Pharmacological intervention in obesity Utilizing the endocannabinoid and opioid system
Vliet, A.C. van
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Introduction: Obesity and its secondary chronic diseases are a massive burden on the Western healthcare system, therefore the pharmacological industry has taken an interest in the development of weight reducing therapeutics. Objective: To provide an overview of the current literature concerning the endocannabinoid and opioid systems of the brain in relation to their pharmacological potential in the treatment of obesity. Summary: Antagonists of both the endocannabinoid and opioid systems have proven their anorectic effect in laboratory animals but human trials have been plagued by side effects. Simultaneous administration of these compounds has shown to create a supra-additive anorectic effect, if this is the case dosage could be significantly lowered and side effects possibly abolished. Conclusion: Since Rimonabant (a full inverse agonists of the CB1 receptor) has been taken of the market, the scientific interest has diverted away from cannabinoid antagonists in the treatment of obesity. Recent efforts have uncovered various possibilities to eradicate the negative side effects associated with antagonising the endocannabinoid system; this could possibly rekindle the scientific interest in this field.