Obesity remains the leading cause of mortality and Type II Diabetes diagnoses worldwide. This occurs even though individuals could prevent this fate with lifestyle changes, weight loss surgery and even drug treatments. Experts suggest that pharmacological treatments offer modest benefits for treating obesity as compared to more invasive weight loss surgery procedures. However, just how successful are these drug treatments and are they safe?
A recent study showed evidence that determines whether these pharmacological interventions could yield the same amount of weight loss success as bariatric surgery for obese patients. Other combination medications that have already been approved were also discussed in this study.
The first combination medication that includes both topiramate and phentermine, Qsymia, is used mostly with obese, Type II Diabetes patients. The phentermine in the drug works to suppress one’s appetite while the anticonvulsant topiramate helps the patient to lose weight.
Another drug, Contrave, includes both naltrexone and bupropion. Both of these things inhibit the reuptake of dopamine as well as norephinephrine, which harness a weight loss benefit for the body. Belviq or Lorcaserin is another anti-obesity prescription drug that shows promise as it has a 5-HT2C receptor that works to reduce appetite (satiety) and promotes weight loss safely.
Most of these drugs are appetite-suppressants, which work by increasing one or more of brain chemicals which affect both the appetite and mood. These drugs are much safely than any other weight loss pill found at a drug store that hasn’t been tested for safety and effectiveness.
During this study, researchers talk mostly of intestinal gut hormones as both existing and potential drug targets for these medications. Hormones such as Peptide tyrosine-tyrosine or PYY, Ghrelin, Amylin, Pancreatic polypeptide (PP), Cholecystokinin (CCK) and Oxytomodulin (OXM) are all mentioned. They have been determined to be peripheral drug treatments for obesity drug treatments.
The authors of this study conclude that combinations of pharmacological agents or medications may be required in order to achieve the weight loss seen with bariatric surgery. Many clinical trials of these drugs show that many combinations in the pipelines show improve weight loss as compared to just single-agent counterparts. They believe that in the future, there will be more combinations of gut hormones in drug targets for obesity treatment medications.