Thursday, 23 Oct, 2008 Science
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Scientists Developed New Powerful Obesity Drug

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Tesofensine is the new obesity drug, which scientists plan to introduce into the world market in just a couple of years. Studies of the drug show that it is two times more effective than other drugs, such as sibutramine or rimonabant, which are currently-approved therapies in Europe.

Sibutramine has a different trade name in the United States and Canada, i.e. Meridia. In Europe and other countries it is called Reductil. As for Rimonabant, it is licensed in Europe and other countries under the name Acomplia.

The discovery was made by scientists from Neurosearch, a Denmark-based company, and the Faculty of Life Sciences at University of Copenhagen. The information regarding the study and its results will be published in "The Lancet."

Tesofensine showed promising results in animal models. Patient with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease unintentionally lost weight when being prescribed the new drug, which was studied for those conditions. According to researchers, tesofensine holds back hunger, leading to energy deficit that burns off extra fat, informs EurekAlert!.

The second phase of the study was done in 5 obesity management centers located in Denmark. It included 203 patients suffering from excessive weight. All of them were on a limited-energy diet. Each day, over a period of 24 weeks, four groups of patients were prescribed tesofensine and placebo. The first group included 52 patients who took a 0.25mg dose of tesofensine; the second group included 50 patients, who were prescribed a 0.5mg dose of the drug; the third group, featuring 49 participants took a 1.0mg dose and 52 patients from the fourth group took placebo.

The first results showed the percentage change in bodyweight. Scientists analyzed the results and found that placebo and diet helped lose 2.2kg, while tesofensine 0.25mg, 0.5mg and 1.0mg helped lose 6.7kg, 11.3kg, and 12.8kg respectively.

The group of patients who received 1.0mg reported an increased blood pressure. Researchers identified that the most common side-effects of the new drug include: dry mouth, nausea, constipation, hard stools, diarrhoea, and insomnia. The most promising dose of tesofensine is 0.5md. This is because it has the same effect on weight loss while showing less side-effects.

"We conclude that tesofensine 0.5 mg, once daily for 6 months, has the potential to produce twice the weight loss as currently approved drugs; however, larger phase III studies are needed to substantiate our findings," scientists say.

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