A synthetic hormone that produces a feeling of "fullness" may help curb binge eating and cravings for sweet and fatty foods, US research shows.
Symlin is the synthetic form of amylin, a hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreas.
"Satiety hormones are commonly thought to control food intake by signalling to the brain when we are full," said Christian Weyer, from Amylin Pharmaceuticals, San Diego, California.
"The findings of our clinical study further suggest that satiety hormones such as amylin can exert multiple effects on human eating behaviour, such as reduced intake of highly-palatable foods and reduced binge eating behaviour."
Weyer and colleagues assigned 88 obese men and women to receive either amylin or placebo for 6 weeks.
Participants taking smylin ate significantly fewer calories and lost more weight than those who received placebo.
The reduction in calorific intake was mainly explained by participants from the symlin group eating smaller portions and less "fast food".
Scientists hope to combine symlin treatment with other hormones involved in weight gain to achieve even greater appetite control.