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Can an injection help you lose weight?

July 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Someday soon losing weight could be as simple as getting a flu shot. Scientists are testing an injectable drug that could slim you down by 25 percent in just one week.You want to lose weight? Experts tell us repeatedly it takes a long term commitment to a healthy lifestyle: eat right and exercise often.

But we're always looking for a quick fix or that elusive magic bullet. Now, researchers at Indiana University may have found something close.

They've combined the properties of two natural hormones into a single drug, that in rodents, suppresses appetite and increases metabolism.

A single injection of this drug decreased the rodents body weight by 25 percent and fat mass by 42-percent after one week.

"Our focus is in finding therapy that effectively lowers body weight. And then can treat diabetes," said Richard DiMarchi, Indiana University.

The drug, which would be taken as a weekly injection, happens to be the active ingredients in two FDA approved medications, Byetta and Glucagon.

Despite the introduction of the weight loss pill Alli in 2007, surgical interventions like gastric bypass remain the closest thing to an obesity cure. Experts say this new drug mimics the action of weight loss surgery. And it shows we've made enormous progress in understanding obesity.

"We're beginning to understand the pharmacological mechanisms of obesity and all the different pathways," said Dr. Mitchell Roslin, Lenox Hill Hospital.

The drug is still years away from human trials, so experts say don't give up your treadmills and salads just yet.

Again the 25 percent weight loss was seen in rats and it's unknown what the result would be in people. Glucagon and Byetta are both drugs used for the treatment of diabetes. We must warn you: doctors do not recommend using these drugs in their current form for weight loss.

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