Learn about retatrutide (GGG tri-agonist) medication

Having recently finished a phase 2 clinical trial, if approved, retatrutide may outperform established weight loss medications like Wegovy, as it led to an average body weight reduction of 24% in participants. Speak to one of our trusted, board-certified doctors to learn more about effective alternative weight loss medication options today.*

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*Please note that retatrutide is still in clinical trials and not yet available in pharmacies. Learn more about our medical weight loss programs, including weight loss medications for qualifying patients. Prescriptions are provided at the doctor’s discretion. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and our prescription discount card.

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What is retatrutide, and how does it work?

Retatrutide is a medication developed by Eli Lilly, administered through a once-weekly injection. The drug is undergoing phase 2 trials to evaluate its efficacy in treating obesity, managing type 2 diabetes, and potentially addressing other conditions like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

These trials are taking place after the medication semaglutide quickly gained popularity. Known under brand names such as Ozempic and Wegovy, semaglutide is primarily used for treating diabetes but also can be highly effective for weight loss.

Another promising diabetes drug, tirzepatide, also known as Mounjaro, is awaiting FDA approval for its weight loss benefits.

Both semaglutide and tirzepatide act on glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists in the body. This means that they mimic the function of a hormone known as GLP-1, which plays a critical role in regulating blood sugar levels and promoting satiety. By activating GLP-1 receptors, these medications can improve glycemic control and induce a feeling of fullness after meals.

Similarly, retatrutide operates by targeting GLP-1 receptors. However, the weight loss drug distinguishes itself by also acting on receptors for two additional hormones. One of these hormones is called glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), which aids in managing blood sugar levels. The other hormone is glucagon, which plays a role in regulating hunger. By acting on GLP-1, GIP, and glucagon receptors, retatrutide is considered a GGG tri-agonist.

Anticipated retatrutide uses

  • Obesity

    In the phase 2 trial of retatrutide published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), a group of 338 adults with obesity were randomly given either a placebo or one of four different doses of retatrutide: 1 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg, or 12 mg. Remarkably, every patient who received the highest dose of retatrutide experienced a weight loss of at least 5% of their body weight after 48 weeks of treatment. Approximately one in four participants lost 30% of their body weight or more.

  • Type 2 diabetes

    In a separate study involving 281 adults with type 2 diabetes, the results published in the Lancet in June 2023 showed that individuals receiving the highest dose of retatrutide achieved a weight loss of approximately 17% of their body weight after nine months of treatment. These promising results are significant, partly because individuals with both obesity and type 2 diabetes often encounter challenges with losing weight.

Anticipated retatrutide side effects

  • The initial clinical trials reported various side effects associated with retatrutide, with higher doses generally resulting in more noticeable symptoms. These side effects included:

    The researchers highlighted that these symptoms were generally of mild to moderate severity. Interestingly, when patients started with a lower dose of 2 mg instead of 4 mg, the intensity of these side effects was reduced.

    In addition, a small percentage of patients (7%) experienced skin tingling. Heart rate seemed to increase in individuals using retatrutide for up to 24 weeks (although it eventually decreased after 24 weeks).

Alternative medications to retatrutide

If your doctor recommends an alternative treatment to retatrutide, they may suggest other medications from different drug classes to manage or promote weight loss. Here are some commonly recommended alternatives based on specific health conditions:

Retatrutide medication FAQs

  • When will retatrutide be available?

    Despite encouraging trial results, the approval process for retatrutide by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to be lengthy, taking several years. This is primarily due to the requirement to complete extensive phase three trials, projected to continue until 2025.

  • Who is the manufacturer of retatrutide?

    The manufacturer of retatrutide is Lilly, officially known as Eli Lilly and Company, a well-known pharmaceutical company. Their extensive range of medications treats cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, endocrinology, cancer, and more. They manufacture the popular type 2 diabetes drugs Mounjaro (tirzepatide) and Trulicity (dulaglutide), among others.

    Lilly is actively involved in research and development, aiming to discover and introduce new medications to the market.

  • What is the retatrutide peptide?

    Retatrutide refers to a peptide known as LY3437943, which acts on three receptors: the glucagon receptor (GCGR), the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide receptor (GIPR), and the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R). Activity at these receptors affects hunger regulation and blood sugar control. Retatrutide's unique properties make it a promising candidate for obesity research.

  • How much weight can you lose on retatrutide?

    In a clinical trial, retatrutide helped patients lose an average of up to 24 percent of their body weight, equivalent to up to 60 pounds. This experimental medication demonstrates more substantial weight loss compared to the existing obesity drugs available now, including popular type 2 diabetes and weight loss medications like Ozempic and Wegovy. The benefits of this medication could help individuals avoid bariatric surgery.

  • What are GIP agonists for weight loss?

    GLP-1 receptor agonists aid in weight loss by suppressing appetite signals in the brain and promoting feelings of fullness, leading to reduced food intake. Similarly, GIP agonists regulate energy balance by signaling through receptors in fat tissue and the brain.