Are Weight Loss Drugs Making Their Way Into Addiction Treatment?

We’ve heard a lot about obesity and food addiction being thought of much in the same way as substance abuse addiction in recent years. Scientists are beginning to shine a light on weight loss drugs and their ability to aid in the treatment of substance abuse disorders.

For whatever reason, there are a few drugs on the market for weight loss like Belviq, Qsymia and Contrave that have consumers hesitant to try them. But scientists are thinking ahead of the curve in the hopes that these and other medications might actually be helpful in the battle against substance abuse.

Belviq in particular which is also sold under the name Lorcaserin, was released in 2012 as a weight loss drug but didn’t fare well in the market. It’s developer sent it over to a partner pharmaceutical company in Japan but NIDA (The National Institute on Drug Abuse) is researching the medication and telling us why it might be great for a therapeutic intervention to cocaine use.

This medication in particular is able to stimulate serotonin receptors without involving the dopaminergic system – which is typically the system affected by substance abuse and addiction. The great thing about this discovery is that while there are a few medications on the market that can help in the case of substance abuse, there’s simply nothing for cocaine use, methamphetamine use, inhalants or even marijuana addiction.

According to researchers, there’s just no reason not to keep testing the medications and find out if we can do better than what we currently have on the market that helps fight substance abuse. With this discovery, we’ve found out the there’s hope and possibilities for treating both substance abuse and obesity while learning from the other.

What do you think, would more medications on the market help those struggling with substance abuse?

Leipholtz, B. “Can Weight-Loss Drugs Play A Role In Addiction Treatment?”. The Fix. (website). 2018
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