How a cheap, generic drug became a darling of longevity enthusiasts

Today’s Washington Post has a new article on rapamycin. Many of us think rapamycin is compelling because it is FDA approved, has been in use for over 20 years, and lengthens healthy lifespan in every organism its been tested, including mice (typically 15% to 30% lifespan improvement, but up to 34% when combined with acarbose). Daniel Gilbert, of the Washington Post, reports:

Despite the buzz surrounding the drug, it is unlikely that the Food and Drug Administration will ever approve it for longevity. The agency doesn’t consider aging to be a disease, and rapamycin’s generic status means there’s little financial incentive to run expensive clinical trials to test it on age-related afflictions.

The enthusiasm for the drug’s anti-aging properties comes from studies that repeatedly have shown benefits in animals across multiple species, including yeast, worms and mice. Some physicians and researchers believe that if taken intermittently and in low doses, rapamycin can increase human life span the way it has in animal trials. But doctors also caution that no one knows what the optimal dose might be for humans, and taking certain quantities of rapamycin can lead to reproductive harm and insulin resistance as well as making the body more susceptible to infection.

Brad Rosen, a doctor in Los Angeles, says he believes rapamycin’s potential is compelling enough for him to try.

“At 60, I don’t have the luxury of expecting studies to be completed that can validate the benefits of a longevity drug prior to my own steeper decline,” said Rosen, who also has prescribed the drug to about 250 patients. The promising animal studies, combined with rapamycin’s long history as an immune-suppressing drug, he said, makes it “one of few agents where taking a calculated risk can absolutely make sense.”

Read the full Article: How a cheap, generic drug became a darling of longevity enthusiasts (Washington Post)

Related: Eric Verdin (CEO of the Buck Institute) Takes Rapamycin
Related: 80% of Longevity Experts Predict Significant Benefits for Rapamycin in Humans
Related: Yes, the Dose Really Does Make the Poison (Skeptoid Blog)


I think it is important to mention that rapamycin as a side effect can increase LDL cholesterol or apoB.
That wasn’t mentioned in the article and I don’t like it being left out as it is so important.


And metabolic impact too (HbA1c, etc). Both this and the cholesterol impacts seem very measurable and controllable

1 Like

Anybody able to post a non-paywall version?

EDIT: Thanks. Kind of a disappointing story, really. Nothing new for anyone who has already learned about rapa, let alone started taking it. But perhaps it will prompt people who haven’t heard about it yet to start looking into it.


Hahaha…agreed. Hate those prescription required sites. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Added it above in the initial story Elizabeth posted.

1 Like

Just grab the “Bypass Paywalls Clean” extension on Firefox.


No complaints about this statement ( which is reminiscent of Sinclair’s about his dog product)?

"Healthspan, a telehealth service whose main offering is rapamycin, markets it predominantly for longevity but also cosmetic use, touting “the only skin cream scientifically proven to reverse skin aging at the molecular level.”

1 Like

That statement is definitely an optimistic view of the research (most people would probably call it “hype”… here is the original press release/news coverage of the Drexel U. research: Rapamycin May Slow Skin Aging, Drexel Study Reports I use rapamycin skin cream and have for a few years now and I think it does provide benefits… so there is a basis both from anecdotal and research evidence, that it does something.

That WaPo quote is coming from a company that is selling the rapamycin cream, not the group that did the research. So - there is no connection with the company doing the product sales, and the research group that published the research. So this case is quite different from the David Sinclair / Dog Supplement issue.


Generally a pretty middle of the road type of article - not strongly bringing research to light about all the positives we’ve seen with rapamycin, but also not negative.

Disappointed the article didn’t mention:

  1. The life extension results of upwards of 23% to 26% in mice in the ITP trials of rapamycin alone, and upwards of 34% in acarbose plus rapamycin.
  2. The fact that that rapamycin has worked in giving healthy life extension in every organism tried, from yeast, to worms, flies, mice, etc. and is looking good in monkeys and dogs…
  3. Didn’t mention that there are over 40 studies done by different labs that have done studies on life extension of rapamycin in mice. See: List of all the Mouse Studies Showing Rapamycin Lifespan Extension
  4. Didn’t mention that there are likely Tens of Thousands of people already using rapamycin, many reporting very good results (but some dropping it after negative side effects).

But I guess the good news is it wasn’t a “hit job” as some people had feared it might be, after they talked with the journalist.

Related thread on this news article: Eric Verdin (CEO of the Buck Institute) Takes Rapamycin


Is this theorized to be due to mTORC2 inhibition, inhibition that is theorized to be more likely with prolonged and constant mTORC1 inhibition? Or is this community reporting their ApoB increased in labs since starting weekly relatively low dose rapamycin? Asking as a person with a bad genetic role of the dice regarding ApoB who has just started weekly rapa.


