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Diabetes drugs could help combat addictions

Studies have shown that a couple of medications prescribed for diabetes and lipid-lowering could play a part in treating addictions for alcohol and nicotine . The drug types explored were thiazolidinediones (or TZDs), which are typically taken to treat type 2 diabetes, and fibrates, which are taken to modulate lipid levels in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients to lower the risk of heart disease .
Both bind to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), with TZDs helping to lower both insulin resistance and the levels of cytokines that promote inflammation, while fibrates help to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride levels and also raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). However, they also both increase leptin levels, which could be responsible for reducing appetite.
One study showed that the addictive effects of nicotine can be checked by treatments that activate PPARs in monkeys and rats, while the other showed how pioglitazone, which activates PPARs to treat type 2 diabetes, was used to monitor its effects on alcohol consumption in rats.
For the latter study, Roberto Ciccocioppo, the corresponding author, said “We demonstrated that activation of PPAR-g receptors by pioglitazone potently reduces alcohol consumption in a rat model of excessive drinking.”
The research, published in Biological Psychiatry, revealed that the medications could help in the treatment of nicotine and alcohol addiction by acting in the brain.

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