In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers found that a drug first developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and sickle cell disease could reduce obesity and fatty liver and improve heart function—without changes in food intake or daily activity.
The study is from Johns Hopkins Medicine. One author is David Kass, M.D.
Currently, there isn’t a pill that has been proven effective for treating severe obesity, yet such obesity is a global health problem that increases the risk of many other diseases.
This study follows work reported by the same team in 2015 that first showed the PDE9 enzyme is present in the heart and contributes to heart disease triggered by high blood pressure.
PDE9 is the enzyme cousin of another protein called PDE5, which also controls cyclic GMP and is blocked by drugs such as Viagra. Inhibitors of PDE9 are experimental, so there is no drug name yet.
In the study, the team examined if PDE9 inhibition may improve common conditions including high blood pressure; high blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides; and excess body fat, particularly around the waist.
While PDE9 inhibitors remain experimental, they have been developed by several companies and tested in humans for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and sickle cell.
The current mouse study used a PDE9 inhibitor made by Pfizer Inc. (PF-04447943) that was first tested for Alzheimer’s disease, though eventually abandoned for this use.
Between the two reported clinical trials, over 100 people received this drug, and it was found to be well tolerated with no serious adverse side effects. A different PDE9 inhibitor is now being tested for human heart failure.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40% of people living in the U.S. are obese; and 43% of American women over the age of 60—long past menopause—are considered obese.
If the findings in mice apply to people, someone weighing 250 pounds could lose about 50 pounds with an oral PDE9 inhibitor without changing eating or exercise habits.
If you care about your weight, please read studies about reducing these 2 things from your diet may help protect muscles, treat obesity and findings of this drug that may help protect against liver damage, obesity.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about this common heartburn drug may help treat COVID-19, reduce severity and results showing that drinking coffee this way can help prevent stroke, heart disease.
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