New weight loss drug being 'evaluated' after Aussie dies while using Ozempic

The Therapeutic Goods Administration are currently reviewing a new weight loss drug.

A new weight loss drug may soon be available to Aussies after it was approved by US authorities this week.

The drug called Mounjaro — which uses active ingredient tirzepatide — is commonly used in the country to treat type-2 diabetes, however the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has confirmed to Yahoo News Australia an application to recognise the drug as a weight loss medication is currently being reviewed.

"TGA accepted, and is now evaluating, an application from [manufacturer] Eli Lilly to extend the indication for Mounjaro for use as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management."

Mounjaro being injected into someone abdomen with authorities currently reviewing it as a weight loss drug.
The drug Mounjaro is currently used in Australia as diabetes medication, however, is currently under review for its potential as a weight loss drug. Source: The Conversation

It is reported Mounjaro would be an alternative to Ozempic — another injection drug which was initially manufactured to help treat diabetes before later gaining approval as a weight loss drug.

How long can the process take?

According to the TGA the application was received early October and the process can take up to "255 working days" for a result to be reached, which is a requirement by law.

The TGA may decide to follow suit with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision to change the name of the drug to differentiate its use, which is called Mounjaro for diabetes and Zepbound for weight loss.

Risks of taking weight loss drugs

There has been public debate about the use of weight loss drugs, with many concerned their availability perpetuates unhealthy habits while others advocate for more medical resources to aid the weight loss process.

Ozempic can cause severe side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, with Mounjaro currently listing many of the same side effects.

However, manufacturer Eli Lilly claims the new drug yields more than 20 per cent average weight loss over 72 weeks when compared to other approved medicines, suggesting patients may have a shorter bout of the drug.

Aussie woman dies while using Ozempic

This week Aussie man Roy Webster issued a desperate plea to others to be aware of the dangerous side effect of weight loss drugs after his wife Trish, 56, died from a severe stomach illness. It is believed she was using Ozempic as well as another weight loss drug, Saxenda, and had lost a total of 16 kilos.

Roy and Trish Webster smile at the camera.
Aussie man Roy Webster is urging people to think twice before taking diabetes drugs like Ozempic for weight loss after his wife Trish's tragic death. Source: 60 Minutes

Although her death certificate stated her cause of death was acute gastrointestinal illness and doesn't draw direct links to her medications, her husband Roy believes it contributed to her death.

Governing bodies like the TGA and FDA in the US stress that weight loss drugs should be used alongside diet management and exercise, not as a substitution.

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