Health Makes More Healthy


The Future of Dieting

Just like technology, pharmacology is constantly evolving. There is always the new hot drug on the market. Some save lives, some make life more livable, and some help you shed those unwanted pounds without living at the gym. Here is a look at some of the breakthrough pharmaceutical releases set to make their market debut over the next few years.

Pramlintide – Already available in the U.S. as a diabetes treatment, Pramlintide is being studied by Amylin Pharmaceuticals for its ability to produce a feeling of fullness when eating and reduce weight. A synthetic form of a satiety hormone, research has shown that when it’s injected into people’s bodies before a meal they eat less, even when given foods they crave. Amylin is also looking at how the drug works in combination with other hormones.

CP404 – CP404 is a calcium channel blocker that works as a nasal spray to block olfactory activity, or our sense of smell, and reduce food intake. Compellis Pharmaceuticals is developing the drug, which has only been tested on mice so far, says Compellis CEO Chris Adams. The company plans to begin human testing this year.

Orlistat (Xenical and alli) – A lipase inhibitor, Orlistat promotes weight loss by preventing the digestion and absorption of some fat from food. Unabsorbed fat is then excreted via the stool. It’s available by prescription as Xenical and, since June, as alli, the only FDA-approved over-the-counter weight loss product. Orlistat side effects may include gas with oily spotting and an urgent need to have a bowel movement

CLA – A new meta-analysis by University of Wisconsin at Madison researchers has shown that supplements containing conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), on the market for years, may help people shed fat. It’s believed that CLA, a fatty acid found in foods of animal origin such as beef, modifies enzymes responsible for storing and burning fat. Supplements are a good vehicle for CLA because it would be difficult for people to get enough of the fatty acid without loading up on saturated fat.

PP – Researchers at the Imperial College, London, are looking at how gut hormones–pancreatic polypeptide (PP) in particular–affect appetite control. The hormones are released when a person eats, acting as neurotransmitters that tell the brain to stop eating. Though it’s being developed in the form of an injection, it’s possible in the future that it could be produced as a patch or gum. Researchers hope to start phase one trials early next year and get the drug on the market in three to five years.

Y2R blocker – Georgetown University Medical Center researchers have been able to use nontoxic chemical injections to add and remove fat from lab mice. To add fat, researchers injected the neurotransmitter NPY into the mice. It’s believed that NPY is activated during stress, causing apple-shaped obesity and metabolic syndrome. But administration of the receptor Y2R into the mice’s abdominal fat prevented both results, melting the fat. Researchers hope that blocking Y2R might work the same way in humans.

Rimonabant (Acomplia) – Approved for use in the European Union as an obesity treatment, rimonabant selectively blocks the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. This system of receptors in the brain and body helps regulate food intake and how the body uses and stores fats and sugars. In clinical trials, rimonabant has been shown to reduce body weight, with side effects such as nausea and anxiety. Sanofi-aventis withdrew its FDA new drug application for rimonabant last month but is working toward resubmitting.

Suppressing Rip140 – Research has shown that suppression of receptor-interacting protein 140 (Rip140), a nuclear hormone co-repressor that regulates fat accumulation, can accelerate fat burning in animals and fat cells. Initially the subject of experiments at Imperial College in London, RXi Pharmaceuticals is developing the approach as a potential obesity or type-2 diabetes treatment.

Cetilistat – Under development by Alizyme, Cetilistat is a gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor that blocks fat digestion and absorption, causing weight loss. Clinical trials have shown that the drug has fewer side effects than Xenical, according to Alizyme. Cetilistat is currently being prepared for phase-three clinical development.

Meridia – An oral prescription medication, Meridia works by affecting the appetite control center in the brain. Most people who lose weight on the drug, in combination with diet and exercise, do so in the first six months of treatment, according to its maker, Abbott Laboratories. Common side effects include headache, dry mouth, constipation and insomnia.

So, have you scoped out the ones that sound like the next big wonder drug? Well don’t get too excited, these need a little more time before they are readily available to the public but keep your eyes peeled for them over the next few years. And remember that being healthy is more than just a weight game. Be active, be fit, be healthy, and you will look good naked. The ultimate goal right?

Copyright (c) 2007 Luke Burgis