Anti-addiction Medicines, Bupropion and Naltrexone, Could be Used to Treat the Obesity Related to Food Addiction
Associated with a variety of serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer, obesity has become a serious problem in the USA where over a third of adults are now obese (Makowski, Gwinn & Hurren, 2011, p. 489). However, there are not many effective drugs available for treating obesity. In fact, the last obesity drug to be approved in the United States was Xenical® in 1999 (Pollack, 2011). This drug, despite being the only medicine for long-term obesity treatments, is rarely used (Pollack, 2011). In light of recent evidence suggesting a link between obesity and addiction, anti-addiction medicines such as bupropion and naltrexone are being investigated for their potential to treat obesity (Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc., 2013). Because of the relationship between obesity and food addiction, the similarities of food addiction and drug addiction, and the effectiveness of bupropion and naltrexone in weight losing of some type of obesity, anti-addiction drugs could be promising in treating the obesity caused by food addiction.
Before undertaking this investigation, clear definitions and assessments of food addiction and obesity are necessary. Food addiction is defined as “a chronic relapsing problem caused by various fundamental factors that encourage craving for” food or food additives to “obtain a state of heightened pleasure, energy, or excitement” (Tartar, Ammerman & Ott, 1998; Gold & Sternbach, 1984, as cited in Liu, von Deneen, Kobeissy & Gold, 2013, p. 134). At present, the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS; Gearhardt et al., 2009, as cited in Clark & Saules, 2013, p. 217), which is a survey of 27 items related to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV criteria (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 2000, as cited in Clark & Saules, 2013, p. 217), is the most widely used tool for examining food addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012), an adult who is considered “obese” has a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher according to their height and weight.
Turning to the relationship between food addiction and obesity, an increasingly accepted view of this relationship is that food addiction can cause overeating, which can lead to obesity. A selection of recent experiments can support this perspective. One study conducted on 652 adults from the general population illustrates that clinical symptoms of food addiction show a positive correlation with body composition measurements, and obesity measurements were significantly higher in food addicts than in people without a food addiction (Pedram et al., 2013). This scientific study provides evidence that there is a causal relationship between food addiction and obesity. Also, some other scientists share the same conclusion that food addiction may lead to a high prevalence of obesity (Wilson, 2010;...