Rational Design of a Combination Medication for the Treatment of Obesity

Rational Design of a Combination Medication for the Treatment of Obesity Existing obesity therapies are limited by safety concerns and modest efficacy reflecting a weight loss plateau. Here, we explore combination therapy with bupropion (BUP), a putative stimulator of melanocortin pathways, and an opioid antagonist, naltrexone (NAL), to antagonize an inhibitory feedback loop that limits sustained weight reduction. In vitro electrophysiologic experiments were conducted to determine the extent to which BUP+NAL stimulated hypothalamic pro‐opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in mouse brain. A subsequent study further characterized the effect of combination BUP+NAL treatment on food intake in lean and obese mice. Finally, a randomized, blinded, placebo‐controlled trial in obese adult subjects was conducted. Randomization included: BUP (300 mg) + NAL (50 mg), BUP (300 mg) + placebo (P), NAL (50 mg) + P or P+P for up to 24 weeks. BUP+NAL stimulated murine POMC neurons in vitro and caused a greater reduction in acute food intake than either monotherapy, an effect consistent with synergism. Combined BUP+NAL provided sustained weight loss without evidence of an efficacy plateau through 24 weeks of treatment. BUP+NAL completers diverged from NAL+P (P < 0.01) and P+P (P < 0.001) at week 16 and from BUP+P by week 24 (P < 0.05). The combination was also well tolerated. Translational studies indicated that BUP+NAL therapy produced synergistic weight loss which exceeded either BUP or NAL alone. These results supported the hypothesis that NAL, through blockade of β‐endorphin mediated POMC autoinhibition, prevents the classic weight loss plateau observed with monotherapies such as BUP. This novel treatment approach (BUP+NAL) holds promise for the treatment of obesity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Obesity Wiley

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
2009 North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO)
ISSN
1930-7381
eISSN
1930-739X
DOI
10.1038/oby.2008.461
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Existing obesity therapies are limited by safety concerns and modest efficacy reflecting a weight loss plateau. Here, we explore combination therapy with bupropion (BUP), a putative stimulator of melanocortin pathways, and an opioid antagonist, naltrexone (NAL), to antagonize an inhibitory feedback loop that limits sustained weight reduction. In vitro electrophysiologic experiments were conducted to determine the extent to which BUP+NAL stimulated hypothalamic pro‐opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in mouse brain. A subsequent study further characterized the effect of combination BUP+NAL treatment on food intake in lean and obese mice. Finally, a randomized, blinded, placebo‐controlled trial in obese adult subjects was conducted. Randomization included: BUP (300 mg) + NAL (50 mg), BUP (300 mg) + placebo (P), NAL (50 mg) + P or P+P for up to 24 weeks. BUP+NAL stimulated murine POMC neurons in vitro and caused a greater reduction in acute food intake than either monotherapy, an effect consistent with synergism. Combined BUP+NAL provided sustained weight loss without evidence of an efficacy plateau through 24 weeks of treatment. BUP+NAL completers diverged from NAL+P (P < 0.01) and P+P (P < 0.001) at week 16 and from BUP+P by week 24 (P < 0.05). The combination was also well tolerated. Translational studies indicated that BUP+NAL therapy produced synergistic weight loss which exceeded either BUP or NAL alone. These results supported the hypothesis that NAL, through blockade of β‐endorphin mediated POMC autoinhibition, prevents the classic weight loss plateau observed with monotherapies such as BUP. This novel treatment approach (BUP+NAL) holds promise for the treatment of obesity.

Journal

ObesityWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2009

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