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New Ozempic Competitor May Work Even Faster, Data Shows

A new drug from Viking Therapeutics produced results in just 13 weeks.

Ozempic has become synonymous with weight-loss drugs, but it's far from the only option out there. While it might have the most recognizable name, Novo Nordisk's drug—a diabetes treatment prescribed off-label for weight loss—is one of several similar medications. Ozempic's sister shot, Wegovy, is actually approved for weight loss, as is Eli Lilly's newer treatment, Zepbound. But now, another competitor is fighting for a top spot in the weight-loss drug field, and new data suggests it might work even faster than its predecessors.

RELATED: Jillian Michaels' Big Ozempic Warning: It Makes You a "Prisoner for Life."

Viking Therapeutics' experimental drug VK2735 showed promising results in a recent mid-stage trial, according to a Feb. 27 company press release. The trial enrolled 176 adults who were obese (having a body mass index [BMI] of 30 or greater) or overweight (having a BMI of 27 or greater) with at least one weight-related comorbid condition. Patients received one dose of VK2735 weekly or a placebo for 13 weeks.

Over the 13 weeks, patients taking VK2735 lost up to 14.7 percent of their body weight (roughly 32 pounds)—which was 13 percent more than the placebo group lost, per the press release.

According to Business Insider, while trials of semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) and tirzepatide (Zepbound and Mounjaro) had similar results, they also had longer clinical trials—meaning VK2735 may work even faster. Trials of semaglutide spanned 68 weeks, while trials of tirzepatide lasted 16 months, Business Insider reported.

"Robust weight loss" was reported for all doses of VK2735 when compared with the placebo group, and weight loss reductions were "progressive" throughout the study. Because patients didn't plateau with their weight loss at 13 weeks, "further weight loss might be achieved from extended dosing periods," Brian Lian, PhD, chief executive officer of Viking, said in the release.

RELATED: Ozempic Patients Say It "Stops Working" for Weight Loss—How to Prevent That.

Viking's new drug is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) antagonist, meaning it targets two hormones. Tirzepatide also targets two hormones, while semaglutide only targets GLP-1. As doctors told Business Insider in Dec. 2023, targeting two hormones could make certain drugs more effective for weight loss.

In addition to being effective, VK2735 "demonstrated encouraging safety and tolerability," the press release states.

Twenty-three patients (13 percent) discontinued treatment, five of whom were in the placebo cohort and 18 of whom were in the VK2735 treatment cohort. Of those receiving the experimental drug, 92 percent reported treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) and one reported a serious adverse event (SAE) of dehydration.

Most TEAEs (95 percent) were mild to moderate gastrointestinal (GI) side effects, including nausea and vomiting. The Viking press release adds that these GI side effects tended to occur early in treatment, and decreased with repeated dosing.

In a statement in the press release, Lian said that Viking is "excited" about the latest results, and noted that the company is working on a pill form of VK2735 as well.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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