June 25, 2021
Tirzepatide is a dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that is under development for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The efficacy and safety of once-weekly tirzepatide as compared with semaglutide, a selective GLP-1 receptor agonist, are unknown.
In an open-label, 40-week, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned 1879 patients, in a 1:1:1:1 ratio, to receive tirzepatide at a dose of 5 mg, 10 mg, or 15 mg or semaglutide at a dose of 1 mg. At baseline, the mean glycated hemoglobin level was 8.28%, the mean age 56.6 years, and the mean weight 93.7 kg. The primary end point was the change in the glycated hemoglobin level from baseline to 40 weeks.
The estimated mean change from baseline in the glycated hemoglobin level was −2.01 percentage points, −2.24 percentage points, and −2.30 percentage points with 5 mg, 10 mg, and 15 mg of tirzepatide, respectively, and −1.86 percentage points with semaglutide; the estimated differences between the 5-mg, 10-mg, and 15-mg tirzepatide groups and the semaglutide group were −0.15 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI], −0.28 to −0.03; P=0.02), −0.39 percentage points (95% CI, −0.51 to −0.26; P<0.001), and −0.45 percentage points (95% CI, −0.57 to −0.32; P<0.001), respectively. Tirzepatide at all doses was noninferior and superior to semaglutide. Reductions in body weight were greater with tirzepatide than with semaglutide (least-squares mean estimated treatment difference, −1.9 kg, −3.6 kg, and −5.5 kg, respectively; P<0.001 for all comparisons). The most common adverse events were gastrointestinal and were primarily mild to moderate in severity in the tirzepatide and semaglutide groups (nausea, 17 to 22% and 18%; diarrhea, 13 to 16% and 12%; and vomiting, 6 to 10% and 8%, respectively). Of the patients who received tirzepatide, hypoglycemia (blood glucose level, <54 mg per deciliter) was reported in 0.6% (5-mg group), 0.2% (10-mg group), and 1.7% (15-mg group); hypoglycemia was reported in 0.4% of those who received semaglutide. Serious adverse events were reported in 5 to 7% of the patients who received tirzepatide and in 3% of those who received semaglutide.
In patients with type 2 diabetes, tirzepatide was noninferior and superior to semaglutide with respect to the mean change in the glycated hemoglobin level from baseline to 40 weeks.