Amlexanox for Weight Loss

Patient Expert

Amlexanox is a medication traditionally used to topically treat ulcers of the mouth, more commonly known as canker sores. Squeeze a bit of the paste onto a fingertip and dab onto the sores and in ten days or less the ulcer will heal. Since it's been on the market for 15 years, different formulations of the drug have been developed, such as using it to  **treat asthma  **in Japan.

It has also recently been discovered that amlexanox reverses obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver in mice.

Diet and Exercise Not NecessaryResearchers at the University of Michigan's Life Sciences Institute, have discovered that amelexanox ** reverses obesity**, diabetes, and fatty liver in mice. Further, weight loss was achieved without subjecting the mice to any programs of diet or exercise.

Some people have great difficulty losing weight despite diet and exercise is because their bodies compensate for the loss of calories by reducing their metabolism. Amlexanox was able to increase metabolism in mice without reducing appetite.

Several drugs were screened by researchers, and it was found that amlexanox changed the action of the genes that control metabolism when injected in mice.

Mice were fed a high-calorie diet until they became obese. Once this was accomplished, the mice were then injected with amlexanox. Mice that were injected with amlexanox lost weight although were eating the same number of calories as the control mice. The drug also reduced body fat and reversed type 2 diabetes and fatty liver. When the animals were taken off the drug, all the weight that had been lost was regained.

How It Works

Amlexanox reverses obesity and insulin resistance because it can reduce chronic inflammation and increase the amount of energy that is expended. The drug is also effective because it can apply its effects through a specialized fat cell by increasing the level of a second messenger molecule called cAMP. cAMP increases the rate at which cells burn fat.

Amlexanox also promotes the release of the hormone interleukin-6 from fat cells. Interleukin-6 travels in the circulation of the liver in mice. This reduces the level of glucose which then lowers blood sugar.

Researchers diligently working to see if the effects seen in mice can be related to humans. One of the concerns is how increasing energy expenditure and body temperature might effect other body systems. In addition, the effects of amelexanox are reversible, and patients may have to remain on the drug for an indefinite length of time.

If the drug is deemed appropriate for human use, it could be approved for the market sooner than other drugs because it has already been approved by the FDA for use to relieve canker sores.

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Salk Institute