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Drug combinations can boost weight loss, research finds

Published on 19/07/17 at 09:31am

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found that by combining specific hormone-based drugs as part of a cycling regimen to treat obesity in overweight animals, weight loss could be enhanced versus singular drugs alone.

The two drug classes in question were amylin and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). The pair work by acting on different hormones, and, when utilised in combination, suppress feeding and body weight. This effect was even more pronounced when the treatments were cycled.

Senior Author Dr Matthew Hayes explained: "Imagine a drug regimen where an obese person would cycle between different drug therapies over the course of a month to achieve a greater degree of body weight loss compared to the effects achieved with either a single drug or the continuous combination of drugs.”

"The idea of drug-cycling is nothing new," added lead author Kieran Koch-Laskowski. "Millions of women on birth control pills, for example, already take daily pills that cycle between drug and placebo throughout the month."

Throughout the course of the study, the research team worked with treatments which are either already FDA-approved or are currently undergoing clinical trials for metabolic disease, meaning that the findings could eventually be swiftly and safely applied in wider clinical practice.

The team are now working on a mechanical explanation of the interaction between the two treatments and hope to secure fast-track designation for future clinical treatments.  

Matt Fellows

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