Rodents get hooked up…again

Those rodents…they’re always reaping the benefits of new weight-loss drugs. Luckily for them, the drugs many times work effectively and they are left sans a few ounces and moving up the hierarchy of rodent hood, strutting their improved sleek, trim bodies.
Research at Indiana University, lead by Richard DiMarchi, looked into drug therapies to increase metabolism while suppressing the appetite. Outcome: it’s working in rodents. The critters lost 25% of their body weight and 42% of their fat mass….after just one week [1]. WHAT is this miracle drug…and when and where can I get some, right?
Most interestingly, the drug is comprised of two FDA-approved drugs: Byetta and Glucagon. Byetta is a drug therapy used in the treatment of diabetes [1]. A recent (separate) study on Byetta showed that when combined with diet and exercise, the drug produces weight loss. One-hundred and fifty-two obese men (BMI > 30 and an average weight of 241 lbs) were split into 2 groups. Roughly 25% of the study participants has pre-existing glucose tolerance, a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. One of the groups received 10 micrograms of exenatide (Byetta) twice a day while the other group received a placebo. For a 24-week period, both groups were put on a diet and exercise program. After six months, those taking the exenatide (Byetta) lost 3x more weight (11 lbs) than those taking the placebo (3.5 lbs) [2].
Experts comment saying:
“This has potential…It’s long been known that combination therapies can work well – that is, multiple drugs at the same time to treat chronic illness, viruses, et cetera…With this paper, we see that a single drug is developed that acts in two different ways, which is a littler different. It’s like getting one drug to work in two distinct ways.” –Keith-Thomas Ayoob, associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York.
“Remember, even though these are mice, the treatment is affecting two receptor systems that exist in humans.” – Dr. Lou Aronne, weight-loss author and obesity expert.
I had a patient just last week asking about Hydroxycut made with Ephedra. He said, “Man, I used to eat whatever I wanted with that stuff and I looked gooooood!”. My reply, “There’s likely a reason it’s no longer legal in the US my friend,.”
While the evidence is in support of this new miracle drug (on mice, anyways), does the bottom line not yet remain: eat less, move more? As I tell all my patients, being thin and being healthy are NOT synonymous!! Make it a health(ier) one today and everyday.
[1]. Canning, A. and Childs, D. A New Weight Loss Quick Fix? ABC News Health. July 14, 2009.
[2]. Thomas, Jennifer. Diabetes Drug Byetta May Aid Weight Loss in Obese Patients. ABC News Health. June 12, 2009.
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