A GAME-changing drug helps tubby adults shed up to 52lbs, according to a major study.
The highest-dose of the weekly injection, known as tirzepatide, saw obese adults drop more than a fifth of their bodyweight in little over a year.
Such results are similar to those normally seen from stomach-stapling surgery.
Experts claim the drug could help revolutionise obesity treatment and reverse the type 2 diabetes epidemic.
But others fear it only helps to keep the pounds off while slimmer keep taking the jab.
Originally developed to tackle diabetes, it works by targeting hormones that regulate appetite, slashing hunger and calorie intake.
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However, side-effects include vomiting and diarrhoea, according to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Two in three Brit adults are too fat – and the World Health Organisation has warned the UK will be the fat man of Europe in a decade.
Speaking at the 82nd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, lead researcher Professor Ania Jastreboff, from Yale University said: “Notably, about nine out of ten individuals with obesity lost weight while taking tirzepatide.
“Obesity should be treated like any other chronic disease—with effective and safe approaches that target underlying disease mechanisms…
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"These results underscore that tirzepatide may be doing just that."
The study involved 2,539 tubby adults, although none had diabetes.
Volunteers given the highest dosage of tirzepatide lost 52lbs after 16 months – or 22.5 per cent of their weight – while those given weaker shots dropped between 35 and 49lbs.
The UK drugs watchdog approved a similar fat-busting therapy in February for use on the NHS for up to 1.3 million adults.
In trials, tubby adults given semaglutide weekly shed nearly 2.5 stone in just 15 months – six times as much as those told to just exercise and diet.
Commenting on the latest study, Professor Sir Stephen O’Rahilly, Director of the Medical Research Council Metabolic Diseases Unit at Cambridge University, said: “The results of this trial are very impressive.
“Treatment of people with obesity with a weekly injection of tirzepatide produced weight loss similar to that seen with weight loss surgery.
“Side effects were mild to moderate and generally related to some nausea and vomiting.
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"Blood tests showed improvements in all the markers of metabolic and cardiovascular health.
“This study, and recent similar reports of a related agent semaglutide, provide secure evidence that people with obesity can be effectively and safely treated using a medication that is based on the modification of naturally occurring hormones.”
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