Press release | 25th Jun 2024

Tirzepatide SURMOUNTs obstructive sleep apnea, what’s next in advancing GLP-1s?

A new option for patients with obstructive sleep apnea

The results of the SURMOUNT-OSA trial were presented by Eli Lilly at the ADA 2024 medical congress last week, marking a significant advancement in the field of GLP-1 therapies. This trial focused on evaluating the efficacy of tirzepatide in obese adults with moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), including those with and without positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy.

Traditionally, OSA has been managed through lifestyle modifications and PAP therapy. In the SURMOUNT-OSA trial, tirzepatide achieved a mean apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) reduction of up to 63% (~30 fewer events per hour), with and without PAP therapy, and up to half of all participants met the criteria for disease resolution. Based on the study data, tirzepatide may emerge as the first potential pharmacological intervention for treating obesity-related OSA, though sleep experts caveated that it would likely be used in combination with PAP.

Holistic approach to health

The benefits of incretin-based therapies extend beyond glycemic control and weight management, showcasing a holistic approach to improving health. Emerging data from the field suggests that incretins can also significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, improve renal function, and address numerous other weight-related comorbidities. The latest data on OSA aligns with broader clinical evidence indicating that incretin therapies contribute to a comprehensive improvement in patients’ overall health profiles. This multifaceted benefit underscores the potential of incretin therapies as a cornerstone in managing chronic conditions associated with cardiometabolic syndrome.

Improving reimbursement in the obesity indication

One of the hurdles in the widespread adoption of GLP-1 therapies for obesity has been reimbursement. However, recent developments, such as the inclusion of Wegovy in Medicare Part D for obese individuals at risk of cardiovascular events based on the SELECT study data from Novo Nordisk, have paved the way for improved coverage. The SURMOUNT-OSA trial results are poised to further bolster the case for including GLP-1 therapies in reimbursement plans for obesity treatment. Demonstrating efficacy in treating OSA, a condition closely linked to obesity, adds yet another reason for healthcare payers to consider GLP-1 therapies as a valuable and cost-effective option.

The evolving obesity landscape

The obesity treatment landscape is rapidly evolving, with numerous pharmaceutical companies striving to capture market share. Multiple competitors are all developing novel therapies to target obesity and its related complications. The SURMOUNT-OSA trial results will likely further influence competitive dynamics within this burgeoning market. As the evidence base for GLP-1 therapies grows, they are expected to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of obesity treatment, setting new standards for efficacy and patient outcomes.

What’s next?

The presentation of the SURMOUNT-OSA trial results at ADA 2024 represents a milestone in GLP-1 therapy development. By offering a new treatment avenue for obstructive sleep apnea and highlighting additional health benefits, these results will contribute to the adoption of GLP-1 therapies in obese patients. Moreover, improving reimbursement landscapes and a competitive market will enhance their accessibility and impact, paving the way for a healthier future for patients with obesity and associated conditions.

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