Obese individuals seeking to lose weight have many FDA-approved prescription drugs to choose from including Belviq and newly approved Saxenda. There is still a long journey for better weight loss as scientists develop new fat loss alternatives every day.
Researchers at Salk Institute recently developed fexaramine; a pill that tricks the body into thinking it has consumed calories, causing it to burn fat. This new weight loss pill effectively stopped weight gain, controlled blood sugar, lowered cholesterol and decreased inflammation in mice, making it a great candidate for fast transition into human clinical studies (Evans et al. 2015). Many of the prescription drugs that we have currently on the market like caffeine-based drugs or appetite suppressants dissolve in the blood, but fexaramine stays in the intestines causing lesser side effects.
There was a study published earlier this month on how diet pills or weight loss supplements rarely work without diet or exercise but this new pill could really be an effective option for obesity. “This pill is like an imaginary meal” says Ronald Evans, director of Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory and senior author of the new paper, published January 5, 2014 in Nature Medicine. “It sends out the same signs that normally happen when you eat a lot of food, so the body starts clearing out space to store it. But there are no calories and no change in appetite.”
Evans and his colleagues gave obese mice a daily pill of fexaramine for 5 weeks in which the mice stopped gaining weight, lost fat and had lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels than untreated mice (Evans et al. 2015). Obese patients who have trouble overeating can benefit greatly from fexaramine because they will feel less hungry and the body will burn calories fast with diet and exercise combined.
I agree that fexaramine may be safer in humans because it doesn’t make it to the bloodstream like other FXR targeting drugs. Administered under a physician’s guidance, this drug would work in combination with diet and lifestyle changes, much like weight loss surgeries or other obesity treatments.
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Source: Evans, R. et al. “Imaginary Meal” tricks the body into losing weight” 5 January 2015 Salk Institute