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expert reaction to press release from Lilly presenting data on weight loss after tirzepatide obesity drug

The press release from Eli Lilly states that their drug tirzepatide demonstrated significant and superior weight loss compared to placebo in two studies, SURMOUNT-3 and SURMOUNT-4.


Please note Carel was a co-author on SURMOUNT-2

Prof Carel Le Roux, Professor of Metabolic Medicine, Ulster University; and Professor of Experimental Pathology, University College Dublin, said:

“SURMOUNT-3 showed that patients who initially successfully achieved weight loss with an intensive lifestyle approach and were subsequently treated with medication lost an additional 20% of their weight.  This suggests that medications for obesity have an additive benefit to nutritional therapies for obesity.  The data quality is robust and reassuring.

“SURMOUNT-4 demonstrated that patients who tolerate the medication, lost on average a quarter of their weight, but if the medication is stopped, the weight is regained.  The message to patients is that the medication controls the disease of obesity but as soon as it is stopped, the disease will relapse.  This is consistent with every other medication for obesity which has ever been tested and thus the data is convincing.”



Declared interests

Prof Carel Le Roux: “Carel was a co-author on SURMOUNT-2 (

Professor of Metabolic Medicine, Ulster University; and Professor of Experimental Pathology, University College Dublin:

Grants or contracts from any entity:

Irish Research Council – Payments to my institution;

Health Research Board – Payments to my institution;

Science Foundation Ireland – Payments to my institution;

Anabio – Payments to my institution.

Royalties or licenses:


Consulting fees:

NovoNordisk – Global Advisory Board;

Eli Lilly – Global Advisory Board;

Johnson&Johnson – Global Advisory Board.

Boehringer Ingelheim – Global Advisory Board;

GI Dynamics – Global Advisory Board;

Herbalife – Global Advisory Board;

Altimmune – Global Advisory Board;

Irish Life Health – Advisory Board.

Payment or honoraria for lectures, presentations, speakers bureaus, manuscript writing or educational events:

NovoNordisk – Payments to me for presentations;

Herbalife – Payments to me for presentations;

Johnson&Johnson – Payments to me for presentations;

Eli Lilly – Payments to me for presentations;

Boehringer Ingelheim – Payments to me for presentations;

Rhythm Pharmaceuticals – Payments to me for presentations;

Currax Pharmaceuticals – Payments to me for presentations.

Payment for expert testimony:


Support for attending meetings and/or travel:

NovoNordisk – Payments to me;

Herbalife – Payments to me;

Johnson&Johnson – Payments to me;

Eli Lilly – Payments to me;

Boehringer Ingelheim – Payments to me.

Patents planned, issued or pending:


Participation on a Data Safety Monitoring Board or Advisory Board:


Leadership or fiduciary role in other board, society, committee or advocacy group, paid or unpaid:

Irish Society for Nutrition and Metabolism – Unpaid.

Stock or stock options:

Keyron – Previous Chief medical officer and Director of the Medical Device Division of Keyron in 2021.  Both of these were unremunerated positions.  Previous investor in Keyron, which develops endoscopically implantable medical devices intended to mimic the surgical procedures of sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass.  The product has only been tested in rodents and none of Keyron’s products are currently licensed.  They do not have any contracts with other companies to put their products into clinical practice.  No patients have been included in any of Keyron’s studies and they are not listed on the stock market.  ClR was gifted stock holdings in September 2021 and divested all stock holdings in Keyron in September, 2021.  He continues to provide scientific advice to Keyron for no remuneration.

Beyond BMI – Private obesity clinic providing obesity care.

Receipt of equipment, materials, drugs, medical writing, gifts or other services:


Other financial or non-financial interests:


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