Tesofensine is a drug in development for the treatment of obesity and weight loss. Initially, it was tested as a drug to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and although it did not show significant results in these diseases, it had a weight loss effect in patients who received the experimental treatment. Tesofensine has very effective weight loss properties, and is considered a possible drug to treat obesity.
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How Does Tesofensine Work?
Like many human diseases, obesity is a disease that starts in the brain, and that’s exactly where tesofensine works to decrease appetite. After the negative results of the drug for the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, more studies were carried out to study whether tesofensine makes you lose weight. As a result of these studies, it has been proven that tesofensine can be a good drug for weight loss and fighting obesity.
Tesofensine is considered a presynaptic drug that inhibits dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. When these neurotransmitters are not reabsorbed by the central nervous system, the body’s response is to feel less hungry. Thus, patients eat less. Tesofensine also appears to be able to affect the feeling of pleasure involved with eating by modulating the action of dopamine in a specific sector of the brain.
How does tesofensine work?
In a clinical study of 203 people (half of them taking a placebo), those taking a placebo had a 2% body weight loss, while those taking tesofensine had a much greater loss. Patients taking a 0.25 mg dose of tesofensine experienced a 6.5% weight loss; patients taking the intermediate dose of 0.5 mg of the drug lost 11.2% of their body weight; and those taking the highest dose of 1 mg lost 12.6% of their body weight. In the higher dose groups, there was a four-point drop in BMI over a 24-month period.
Other benefits that patients experienced by taking tesofensine were:
- reduced appetite after 14 days of taking the drug, plus a better feeling of fullness and less desire to eat;
- increased fat oxidation and decreased adipose tissue. Fat oxidation increased by 15% and protein oxidation was lower. Tests have proven the decrease in adipose tissue;
- higher levels of insulin sensitivity have been noted, increasing and improving glucose metabolism, making it a good drug for patients at risk for type 2 diabetes;
- increase in energy expenditure by 6% after 14 days of drug use, directly linked to the use of tesofensine.
Is it safe?
Unfortunately, even during the study, tesofensine showed some side effects: increased heart rate (abnormally fast pulse), high blood pressure, and muscle wasting. Any weight loss medication should focus on eliminating fat tissue while leaving lean muscle mass intact. This does not appear to be the case with tesofensine, which also caused muscle wasting.
For the same reasons, it was decided at the end of the study that further clinical trials of tesofensine were needed before it could be produced and marketed as a drug for the treatment of obesity, as it had demonstrated possible harmful effects.
In 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave their opinions on the development of tesofensine. The next phase of the study could take three to five years or more.
Tesofensine is really slimming, and it can be a very effective drug to help obese people lose weight. Its effects work to cause real and significant weight loss. For some patients, a drug like tesofensine can be the difference between losing weight “naturally” and losing weight with surgery, such as bariatric (stomach reduction).
According to the results of studies, it is possible to see that there is still no drug to treat obesity that is free of side effects, and that if tesofensine reaches the market, which may still take many years to happen, it will not be a medicine that can be used by all people.
It is also worth remembering that tesofensine is a drug that will be sold under medical prescription and that, when marketed, will be used in the treatment of obesity. In the case of overweight or just a few extra pounds, the best solution to lose weight remains a healthy and balanced diet and regular exercise, generating a slow and lasting weight loss.