for hypertension. As such, he said, the drug may be helpful to people trying to control their blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes (although the study does not suggest that tirzepatide be replaced by other blood pressure medications).
But, he noted, it was not possible to distinguish the effect – if any – of the drug on blood pressure from the well-known effect of weight loss on reducing blood pressure.
Dr. Benjamin Ansell, a blood pressure specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study, said he did not find the result surprising.
“It could also be hypothesized that losing weight would lead to more exercise or better sleep/reduce sleep apnea, which might ‘additionally’ lower blood pressure,” she said. -he writes in an email.
A more interesting effect of a drug in this class, Dr. Ansell noted, is the recent discovery that semaglutide helps patients with a condition known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction – a common result of obesity and high blood pressure. It is a chronic and progressive disease, debilitating and destroying quality of life. Most patients with this type of heart failure have obesity, and obesity is thought to contribute to the disease and its progression.
In a big study According to Novo Nordisk, patients taking semaglutide had fewer symptoms of the disease and were better able to exercise, the researchers found.
This result, Dr. Ansell added, “showed profound clinical significance in improving their function while reducing hospitalizations.”
And this discovery adds to another Novo Nordisk result showing that semaglutide reduced the risk of cardiac events like heart attacks.