(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have found that a popular drug for migraine in certain dosages can start the process of weight loss in obese people.
Recently, researchers are increasingly discovering unusual properties in existing drugs. For example, migraine medicine unexpectedly helped to lose weight
The study builds on previous work examining the relationship between appetite and the production of serotonin, a molecule known to perform many functions in the body, from emotional responses to movement.
But its effect on appetite is a complex process involving 15 different serotonin receptors that detect serotonin and change cell behavior as a result.
Migraine against obesity
Previous experiments have tested how different drugs act on these receptors, but one class of drugs, triptans, has not been investigated.
These are common drugs that treat acute migraine and cluster headaches and target a serotonin receptor called Htr1b.
To investigate their potential effects on appetite and weight loss, the scientists took six prescription triptans and tested them in obese mice on a high-fat diet for seven weeks.
Two of these drugs did not affect the mice’s food intake, but four of them caused the mice to eat less. One in particular, called frovatriptan, resulted in an average 3.6 percent weight loss when taken daily for 24 days.
The authors found that these drugs, and one in particular, can reduce body weight and improve glucose metabolism in less than a month, which is pretty impressive.
The researchers then bred genetically engineered mice that lacked the Htr1b receptor and gave them frovatriptan. In these models, the drug no longer reduced or caused appetite loss.
This experience confirmed that the drug acts on this particular receptor. The scientists were also able to pinpoint the neurons in the brain that are critical for appetite regulation by blocking Htr1b.
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