I don’t remember or know what is causing it specifically, but I think there was some theory that it is up-regulating PCSK9 which thus would degrade LDL receptors faster and increase serum LDL or apoB.

Using rapamycin and optimizing mTOR while lipids are suboptimal is like rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic.

1 Like

True. I’ve lowered my ApoB substantially to a good level with statin and ezetimibe (reducing dietary saturated fat has had minimal impact), and hope rapa doesn’t have an impact.

1 Like

My total cholesterol actually dropped almost in half whilst on rapamycin. Granted I am in my late 20’s but it does show that its very possible that diet/exercise can reverse high cholesterol while taking rapamycin (I didn’t take any cholesterol lowering medications). Just cleaned up my diet, lost a few pounds and exercised more :slight_smile:

Ive been on rapamycin since sep 2022, and my blood results are from october so 1 month after i started rapamycin, you can see my results over the years.

4.9, 5.2 , 6.1 and now 3.9. When it was 6.1 (highest its ever been) I was still taking rapamycin, however I was eating lots of junk, weight gain and not exercising enough, I was thinking it might of been the rapamycin as elevated lipids is a common side effect, however before stopping & blaming rapamycin, I decided to clean up my diet/exercise and I managed to drop my cholesterol to 3.9 while continue to take rapamycin.


Two things really stand out for me about this article.

First of all, it’s obviously a well researched and balanced write up, which I really appreciate. There is nothing new is in the article for anyone who has been here for a while, but thats to be expected. This is the type of article I will (and am) sending to friends who know I take rapamycin but who have been slow to follow m. I encourage people here to do the same.

Secondly I was surprised that the journalist used a biohacker who buys his rapamycin from India as the key “user experience” in the story. Usually major news periodicals don’t feature biohackers so prominently, and I am glad they did. Our poll of our visitors suggests that the India pharmacy route is around 50 % of the people and perhaps increasing as we hear about health insurance rejections due to longevity medicine use by our members here.

I will also just make a note for people… I think we are hitting the inflection point for longevity drugs going mainstream. In the past year we have seen articles covering (or at least mentioning) rapamycin from The Economist magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fortune Magazine, GQ magazine, USA Today, and now The Washington Post. Last year I also heard that The NY Times had a journalist contacting people as part of a story on rapamycin, but apparently it never ran.

The trend line is clear. We’re still at the fringe of the healthcare market, but the fringe is growing…


It might be a good time to lay in a couple-year supply if you buy from India.

Consider the scenario where this increased visibility prompts scrutiny of India drug importation from some US government agency. Feds in turn tap the India government on the shoulder and say ‘Clamp down on this shady business.’

Or a case where somebody has a highly-publicised negative experience with rapa sourced from India. (Or any other India-sourced drug, for that matter.) Leading to a clamp-down.

Higher visibility not necessarily a blessing.


My thoughts exactly.
Or some pencil-necked low level bureaucrat will read the article and show it to his boss, hoping to score some brownie points. The boss will, in turn, initiate a clampdown on mail from India containing medicines.


There was a short rapamycin mention in Consumer Reports a few months ago.


Ah yes… thanks! Not enough information to really be of any value to anyone. I love Consumer Reports for getting unbiased reviews when buying products. This area seems to be out of their depth, sadly.

This prescription drug for type 2 diabetes is linked to a reduced incidence of cancer, improved heart health, and some cognitive protection. In animal studies, it appears to extend life span and health. Researchers are exploring whether it might do the same for people, but they don’t know if long-term use is healthy for everyone or how to reduce side effects such as diarrhea.

This supplement is widely marketed as a memory booster. But some doctors say it’s overhyped and unproven. Its makers have settled several lawsuits regarding their marketing assertions. And in an ongoing government case, they’ve been charged with making deceptive health claims. As with other supplements, like Focus Factor and Neuriva, Prevagen’s makers did not have to prove its efficacy and safety before putting it on the market.

Discovered in Easter Island soil, this molecule is now a prescription drug given to kidney transplant patients. Rapamycin appears to activate the same pathways as calorie restriction, which extends life in animal studies. Early evidence suggests that it may help prevent some cancers and improve cardiovascular function—at least in mice. But its immune-suppressing effects may weaken your defenses against infection.

September 2023 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.


My link to this site ( takes me to the news page, so this story has been in my face for many days and it always makes me cringe a bit, just because I find Rapamycin not cheap at all. From the headline it sounds like it’s a dollar per standard dose or something. Since I’m getting my generic rapa from an Rx and a regular pharmacy, cheap just doesn’t jibe with my experience. I wish it was “cheap.”

1 Like