Weight loss drugs show strides in reducing inflammation

A new class of weight loss and diabetes drugs could reduce inflammation in the liver, kidneys, heart and even the brain, Nature reported Jan. 26. 

More than 20 clinical trials are investigating whether glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, such as Wegovy, Ozempic and Mounjaro, could act as therapies for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Both conditions are characterized by brain inflammation.

The drugs mimic a gut hormone that suppresses appetite, and while weight loss and reductions in blood sugar can help calm inflammation, some of the medications spur anti-inflammatory results before weight loss happens. Because of this, researchers are seeing if there's an undiscovered mechanism in GLP-1s. 

A few studies have shown positive results in mice, and others have seen GLP-1s reducing liver inflammation in a pilot study among people, according to Nature. A current trial is now testing exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon) among patients with Parkinson's, which is expected to conclude this year. 

Apart from the drugs' approved indications for Type 2 diabetes and chronic weight management, studies are researching how GLP-1s might affect cardiovascular diseases, addiction, dementia and cancer.

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