COVID-19 COVID-19 Evidence Alerts from McMaster PLUS is a new service that alerts users to current best evidence for clinical care of people with threatened, suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
Visit the site Sign up for alerts
Rosenstock J, Wysham C, Frias JP, et al. Efficacy and safety of a novel dual GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist tirzepatide in patients with type 2 diabetes (SURPASS-1): a double-blind, randomised, phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2021 Jul 10;398(10295):143-155. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01324-6. Epub 2021 Jun 27. (Original study)

BACKGROUND: Despite advancements in care, many people with type 2 diabetes do not meet treatment goals; thus, development of new therapies is needed. We aimed to assess efficacy, safety, and tolerability of novel dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide and GLP-1 receptor agonist tirzepatide monotherapy versus placebo in people with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled by diet and exercise alone.

METHODS: We did a 40-week, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial (SURPASS-1), at 52 medical research centres and hospitals in India, Japan, Mexico, and the USA. Adult participants (=18 years) were included if they had type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled by diet and exercise alone and if they were naive to injectable diabetes therapy. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1) via computer-generated random sequence to once a week tirzepatide (5, 10, or 15 mg), or placebo. All participants, investigators, and the sponsor were masked to treatment assignment. The primary endpoint was the mean change in glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) from baseline at 40 weeks. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03954834.

FINDINGS: From June 3, 2019, to Oct 28, 2020, of 705 individuals assessed for eligibility, 478 (mean baseline HbA1c 7·9% [63 mmol/mol], age 54·1 years [SD 11·9], 231 [48%] women, diabetes duration 4·7 years, and body-mass index 31·9 kg/m2) were randomly assigned to tirzepatide 5 mg (n=121 [25%]), tirzepatide 10 mg (n=121 [25%]), tirzepatide 15 mg (n=121 [25%]), or placebo (n=115 [24%]). 66 (14%) participants discontinued the study drug and 50 (10%) discontinued the study prematurely. At 40 weeks, all tirzepatide doses were superior to placebo for changes from baseline in HbA1c, fasting serum glucose, bodyweight, and HbA1c targets of less than 7·0% (<53 mmol/mol) and less than 5·7% (<39 mmol/mol). Mean HbA1c decreased from baseline by 1·87% (20 mmol/mol) with tirzepatide 5 mg, 1·89% (21 mmol/mol) with tirzepatide 10 mg, and 2·07% (23 mmol/mol) with tirzepatide 15 mg versus +0·04% with placebo (+0·4 mmol/mol), resulting in estimated treatment differences versus placebo of -1·91% (-21 mmol/mol) with tirzepatide 5 mg, -1·93% (-21 mmol/mol) with tirzepatide 10 mg, and -2·11% (-23 mmol/mol) with tirzepatide 15 mg (all p<0·0001). More participants on tirzepatide than on placebo met HbA1c targets of less than 7·0% (<53 mmol/mol; 87-92% vs 20%) and 6·5% or less (=48 mmol/mol; 81-86% vs 10%) and 31-52% of patients on tirzepatide versus 1% on placebo reached an HbA1c of less than 5·7% (<39 mmol/mol). Tirzepatide induced a dose-dependent bodyweight loss ranging from 7·0 to 9·5 kg. The most frequent adverse events with tirzepatide were mild to moderate and transient gastrointestinal events, including nausea (12-18% vs 6%), diarrhoea (12-14% vs 8%), and vomiting (2-6% vs 2%). No clinically significant (<54 mg/dL [<3 mmol/L]) or severe hypoglycaemia were reported with tirzepatide. One death occurred in the placebo group.

INTERPRETATION: Tirzepatide showed robust improvements in glycaemic control and bodyweight, without increased risk of hypoglycaemia. The safety profile was consistent with GLP-1 receptor agonists, indicating a potential monotherapy use of tirzepatide for type 2 diabetes treatment.

FUNDING: Eli Lilly and Company.

Discipline Area Score
Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP) 6 / 7
General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) 6 / 7
Endocrine 6 / 7
Internal Medicine 5 / 7
Comments from MORE raters

Endocrine rater

This trial provides promising results for a new anti-hyperglycemic agent for type 2 diabetes. Efficacy and safety profile are similar to GLP1-RAs, which would be the current alternative, so head-to-head trials would be useful to help with clinical decisions.

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) rater

This study looked at the effect of tirzepatide on 460 patients with type II diabetes in a double-blind controlled study. Tirzepatide is a unique drug with both GLP-1 and GIP agonistic effects in a single drug. It led to a decrease in HGB A1C from 7.9 to 7.0 in 40 weeks with an average of 7.5 kg weight loss. Its main side effects were GI. It is not commercially available and the cost is unknown. None of the patients were taking metformin.

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) rater

Certainly, the ties of multiple authors to industry are a concern, but the data on this drug are still very impressive.

Internal Medicine rater

The drug is not available.
Comments from EvidenceAlerts subscribers

No subscriber has commented on this article yet.