Weight Loss Drug Zepbound May Significantly Reduce Blood Pressure

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Feb. 5, 2024 – People with obesity who took the weight loss drug Zepbound saw a reduction in blood pressure similar to or better than results usually seen with traditional drugs to treat high blood pressure, or hypertension, a new analysis shows. 

The findings were published Monday in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.

About 500 people in the study wore 24-hour blood pressure monitoring devices, either on a waist belt or shoulder strap, that took measurements from a connected cuff on the non-dominant arm. The readings were taken every 30 minutes during the day and every 60 minutes at night. 

The researchers compared readings from the 24-hour period at the start of the study to the 24-hour period at the end of the 36-week trial period. People’s systolic blood pressure decreased between 7 and 10 points, depending on the dosage of Zepbound, whose generic name is tirzepatide.

Systolic blood pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading and can be a predictor of potentially deadly heart problems.

“Although tirzepatide has been studied as a weight loss medication, the blood pressure reduction in our patients in this study was impressive,” lead author James A. de Lemos, MD, a professor of medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said in a statement. “While it is not known if the impact on blood pressure was due to the medication or the participants’ weight loss, the lower blood pressure measures seen with tirzepatide rivaled what is seen for many hypertension medications.”

The researchers noted that 24-hour examination of blood pressure is a better gauge of heart problems than single in-office readings, and nighttime readings are particularly predictive. When they looked at just the nighttime readings of the people in the study, blood pressure was still significantly reduced at the end of the 36-week study period.

Nearly half of all U.S. adults have high blood pressure, and the condition is very common among people with obesity.

Tirzepatide works by affecting hormones that impact appetite and food intake. In its approval of the drug for weight loss last year, the FDA cited an average 18% reduction in body weight among people with overweight or obesity who took the drug for nearly a year and a half.