Asthma Drug May Be New TX for Obesity

Antidepressants are taken by roughly 1 in 25 adolescents in the United States, according to a new CDC report.


Amlexanox, an off-patent drug currently prescribed for the treatment of asthma and canker sores may also be an effective treatment for obesity and diabetes. Researchers at the University of Michigan's Life Sciences Institute demonstrated that the drug had "profound beneficial effects in both genetic and dietary-induced obese mice", according to a release from the university. The chemical lowered the weight of obese mice and reversed related metabolic problems such as diabetes and fatty liver. The study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

The release quotes scientist Alan Saltiel as saying, "One of the reasons that diets are so ineffective in producing weight loss for some people is that their bodies adjust to the reduced calories by also reducing their metabolism, so that they are 'defending' their body weight. Amlexanox seems to tweak the metabolic response to excessive calorie storage in mice."

Saltiel is teaming up with clinical-trial specialists at U-M to test whether amlexanox will be useful for treating obesity and diabetes in humans. He is also working with medicinal chemists at U-M to develop a new compound based on the drug that optimizes its formula.

"Amlexanox appears to work in mice by inhibiting two genes —IKKE and TBK1—that we think together act as a sort of brake on metabolism. By releasing the brake, amlexanox seems to free the metabolic system to burn more, and possibly store less, energy." 

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