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This term derives from Greek (a + oregein, meaning "not to reach for"; later, anorektos ) and it refers to a substance that reduces food intake. It came into use in English about 1900. Anorectic agents (also referred to as anorexics, anorexegenics, or appetite suppressants) fall into a number of categories according to the brain neurotransmitter system through which they work.

Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants that act through the noradrenergic and dopaminergic systems include Cocaine, amphetamine-like compounds, mazindol, and phenylpropanalamine. Serotonergic compounds include fenfluramine, fluoxetine, and sertraline. Several endogenous peptides (within the body) also have anorectic actions, in that they inhibit food intakethese include cholecystokinin, glucagon, and the bombesin-like peptides.

Not all agents that can suppress appetite are medically approved for such use. For example, cocaine is approved only as a local anesthetic.

(See also: Amphetamine )

Timothy H. Moran