Naltrexone via Obesity

Naltrexone Treatment and Obesity

The results of research conducted by a group of American experts from Pennigton Biomedical Research Center of Louisiana suggest that the combination of drugs used to treat drug and nicotine dependence, promotes weight loss of obese patients.

Frank Greenway and his colleagues observed 1742 patients with obesity who were divided into three groups. The authors suggested to all volunteers to become participants of a weight loss program that combined both diet and various physical exercises. However, participants from the first group were receiving 32 milligrams of naltrexone daily in combination with bupropion, the participants from the second group were assigned to 16 milligrams of naltrexone daily also in combination with bupropion, while volunteers from the third (control) group were receiving placebo.

Naltrexone is a drug that blocks opioid receptors. Naloxone (short acting version of Naltrexone) is used in treatment of acute poisoning by narcotic analgesics. Prescription of Naltrexone over a long period of time prevents the development of physical dependence to opiates. Naltrexone is also used to treat alcohol dependence.

Bupropion is an inhibitor of the reuptake of dopamine and antagonist of nicotinic receptors. Usually it is used in treatment of nicotine addiction. The authors note that from all participants enrolled for the experimental weight loss program were able to pass only 870 patients, although the final sample was composed of 1453 volunteers.

The results of the study showed that members of two experimental groups who were receiving a combination of drugs eliminated on an average of 5-6% of their body weight, depending on the dosage of prescribed medications. As for the participants from the control group, they were able to get rid of only 1.3% of their body weight. Researchers also emphasize that among volunteers who completed the weight loss program, the average weight loss was 8%.

Commenting on the findings, the head of the study noted that the same combination of naltrexone and bupropion prescribed to patients who took part in another similar study with more rigorous diet and more intense physical activity, allowed the participants to eliminate on an average of 10% of their body weight. The American scientist said that his research group pioneered the use of a combination of drugs acting on the appetite center and on the reward system of the brain of the patients to help them to lose weight.

A report on this work was published in The Lancet journal.

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