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The New Re-purposed Drug Proven Effective for Weight Loss in Lab Trials

Credits: dLife

A new study from the journal Cell Metabolism finds that disulfiram, a drug that previously used for the treatment of alcohol use disorders is effective for weight loss and switch metabolic damage in obese middle-aged mice of both sexes. This study is done by the researchers at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) that is a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers studied nine-month-old lab mice who fed a high-fat diet for 84 days. This eating of high fat made the mice overweight and they began to show signs of pre-diabetes-like metabolic issues like insulin resistance and increased fasting glucose levels.

Researchers divided them into four groups and each group received a different diet for eighty-four days: a high-fat diet, a high-fat diet with a low amount of re-purposed drug disulfiram, a standard eating routine alone, and a high-fat diet alone. 

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The mice group fed with a high-fat diet alone gained weight and show metabolic problems. While weight loss was seen in the group fed with standard diet alone, their glucose levels and body fat returned to normal. 

Michel Bernier, the NIA scientists, and Rafael de collaborate frequently with researchers at NIH and into how changes in dietary patterns such as intermittent fasting could physical and health advantages. They first got inspired by disulfiram in the wake of finding out about the advantages that this class of medication has appeared in treating type 2 diabetes in rats, coupled with the growing interest for re-purposing drugs that may improve healthy aging too.

A dramatic weight loss was observed in the mice who were fed with a low or high dose of re-purposed drug disulfiram. Mice on the high disulfiram dose lost as much as 40% of their body weight in only a month, adequately normalizing their weight to that of obese mice who were exchanged back to the standard diet.

Mice in the disulfiram dose diet group became less fatty and demonstrated noteworthy improvement in blood glucose levels compared to the mice who were returned to the standard diet. Disulfiram treatment also seemed to shield the pancreas and liver from damage brought about by pre-diabetic type metabolic changes and body weight usually increases due to eating a high-fat diet.

Bernier tells that when they started working on this, they didn’t have the idea but once they began to see data indicating dramatic weight loss, they couldn’t even believe their eyes after seeing outcomes.

The researchers say that the positive outcomes were appeared due to the anti-inflammatory properties of re-purposed drug  disulfiram that prevented mice from the damage of fatty diet and gaining weight.

In both groups of mice neither any spontaneous behavioral changes were demonstrated nor they were subjected to any type of exercise. The outcomes show that disulfiram was effective to them and not any negative side effects were seen in them from disulfiram.

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The present study was supported by NIA through its intramural research program, NIA grants AG038072 and AG031782 in collaboration with colleagues from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Yale University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, and University of Sydney, Australia.

The research team stresses that the present study outcomes depend upon animal studies they can’t be extrapolated to any potential advantages for humans now. Researchers are still planning future strides for considering disulfiram’s potential, including a controlled clinical examination to test if it could assist people with morbid obesity lose weight.

 

 

About the author

Fariha Munir

Fariha is a Microbiology graduate and working as a freelance content writer. Her major areas of interest are nutrition, diseases, research, and medical diagnostic technologies.

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