(WKBN) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new weight loss drug Wednesday.

Zepbound (tirzepatide) is an injection for chronic weight management for adult obese patients with at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.

Tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Zepbound, is already approved under the trade name Mounjaro to be used along with diet and exercise to help improve blood sugar (glucose) in adults with type 2 diabetes.

“Obesity and overweight are serious conditions that can be associated with some of the leading causes of death such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes,” said Dr. John Sharretts, director of the Division of Diabetes, Lipid Disorders, and Obesity in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “In light of increasing rates of both obesity and overweight in the United States, today’s approval addresses an unmet medical need.” 

The FDA says that 70% of American adults are overweight, with many having conditions related to weight.

Zepbound works by activating receptors of hormones secreted from the intestines to reduce appetite and food intake. The medication is administered by injection once a week, with the dosage increasing over four to 20 weeks.

Studies show that combined with diet and exercise, the medication helps to facilitate significant weight loss.

Side effects could include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal (stomach) discomfort and pain, injection site reactions, fatigue, hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions (typically fever and rash), burping, hair loss and gastroesophageal reflux disease.