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Tesofensine – A new generation Weight loss Pill

The market of oral prescription weight loss pills is steadily growing which can make it difficult for the patient to keep track of the available treatments. Two diet pills, Acomplia and Reductil, have recently been taken off the market over safety concerns. Currently, the only prescription medication licensed in the UK for weight loss in clinically obese or overweight patients is Xenical. The market potential for these drugs I colossal and consequently competition in the industry is high. A number of new generation slimming pills are currently undergoing extensive clinical trials which means we may well see them on pharmacies’ shelves in the not too distant future.


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What is Tesofensine?

Tesofensine is the generic name of an active ingredient currently being tested for its efficacy as part of a weight loss programme. It was originally studied as a potential drug for treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Its effectiveness in the treatment of these illnesses proved to be quite limited early on. However, during these early trials one side effect was noted – a potentially significant loss of body weight. Following this discovery, researchers put together a group of volunteers to study this finding more in depth.

How does this weihgt loss pill work?

The drug is being developed by the Danish pharmaceutical group, NeuroSearch. Tesofensine belongs to the group of medicines known as neurotransmittor reuptake inhibitors which block the action of certain chemical substances in the brain, namely Dopamine, Serotonin and Noradrenaline. These three chemical messengers, or neurotransmittors, act on the receptors in the pleasure centre of the brain controlling our appetite and the sense of pleasure gained from eating - a phenomenon commonly referred to as comfort eating which occurs when people turn to bingeing on their preferred foods to make themselves feel better. By inhibiting the receptors’ uptake of these three substances, an overweight or obese patient taking Tesofensine will not only feel fuller sooner after starting to eat, but they will also get a smaller sense of pleasure from eating.

Furthermore, Tesofensine has shown to increase the body’s resting energy expenditure, speeding up metabolism in clinical trials. This double action of suppressing appetite while improving the body’s energy consumption can lead to a significant drop in body weight if used correctly and taken regularly.

How much weight can I lose with Tesofensine?

Clinical trials are still ongoing, however the first results of several studies look very promising. Study participants were put on a course of Tesofensine in different dosages in combination with a reduced calorie diet and increased physical exercise over a period of six months. To measure the efficacy of the drug, a placebo group followed the same hypocalorific diet as well as an exercise programme.
As with all weight loss pills, the best results can be achieved if they are being used as part of an all encompassing weight loss programme that also involves lifestyle changes such as increased physical exercise and most importantly, a reduced fat/calorie intake.

The patients treated with the 0.25mg Tesofensine dosage managed to shed an average of 4.5% of their body weight during the trial, for those taking a dosage of 0.5mg this percentage more than doubled to 9.2% and those treated with the full strength of 1mg Tesofensine slimmed down by 10.6%. The placebo group patients who were trying to lose weight by traditional means plus a sugar pill managed to lose an average amount of 2.2%, so only one fifth of what could be achieved with Tesofensine.

As the figures above show, even a small dose of Tesofensine can lead to a significant change in body weight in a relatively short amount of time.

Some scientists even claim that Tesofensine could aid a weight loss of up to 20% which would represent a real alternative to weight loss surgery in morbidly obese patients.

What are the side effects of Tesofensine?

As every medicine, Tesofensine can have unfavourable side effects. Generally speaking, the drug is very well tolerated and side effects are mild to moderate and temporary. Their likelihood or occurrence may increase with the higher dosages, however it is not possible to predict how and if the individual will be affected before starting treatment. Unlike some of the other weight loss drugs such as Rimonabant (brand name Acomplia) which were take off the market over safety concerns regarding psychological side effects, Tesofensine does not appear to have any serious side effects. Dry mouth, constipation, insomnia and gastrointestinal tract issues are commonly reported side effects associated to this medication however only a small percentage of trial participants abandoned the study prematurely because of these – it should also be noted that most of those who abandoned the trial were in the group treated with the 1mg dosage of Tesofensine.