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Are There FDA-Approved Anti-Aging Therapies And Drugs?

Mar 9, 2023
Are There FDA-Approved Anti-Aging Therapies And Drugs?

What if you could eliminate your biggest risk factor for chronic disease? That risk factor is aging.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has traditionally considered aging a natural process, not a disease. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) and an ever-increasing number of scientists support the viewpoint that aging should be considered a disease that causes other diseases. The WHO describes the process of aging as “… the impact of the accumulation of a wide variety of molecular and cellular damage over time.”  

Scientists are investigating biochemical and metabolic changes in the body that contribute to the aging process. You can expect an increase in anti-aging treatments and age management solutions on the horizon.

Anti-aging therapies are not focused on superficial wrinkles or adding more muscle to your physique. Instead, they focus on cell senescence (cell aging), genomic instability, and changes to your DNA and epigenome. Anti-aging treatments under investigation include:

  • Metformin
  • Rapamycin
  • Resveratrol
  • Grape seed oil
  • Cellular reprogramming
  • Gene therapy
  • Lengthening telomeres
  • Increasing NAD+ levels
  • Using intermittent fasting and calorie restriction
  • Exercise
  • Cellular reprogramming
  • Reducing inflammation

The time to start anti-aging treatments is now. You won’t know how well anti-aging therapies extend your health span and lifespan until you die, but you can tell whether anti-aging therapies make you feel better now.

The science of anti-aging is in its infancy, but several scientific studies have widespread support, clinical trials are underway, and drugs are seeking FDA-approval for a new medical indication—anti-aging.

What Does It Mean to Be FDA-Approved?

FDA approval is a process that shows that a medication can be safely used in the United States. A division of the FDA, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), is tasked with overseeing the drug approval process.

FDA approval is a multi-step process that ensures drugs work as they should and that their benefits outweigh their known risks. Drug companies start by determining an effective dose for their medication and then begin safety and effectiveness testing. A team of CDER scientists and physicians reviews the data. If the team determines the drug is safe and effective, treats the medical condition for which it is intended by providing a real health benefit, and manages any risks from taking the drug, the drug can be approved.

By having drugs, follow a specific and detailed approval process, doctors and their patients will have the information they need to prescribe medication safely.

Regulatory Challenges

To get a medication FDA-approved, it must effectively treat a disease. The first challenge scientists and pharmaceutical companies face is getting aging classified as a disease. This is harder to do than it would seem at first glance because scientists must agree on biomarkers that are associated with aging and can be tracked to provide evidence that a medication is safely and effectively treating aging.  

Metformin is widely recognized as a potential anti-aging drug and was given approval seven years ago to begin clinical trials. Two large prospective placebo-controlled clinical trials to test metformin and its anti-aging properties are the Metformin in Longevity Study (MILES) and Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME). These trials are intended to provide proof of concept for the premise that aging is an appropriate scientific target.

Once these barriers are overcome, drug developers will need to consider how they will develop and produce drugs that will be needed by the entire adult population and not just a subset of people with a certain disease. This huge market would make anti-aging therapies very attractive for venture capitalists, investors, and sponsors.

If the disease-specific requirement is removed (anti-aging therapies are expected to target multiple age-related diseases), then these therapies could be considered preventative care, not treatment.

older woman with Anti-Aging Therapies

How The FDA Approval Process May Change

Fast-tracking drugs for FDA approval was common during the height of the pandemic. Medications that had the potential to slow, treat, or prevent COVID-19 were needed now, not after a long-drawn-out process. Post-pandemic, there will be a need for global consistency in the inspection and regulation of drug research and development. This could slow the approval process for potential anti-aging therapies.

Promising Anti-aging Therapies

Anti-aging therapies are entering clinical trials, a step toward FDA approval. Anti-aging therapies that target metabolic processes involved in the aging process and are potentially promising include:

  • Cell rejuvenation therapies
  • Tissue and organ regeneration
  • Gene therapy
  • Cell reprogramming
  • Removing aging cells using senolytics
  • Repairing DNA
  • Stem cell therapy

Promising Anti-aging Drugs

No drugs are currently FDA-approved for a medical indication to treat aging. However, promising anti-aging medicine include:1

