Effects of dexfenfluramine on free fatty acid turnover and oxidation in obese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Geltrude Mingrone, Esmeralda Capristo, Andrea De Gaetano, Giovanni Ghirlanda, Marco Castagneto, Av Greco

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To test the potential effects of dexfenfluramine (dF) on enhancing free fatty acid (FFA) turnover and oxidation rates, 11 obese female non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) outpatients (age, 52.5 +/- 1.5 years; weight, 81.3 +/- 3.2 kg; height, 158 +/- 3.04 cm; body mass index, 32.4 +/- 0.7 kg/m2) received a primed-constant infusion of 1-14C-palmitate. The waist to hip ratio (WHR) was 0.91 +/- 0.04. Fat body mass and lean body mass, assessed by dual-energy x-ray densitometry, were 32.0 +/- 1.5 and 49.30 +/- 2.67 kg, respectively. All patients had an average hemoglobin A1 of 6.3% +/- 0.3% in the month preceding the study and had not received oral hypoglycemic agents. Gas exchange was measured both basally and during a ventilated-hood system, indirect-calorimetry session. The protocol was a randomized, placebo-controlled, single-blind design. Subjects received dF 30 mg acutely (n = 6) or a placebo (n = 5). A dose of dF 15 mg twice daily or placebo was then administered over 15 days (chronic). To obtain serum peak level of the drug, dF was administered 2 hours before starting palmitate infusion. A free diet was allowed throughout the study, and the group treated with dF lost approximately 0.5 kg body weight. Acute and chronic dF administration resulted in a significant increase in FFA oxidation, expressed as a percentage of the dose of radiocarbon (respectively, 11.47% +/- 0.46% v 9.50% +/- 0.46% [P < .01] and 12.06% +/- 0.71% v 9.88% +/- 0.62% [P < .01]). FFA turnover rate was higher after both acute and chronic dF administration (respectively, 10.71 +/- 2.18 v 7.79 +/- 1.48 mumol/kg/min [P < .05] and 11.92 +/- 2.74 v 8.43 +/- 1.86 mumol/kg/min [P < .05]). Serum FFA concentration during both acute and chronic dF administration increased, but not significantly. Mean serum glucose level decreased after acute dF from 114.3 +/- 8.6 to 86.5 +/- 5.1 mg/dL (P < .001) and after chronic dF from 120.3 +/- 7.3 to 89.8 +/- 5.8 mg/dL (P < .001). Serum insulin was not affected by dF administration. In conclusion, oral acute and chronic dF administration increase FFA turnover and oxidation rates in NIDDM obese patients. This may play an important role in weight reduction. In addition, dF shows a weight-independent effect on glucose metabolism, reducing serum glucose levels without acting on insulin secretion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-61
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Female
  • Fenfluramine
  • Humans
  • Insulin
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Placebos
  • Single-Blind Method

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