OCD pills could be a weapon in the war on obesity

Washington D.C. [USA], April 3 (ANI): In a first of its kind, a study finds, a common antidepressant can help people with compulsive eating habits to choose healthy food like fruit over chocolate biscuits or fatty snacks.

The findings indicated that citalopram - prescribed for depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - increased the number of choices for healthy foods such as fruit over chocolate biscuits compared to a placebo.

The researchers found that, when taking citalopram, as much as 60 percent of the participants' choices were healthy, while just 45 per cent of them were healthy when taking the placebo. The number of healthy choices made taking atomoxetine was not significantly higher.

"These findings also have implications for treating eating disorders," said lead study author Ivo Vlaev from Warwick's business school in the UK.

"It appears to give people the long-term focus needed to consider how food will impact on their health, rather than the short-term decision to go for what tastes better," Vlaev added.

The team gave a pill to 27 adults and asked them to choose between pairs of snacks shown on a screen, ranging from fruit to chocolate biscuits, reports the Mail Online.

Sometimes there were two healthy options, sometimes two unhealthy foods and sometimes one of each.

The pill was either a single dose of atomoxetine, a tablet used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); citalopram; or a placebo.

Citalopram works by lengthening the time the 'feelgood' brain chemical (neurotransmitter) serotonin is held by the synapse in the cell, so prolonging its action. (ANI)