Fears of depression associated with anti-addiction drugs

CHICAGO According to recent studies, drugs that were thought to be a breakthrough in regards to controlling and eliminating addictions like smoking and help other lose weight, have been linked to possibly raising the risks of depression and suicide, according to the Washington Post.

The drugs in question are Pfizer’s smoking cessation drug Chantix, Sanofi-Aventis’ obesity pill Rimonabant, which is still waiting to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and Merck’s Taranabant, another obesity pill which is in late stage testing. All three drugs have been linked in studies to increased risks of depression and suicide.

All the drugs work by blocking pleasure centers in the brain that provide the so-called feel-good response from smoking or eating. But, while blocking the pleasure centers, the drugs may also block other pleasure centers that then lead to depression and suicide.

Some researchers though are confident that the drugs can be fixed so as to act more precisely in terms of where in the brain they are supposed to take effect. The example of this is Chantix, which works in a different way then the obesity pills do. It targets a different pathway, nicotine pleasure switches, and this makes doctors optimistic about the drugs being useful after all.

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