If you have struggled with weight loss in the past, or if you are currently attempting to lose weight, you have probably wished for a simple drug that could allow you to drop the excess body fat without having to watch what you eat or regularly exercise.
In addition, you probably also know that the most effective way to lose those unwanted pounds is through a lifestyle change that supports good health and mental well-being.
More specifically, a lifestyle that includes regular physical activity that exercises the entire cardiovascular system and promotes muscular tone and strength, a dietary intake routine that is primarily comprised of well balanced and highly nutritious whole foods, and a rest, relaxation, and sleep regime that allows you to center, focus, and calm your mind.
Well, for individuals that find it consistently difficult to routinely lead a healthy lifestyle – and it can be extremely difficult given today’s hectic and fast-paced environment – there may be a promising new weight loss drug hitting the markets in the near future.
A New Weight Loss Drug on the Horizon? Only Time Will Tell
Researchers at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center have announced that they’re developing a safer, more effective weight loss drug called adipotide. Although human trials have yet to occur, animal-based testing has been extremely successful so far.
Years of Development
The research team, led by Renata Pasqualini and Wadih Arap, has been working on the new weight loss drug for several years. The drug itself is a protein compound known as adipotide, and it’s designed to target and kill fat cells by cutting off their blood supply. The drug has also been shown to increase metabolic functioning.
News of the drug first appeared in 2004, when Arap, Pasquilini and their team conducted lab trials on mice indicating the efficacy of the drug for treating obesity.
Most recently, adipotide was tested on monkeys. The researchers chose monkeys that were obese as a result of very little exercise and poor eating habits, instead of ones that were purposely made obese through genetic modification or intentionally fatty diets.
After giving the monkeys daily injections of adipotide over the course of 28 days, the average obese monkey lost 11% of its body weight, including a 39% reduction in fat deposits. Most of the weight loss actually occurred after the drug had stopped being administered.
After the monkeys underwent MRI scans, it was found that the lost weight took the form of fat instead of muscle, water or other tissues that people should seek to retain instead of lose. The implications of the drug go well beyond treating obesity, as the researchers believe that adipotide could help users ward off heart disease and Type 2 diabetes in addition to excess body fat.
Given the success of the recent weight loss trials, the researchers have now submitted adipotide to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for potential approval. If the FDA approves adipotide, it could begin clinical testing on humans within the next year.
More Work Remains
The researchers were quick to point out that adipotide is not a “miracle pill,” and that a significant amount of further study and development remain. The drug has its problems, one of which is evidence of slight, albeit reversible kidney changes in the monkey subjects. This would require careful monitoring if and when the drug is tested on humans.
More importantly, however, is that the effects of adipotide are not permanent. After the trials were complete, the monkeys continued to maintain their new healthier weights for roughly two weeks. At this point, they continued to overeat and returned to their previous weights.
Experts say that no amount of development could make the new drug’s effects permanent, unless it was administered on an ongoing basis. Of course, the prospect of ongoing use would call for additional studies on the long-term health effects of the drug, something that would currently be impossible given its newness.
Adipotide: The Bottom Line
No matter how effective adipotide ends up being if and when it’s released into the pharmaceutical market, it’s unlikely that any drug will ever replace a combination of healthy, calorie-conscious eating and regular exercise as the safest, most effective long-term path to sustained weight loss.
Even adipotide’s developers admit that the drug would ideally be suited as an “introduction” to a healthier weight, in which the user would take the drug only during the initial weight loss stages while gradually adjusting to a healthier, more active lifestyle.