Jump to content

A new drug to help stop smoking, AND lose weight AND fight drug and alcohol abuse...

Posted

Specializes in ER, ICU, Nursing Education, LTC, and HHC. Has 20 years experience.

Article published Nov 14, 2004

Anti-Obesity Pill Might Fight Drug Abuse

A pill that helps you lose weight and quit smoking? That was amazing enough to capture headlines last week. But scientists say the experimental drug might be even more versatile, providing a new tool to help people stop abusing drugs and alcohol, too.

It's called rimonabant, or Acomplia, and last week researchers reported it could help people not only lose weight but keep it off for two years.

That burnished the drug's reputation after two studies in March, which suggested it could fight both obesity and smoking, two of humanity's biggest killers.

The French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi-Aventis plans to seek federal approval for rimonabant next year.

But the drug's benefits may go beyond just smokers and obese people, researchers say.

"I think it's going to have a big impact on the treatment of addiction," said Dr. Charles O'Brien, an addiction expert at the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Animal studies suggest rimonabant can block the effects of marijuana and fight relapse in alcohol and cocaine abuse, he said. Once it is approved for treating obesity or smoking, "we'll be free to study it in these other areas and I'll try to get my hands on it as quickly as possible," O'Brien said.

He's not alone in his enthusiasm.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is interested in seeing whether rimonabant can help treat heavy drinkers, said Dr. George Kunos of the institute. No human test results for rimonabant in alcohol abuse have yet been published, he said.

But researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in 2001 that a single dose of the drug could block the effects of smoked marijuana in people, not just animals. That suggests the drug could be useful in treating marijuana dependence, said Marilyn Huestis, principal investigator of the study. The institute is now pursuing follow-up research, said Huestis, acting chief for chemistry and drug metabolism research at NIDA.

Rimonabant's versatility traces back to its effects on the brain's reward system, circuitry that tells you to keep on doing something. Basically, it appears to help break the connection between an activity like smoking and the rewarding feeling it causes in the brain.

The body has its own marijuana-like substances called endocannabinoids, and they activate certain brain cells that in turn can lead to stimulation of the brain's reward system. Pleasurable things like drinking alcohol are thought to activate a feeling of reward by acting through the endocannabinoid system.

"We think that the (endocannabinoid) system is overactivated by chronic smoking, or perhaps even excessive overeating," said Dr. Robert Anthenelli of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He's on the advisory board of Sanofi-Aventis.

Rimonabant blocks the effect of the natural endocannabinoids by keeping them from latching onto the brain cells they normally stimulate, he said. In smokers, for example, that seems to restore the natural balance of the brain reward circuitry, he said.

article published nov 14, 2004

anti-obesity pill might fight drug abuse

that burnished the drug's reputation after two studies in march, which suggested it could fight both obesity and smoking, two of humanity's biggest killers.

i think there are probably a lot more people dying of hunger than obesity. jmo.

nursefirst

Monica RN,BSN

Specializes in ER, ICU, Nursing Education, LTC, and HHC. Has 20 years experience.

maybe so.. but studies say 80% of america is over weight, and I doubt the hunger reate is 80% .. just a thought

maybe so.. but studies say 80% of america is over weight, and I doubt the hunger reate is 80% .. just a thought

Let's take this one at a time:

1. First of all, I have NEVER heard that the obesity rates in America are as high as 80%. Where do you get your statistics??

2. Second, my point is this: 80% of America still is probably far less than the number of people in the world who are dying of hunger. Seeing the problems of the world as being those of America is just a tad self-centered, don't you think? It's this kind of thinking that is off-putting to other countries...especially third-world countries.

Ah yes...and, in the famous words of Marie Antoinette -- "Let them eat cake!"

NurseFirst

PS - Cynically, I think that the only thing you can say about 80% of Americans is that they have a TV...and/or a car. I'm sure that less than 80% of Americans have health insurance... :(

Let's take this one at a time:

1. First of all, I have NEVER heard that the obesity rates in America are as high as 80%. Where do you get your statistics??

2. Second, my point is this: 80% of America still is probably far less than the number of people in the world who are dying of hunger. Seeing the problems of the world as being those of America is just a tad self-centered, don't you think? It's this kind of thinking that is off-putting to other countries...especially third-world countries.

Ah yes...and, in the famous words of Marie Antoinette -- "Let them eat cake!"

NurseFirst

PS - Cynically, I think that the only thing you can say about 80% of Americans is that they have a TV...and/or a car. I'm sure that less than 80% of Americans have health insurance... :(

1.

http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/index.htm#preval

Has something close to 2/3rds of all adults in the U.S. as being overweight

(BMI > 25).

However, BMI is hardly a good indicator of unhealthy vs. healthy "overweight". (You know, like some of those heavyweight boxers?)

Number of people in the U.S.: 291 million people

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

2.

Number of people in the world: 6.3 billion

http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/world.html

http://www.bread.org/hungerbasics/index.html

It's hard to know how many people are dying of starvation...however,

More than 800 million people in the world go hungry.

In developing countries, 6 million children die each year, mostly from hunger-related causes.

http://www.bread.org/hungerbasics/index.html

Dang, sign me up for that drug! In the mean time I'm gonna sit back, eat a Bigmac, drink a Coors and smoke a joint.

Monica RN,BSN

Specializes in ER, ICU, Nursing Education, LTC, and HHC. Has 20 years experience.

Good Plan! Dont like the coors though... I'll opt for the Pina Colada or something. :)

What kills most people in America is definitely not hunger.

Marie Antoinette did not say "let them eat cake" .. . .

We pop a pill for everything else, why not an anti-addiction to everything pill?

steph

Not impressed by the "cannabis dependence" implications-- this is a psychological dependence and no pill can alter your belief that you need it BUT I wonder if it has any potential for AIDS and cancer; maybe even pain management. As for weight loss WHOOOHOOOO!! Not only could I use a tweak (if I lay off the fast food grab and run lunches, it would help LOL), I have many DM II patients who'd benefit from this. The cost of obesity, smoking and drug abuse is pretty high, even if you just consider the loss of life from accidents.My aunt was killed at the age of 15 in a MVA where the other driver was intoxicated. Not legally drunk but no doubt her reactions were slowed from the ETOH. It seems our society wants a magic pill to take the responsibility off our shoulders. The pill may work in scientific studies, but what can we do about continued poor decision making? With all I've seen, I still can't manage to quit smoking! I'd want to see the "fine print disclaimer" before I'd take this myself. As a friend used to tell me, "Someday they're going to find that saliva causes stomach cancer, but only if swallowed frequently and in small amounts!"

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.