Researchers at the University of Michigan's Life Sciences Institute have found that amlexanox, an off-patent drug currently prescribed for the treatment of asthma and other uses, also reverses obesity, diabetes and fatty liver in mice.
The findings from the lab of Alan Saltiel, the Mary Sue Coleman director of the Life Sciences Institute, are scheduled to be published online Feb. 10, 2013 in the journal Nature Medicine.
"One of the reasons that diets are so ineffective in producing weight loss for some people is that their bodies adjust to the reduced calories by also reducing their metabolism, so that they are 'defending' their body weight," Saltiel said. "Amlexanox seems to tweak the metabolic response to excessive calorie storage in mice."
Different formulations of amlexanox are currently prescribed to treat asthma in Japan and canker sores in the United States. Saltiel is teaming up with clinical-trial specialists at U-M to test whether amlexanox will be useful for treating obesity and diabetes in humans. He is also working with medicinal chemists at U-M to develop a new compound based on the drug that optimizes its formula.
Amlexanox (trade name Aphthasol) is a medication with antiallergic and anti-inflammatory effects used in the treatment of aphthous ulcers (canker sores). Amlexanox is also available in Japan as oral tablets (trade name Solfa) for treatment of bronchial asthma, where it has been marketed by the Takeda Pharmaceutical Company since 1987, though Aphthtab by Egyptian Eva pharma also exist. In India it is available as Lexanox by Macleods Pharmaceuticals Ltd. In Bangladesh it is marketed by Square Pharmaceuticals as Apsol.