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Eli Lilly weight-loss drug 'significantly' reduces sleep apnoea

(Sharecast News) - Eli Lily's weight-loss drug tirzepatide has been shown to "significantly" reduce sleep apnoea severity, the US drugs giant said on Wednesday. The firm said phase 3 clinical trials had showed that tirzepatide - which is sold as Zepbound in the US - "significantly reduced the apnoea-hypopnea index (AHI) compared to a placebo, achieving the primary endpoints".

In particular, it achieved a mean AHI reduction of up to 63%, or about 30 fewer events per hour.

It was also shown to improve symptoms in those with moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and obesity with and without positive airway pressure therapy.

Eli Lilly said it would now submit the data for global regulatory review.

Jeff Emmick, senior vice president, product development, at Eli Lilly, said: "OSA impacts 80m adults in the US, with more than 20m living with moderate-to-severe OSA. However, 85% of cases go undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

"Addressing this unmet ned head-on is critical, and while there are pharmaceutical treatments for the excessive sleepiness associated with OSA, tirzepatide has to the potential to be the first pharmaceutical treatment for the underlying disease."

Weight-loss drugs such as Zepbound and Novo Nordisk's Wegovy, known as GLP-1 agonists, were designed to treat obesity and diabetes, and already generated billions of dollars of sales since coming to market.

However, evidence increasingly appears to suggest they can treat other diseases as well, such as OSA. Last month, Wegovy was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration a treatment for lowering strong and heart attack risk in obese adults.

As at 1330 BST, Eli Lily had put on 2% in pre-market trading.

OSA is a sleep-related breathing disorder that is characterised by the partial or complete collapse of the upper airway during sleep.

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