Empatic is a fairly new obesity medication or weight loss pill that is being developed by Orexigen Therapeutics. The manufacturer is a company that is already renowned for creating new medicines that combine numerous other medications that are used to treat other illnesses and conditions. Empatic combines two other medications that have already received FDA approval. These are Bupropion, which is commonly used to combat depression and to help people stop smoking, and Zonismade which is most often used as an anti-seizure drug.

The testing that has been carried out on this drug initially appears to be very good. Patients who took Empatic over a period of 48 weeks managed to lose up to 14% of their total body weight. Firstly Bupoprion is known to increase the levels of dopamine inside the brain. It is believed that this chemical reaction will actually encourage the body to use up more energy and also suppress a person’s appetite. Zonisamide is best known as a medication used by epilepsy sufferers. In a completely separate clinical trial at Duke University in the United States, Zonisamide also helped certain individuals to lose a small amount of weight.

Both of these two drugs separately are known to target the pathways to the hypothalamus area of the brain. This area of the brain is best known to control appetite and the amount of energy we expend. By combining these two drugs it is now believed that this can initiate and indeed sustain weight loss. Orexigen conducted a phase II clinical trial, the results of which were released in late September 2009. They recruited a total of 623 volunteers to see how effective this medication was in promoting weight loss. Of the volunteers who took the highest dosage of medication they averaged a weight loss of 8.6% of their total body weight. By the time they completed the 14 week trial the average weight loss was well in excess of 10%, and this was actually regardless of the dosage that the patient was taking.

Volunteers who took part in the clinical trials did not report any major side-effects however a total of 14% actually stopped the programme of treatment. Overall the main goals set by Orexigen were achieved in the phase II trial. This now means that their researchers can continue to a phase III trial, which will be the final study before the drug can go to market.

Some of the major improvements that were noted after the clinical trial were a reduction in waist circumference, an improvement in the levels of insulin and also an improvement in blood pressure. The most common side effects that were reported include headaches, insomnia and nausea. This is yet another step in the right direction for the biopharmaceutical company Orexigen who are fast becoming extremely well-known for their focus on the treatment of obesity and numerous other central nervous system related disorders. Not only are Orexigen looking to develop this and other obesity drugs, they are also currently developing drug combinations for use in schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The obesity epidemic currently affects more than 75 million Americans and it is believed that Empatic could be the solution that many are waiting for. There have been numerous studies over the years that reflect a growing understanding of exactly how the central nervous system is able to regulate appetite and your metabolism as well as various other mechanisms that can lead to weight loss over a period of time. It is hoped that Empatic will eventually be able to address the full spectrum of obesity which will range from mild to moderate and moderate to severe obesity.

Not only are there millions of Americans suffering from obesity, but up to 300,000 deaths per year are attributed to this “disease”. It should also be taken into consideration that obesity is associated with a fair few significant medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol and many others. Furthermore, research has shown that obesity has a far greater impact on the development of chronic conditions than alcohol abuse, nicotine and poverty. The financial costs of obesity, when you take things like mortality and morbidity costs into consideration currently exceed $100 billion every year.

Empatic is not currently on sale in either the US or Europe. Prior to FDA approval, all medications must go through three stages of clinical trials. As we are currently still waiting for the phase III trial to commence, it is more than likely that Empatic still has at least a couple of years prior to coming to market. There are numerous other prescription drugs that are specifically used to treat obesity however many in the medical industry are excited about Empatic and what it can help to achieve.

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Last updated on Jul 1st, 2010 and filed under Weight Loss. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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