Appetite Suppressant May Help With Anxiety, Study Suggests

First Posted: May 26, 2015 08:15 AM EDT

New findings published in the journal Neuron reveal that an appetite suppressant could also help to control certain anxiety disorders.

Researchers at the University of Ottawa discovered that Trodusquemine, a drug that's currently in clinical trials to treat obesity, could prove promising in helping with anxiety.

"Anxiety and obesity are growing problems in society,"  said Dr. Hsiao-Huei Chen, associate professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa and a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, in a news release. "Not only have we found a new biological pathway that regulates these two conditions, but we also found that they may be amenable to treatment with the same drug."

Researchers were originally looking at the effect of a gene known as LMO4 on brain development and regeneration when they discovered that mice who lacked the gene in a certain part of the brain were more anxious and more likely to become obese.

The new findings reveal that the enzyme PTP1B is crucial in the molecular pathway that links LM04, anxiety, obesity and the body's natural endocannabinoid system. Furthermore, when researchers used the drug, which inhibits the activity of PTP1B, they found that anxiety and obesity were simultaneously reduced.

"It is our hope that we can quickly start clinical trials to determine if this novel drug may be able to treat obesity and anxiety at the same time," concluded Chen.

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