A drug used to treat canker sores may one day help patients who are obese or have diabetes, a new study suggests. The drug, amlexanox, was found to increase the basal metabolism of laboratory rats and reverse obesity, diabetes and fatty liver.
Amlexanox is a medication with antiallergic and anti-inflammatory effects. It is also used in some countries as a treatment for asthma. Based on the new research, amlexanox has become a candidate for clinical evaluation in the treatment of obesity and related disorders, including diabetes.
The study was conducted by researchers with the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan, and the results were published this week in the journal Nature Medicine. Researchers first used high-throughput chemical screenings to track down compounds that inhibit the metabolic-balancing genes and found Amlexanon to be a viable match. Amlexanon has been on the market in Japan for more than 25 years.
The drug was tested on both genetic and dietary-induced obese mice, and proved to lower obesity rates in mice and reverse related metabolic problems such as diabetes and fatty liver. Researchers believe the drug works in mice because it inhibits two genes – IKKE and TBK1 – that likely work together to slow metabolism. This allows the metabolic system to burn more energy, which leads to weight loss.
It is unknown if changing the compound or formula for human use will prove safe and effective for the treatment of obesity and related disorders in humans, but researchers are hopeful.
Safer and more effective drugs for weight loss and diabetes are highly sought after especially since many currently on the market carry serious risks. For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has come down hard on type 2 diabetes drugs in recent years, placing severe restrictions on Avandia based on reports of fatal heart attacks, and issuing a bladder cancer warning with Actos.
Source: Red Orbit