  • Metformin: used to treat type 2 diabetes, inhibits mTOR signaling and protein synthesis, activates adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase
  • Resveratrol: polyphenol found in red wine, inhibits mTOR through ATP competition
  • Rapamycin: used to prevent organ and bone marrow rejection and inhibits mTORC1 activity
  • Everolimus: may stop cancer growth, mTOR inhibitor
  • Nicotinamide mononucleotide: (NMN), a precursor to NAD+
  • Quercetin: a plant pigment and flavonoid, targets senescent (aging) cells
  • Dasatinib: used to treat cancer, targets senescent (aging) cells

These medications have the potential to change processes at a cellular level by inhibiting protein synthesis or targeting senescent (aging) cells, unlike procedures that target the outcome of aging, such as surgery. In the future, it may be possible to look good without surgery.

A close up of a man

Repurposing FDA-approved Products and Therapies

The National Institutes of Aging in the United States, a component of the National Institutes of Health, is funding clinical trials for interventions that directly investigate the causes of age-related diseases. Researchers are asked to investigate new compounds or repurpose existing drugs, biologics, or supplements that may affect the biochemical changes that are thought to affect age-related pathways.

If potential anti-aging therapies could gain FDA approval, clinicians would no longer need to prescribe them off-label. This means better access to safety and effectiveness information for prescribers and patients. It also opens the possibility that these medications would be covered under insurance.  

Other Promising Anti-aging Treatments

Supplements have the potential for age management but do not go through the FDA approval process.

Commonly used vitamins and supplements recommended for age management include:

  • Sermorelin is a growth hormone secretagogue. Sermorelin can increase muscle mass and strength and reduce body fat. However, there is some evidence that increased growth hormone may reduce longevity.2
  • Glutathione is a potent antioxidant; glutathione can improve immune function and reduce oxidative stress.
  • NAD+ is a universal cellular electron transporter, coenzyme, and signaling molecule that transfers energy from foods to body cells, where it is used for growth and repair.
  • Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant and mitochondrial cofactor involved in energy conversion in mitochondria. These organelles produce cellular energy.
  • Metformin synergy combines the anti-aging benefits of metformin with leucine and sildenafil, which act synergistically to reduce body weight and triglycerides by activating SIRT1.
Are There FDA-Approved Anti-Aging Therapies And Drugs?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best drugs for anti-aging?

While there isn’t a single “best” drug for anti-aging, some medications and supplements have shown potential benefits in combating age-related processes. These include metformin, resveratrol, and rapamycin, which have been studied for their effects on cellular pathways associated with aging. However, further research is needed to fully understand their efficacy and safety for anti-aging purposes.

What drug reverses ageing?

There is currently no drug that reverses aging entirely. However, certain medications and interventions may slow down age-related processes or delay the onset of age-related diseases. For example, some research suggests that metformin and rapamycin may have potential anti-aging effects by targeting specific pathways involved in aging and age-related diseases.

What is the miracle drug for aging?

The idea of a “miracle drug” for aging is often overstated, as aging is a complex process influenced by multiple factors. While certain medications and interventions may offer promising results in combating age-related processes, there is no single drug that can halt or reverse aging entirely. Instead, a combination of healthy lifestyle habits, medical treatments, and preventive measures is typically recommended for promoting healthy aging.

What drugs are FDA-approved for anti-aging?

As of now, there are no FDA-approved drugs specifically indicated for anti-aging purposes. However, some medications approved for other conditions, such as metformin for type 2 diabetes or certain hormone therapies for age-related conditions, may have potential anti-aging effects. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before using any medication for anti-aging purposes, as their safety and efficacy may vary.

While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.

Are There FDA-Approved Anti-Aging Therapies And Drugs?

Leann Poston, M.D.

Dr. Leann Poston is a licensed physician in the state of Ohio who holds an M.B.A. and an M. Ed. She is a full-time medical communications writer and educator who writes and researches for Invigor Medical. Dr. Poston lives in the Midwest with her family. She enjoys traveling and hiking. She is an avid technology aficionado and loves trying new things.


  • Shetty AK, Kodali M, Upadhya R, Madhu LN. Emerging Antiaging Strategies – Scientific Basis and Efficacy. Aging Dis. Dec 2018;9(6):1165-1184. doi:10.14336/ad.2018.1026
  • Bartke A. Growth Hormone and Aging: Updated Review. World J Mens Health. Jan 2019;37(1):19-30. doi:10.5534/wjmh.180018


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