- Scientists have begun investigating whether so-called miracle obesity drugs could be used to treat conditions such as dementia and alcoholism.
- Recent trials point to the drug’s efficacy in reducing major cardiovascular events and reducing symptoms associated with heart failure.
- The discovery marks a milestone as pharmaceutical companies such as Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly seek to spread awareness of their seemingly “vanity” drugs.
Weight-loss drugs are being evaluated for their ability to treat conditions such as dementia and addiction, after groundbreaking research showed Wegovy could help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
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LONDON — A so-called miracle obesity drug can be used to treat conditions such as dementia and alcoholism, after recent trials point to the drug’s efficacy in treating serious health problems. started investigating whether
Late-stage trial data released last month by Novo Nordisk showed that the company’s Wegobee weight-loss injections led to a “significant reduction” in body weight. Symptoms associated with heart failure among at-risk patients.
This comes a few weeks after the Danish pharmaceutical company published its long-awaited study results.selectThe study showed the drug’s role in reducing the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.
The results of the study represent a major milestone for the company, which is trying to spread awareness of its product, which some call a “vanity drug,” and the researchers say the findings could lead to other uses for the drug. We hope that it will be positive news.
“The results show that this drug may provide health benefits beyond the short term,” said Christian Hendershot, director of the Clinical and Translational Addiction Research Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am,” he told CNBC via Zoom.
Hendershot is among researchers investigating whether the appetite-regulating mechanisms that work in weight-loss drugs could be used to treat other conditions such as alcohol and drug addiction.
Novo Nordisk’s Wegoby and Eli Lilly’s Munjaro work by mimicking naturally occurring gut hormones that help regulate appetite in the brain, ultimately leading to weight loss. For that, they rely on active ingredients called semaglutide and liraglutide, respectively, which belong to a group of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists.
Preclinical data have pointed to the efficacy of GLP-1 agents in reducing drug and alcohol intake in animals for several years. Hendershot is now testing Wegovy’s predecessor, Ozempic, which he used to treat type 2 diabetes, to see if these trends apply to humans.
If these two studies were both read…the impact this would have on the field cannot be overstated.
Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology, Oklahoma State University
“There is reason for optimism, especially considering the report. Now it is our job to conduct studies that validate these findings with clinical data,” said Hendershott, who will announce the findings early next year. said he planned to.
Kyle Simmons, professor of pharmacology and physiology at Oklahoma State University, said there were early indications of the drug’s effectiveness in curbing cravings for cocaine, amphetamines and opioids, and if the drug’s widespread application. If it proves effective, the impact could be enormous, he said. .
Simmons now leads the world Semaglutide therapy to reduce alcohol The (STAR) trial is a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that is being conducted in parallel with another similar study at the University of Baltimore.
“If the results of these two studies are both positive, the impact of this on the ground cannot be overstated,” he said.
Some researchers hope that the drug could also be used to treat dementia and other cognitive disorders.
There is already evidence to suggest that GLP-1 drugs can reduce bacterial accumulation. amyloid and tau Two proteins in the brain are thought to be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia.
Now, trial An ongoing study at the University of Oxford will examine whether the drug can reduce tau accumulation and brain inflammation in patients at risk of developing dementia, meaning those with high levels of amyloid in the brain.
“We want to see if these drugs interfere with the core pathologies of Alzheimer’s disease,” said senior clinical researcher Ivan Koychev, who is leading the study.
Others believe the drug could be used to treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which causes irregular periods, hormonal imbalances and fertility problems.
“When women with PCOS show positive results for irregular menstruation and hirsutism [excess hair growth] Despite the modest weight loss, it may underscore the broader therapeutic potential of this drug,” said a consultant endocrinologist and senior clinical lecturer at the University of Hull, who is currently conducting such trials. Hershal Deshmukh said.
However, the additional use of weight-loss drugs may exacerbate the hurdles already faced by patients using weight-loss drugs: high cost and inadequate supply.
Earlier this month, Novo Nordisk extended Wegobee’s initial dose limit, citing production constraints, but Eli Lilly cautioned: continuous delay Same for Mounjaro output for the same reason.
Hendershot said his research was not affected by the shortage at this time, but Simmons said it was a “serious concern.”
Meanwhile, concerns about the drug’s potential side effects have been raised after some patients reported suicidal or self-harming thoughts.
Does this drug inhibit increased reward signaling?
Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology, Oklahoma State University
Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fluagaard Jorgensen said at Reuters’ Newsmaker event. last month The number of suspected cases remained minimal compared to the drug’s widespread effects. “When you have millions of patients, and drugs that are used for different types of patients, you can run into different incidents,” he said.
But Simmons said more research is needed to understand the effects of such drugs on reward signaling in the brain. In his own research, he plans to test such signals by monitoring participants’ reward responses in virtual reality simulations.
“Maybe because the drug affects the mesolimbic dopamine system, is it just suppressing increased reward signaling in a way that promotes anhedonia?” Simmons said. . Anhedonia is the term used to describe the diminished ability to experience pleasure.
“If this drug were used by more and more people and started to promote loss of interest in pleasure more generally, it might not be great for people with a history of major depressive disorder, for example. I can’t,” he said. Added.