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      Naltrexone sustained-release/bupropion sustained-release for the management of obesity: review of the data to date

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          Abstract

          Obesity is an emerging disease worldwide. Changes in living habits, especially with increased consumption of high-calorie foods and decreased levels of physical activity, lead to an energy imbalance that brings weight gain. Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for several chronic diseases (including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer), reduce quality of life, and are associated with higher mortality. For all these reasons, it is of the utmost importance that the trend be reversed and obese people enabled to lose weight. It is known that eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help prevent obesity, but data show that in many cases these steps are not enough. This is the reason why, over the last few decades, several antiobesity drugs have been developed. However, the disappointing results demonstrated for the vast majority of them have not discouraged the pharmaceutical industry from continuing to look for an effective drug or combination of drugs. The systematic review presented here focuses on naltrexone sustained-release/bupropion sustained-release combination (Contrave ®). We conclude from the current published reports that its effectiveness in the treatment of obesity can be estimated as a placebo-subtracted weight loss of around 4.5%. This weight reduction is moderate but similar to other antiobesity drugs. The safety profile of this combination is acceptable, despite additional data regarding cardiovascular disease being needed.

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          Most cited references 56

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          Anti-obesity drugs: past, present and future

          The ideal anti-obesity drug would produce sustained weight loss with minimal side effects. The mechanisms that regulate energy balance have substantial built-in redundancy, overlap considerably with other physiological functions, and are influenced by social, hedonic and psychological factors that limit the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions. It is therefore unsurprising that anti-obesity drug discovery programmes have been littered with false starts, failures in clinical development, and withdrawals due to adverse effects that were not fully appreciated at the time of launch. Drugs that target pathways in metabolic tissues, such as adipocytes, liver and skeletal muscle, have shown potential in preclinical studies but none has yet reached clinical development. Recent improvements in the understanding of peptidergic signalling of hunger and satiety from the gastrointestinal tract mediated by ghrelin, cholecystokinin (CCK), peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and of homeostatic mechanisms related to leptin and its upstream pathways in the hypothalamus, have opened up new possibilities. Although some have now reached clinical development, it is uncertain whether they will meet the strict regulatory hurdles required for licensing of an anti-obesity drug. However, GLP-1 receptor agonists have already succeeded in diabetes treatment and, owing to their attractive body-weight-lowering effects in humans, will perhaps also pave the way for other anti-obesity agents. To succeed in developing drugs that control body weight to the extent seen following surgical intervention, it seems obvious that a new paradigm is needed. In other therapeutic arenas, such as diabetes and hypertension, lower doses of multiple agents targeting different pathways often yield better results than strategies that modify one pathway alone. Some combination approaches using peptides and small molecules have now reached clinical trials, although recent regulatory experience suggests that large challenges lie ahead. In future, this polytherapeutic strategy could possibly rival surgery in terms of efficacy, safety and sustainability of weight loss.
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            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 beta-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.\
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              Central control of body weight and appetite.

              Energy balance is critical for survival and health, and control of food intake is an integral part of this process. This report reviews hormonal signals that influence food intake and their clinical applications. A relatively novel insight is that satiation signals that control meal size and adiposity signals that signify the amount of body fat are distinct and interact in the hypothalamus and elsewhere to control energy homeostasis. This review focuses upon recent literature addressing the integration of satiation and adiposity signals and therapeutic implications for treatment of obesity. During meals, signals such as cholecystokinin arise primarily from the GI tract to cause satiation and meal termination; signals secreted in proportion to body fat such as insulin and leptin interact with satiation signals and provide effective regulation by dictating meal size to amounts that are appropriate for body fatness, or stored energy. Although satiation and adiposity signals are myriad and redundant and reduce food intake, there are few known orexigenic signals; thus, initiation of meals is not subject to the degree of homeostatic regulation that cessation of eating is. There are now drugs available that act through receptors for satiation factors and which cause weight loss, demonstrating that this system is amenable to manipulation for therapeutic goals. Although progress on effective medical therapies for obesity has been relatively slow in coming, advances in understanding the central regulation of food intake may ultimately be turned into useful treatment options.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2014
                18 September 2014
                : 8
                : 1419-1427
                Affiliations
                Endocrinology and Nutrition Department, Parc Tauli Sabadell University Hospital, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Assumpta Caixàs, Endocrinology and Nutrition Department, Parc Tauli Sabadell University Hospital, Autonomous University of Barcelona, c/o Parc Taulí no 1, 08208 Sabadell, Spain, Tel +34 937 458 412, Fax +34 937 160 646, Email acaixas@ 123456tauli.cat
                Article
                dddt-8-1419
                10.2147/DDDT.S55587
                4174046
                © 2014 Caixàs et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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