A diet pill approved by the FDA? Interesting article raises questions.

Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by gapsych, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    From USA Today- November 2, 2009

    I found this interesting as well as surprising and creats a lot of questions. At least these pills are going through research studies. I also wonder about people as me who have low appetites, can't exercise very much, and are on medications which have the side effects of weight.

    Are people going to give up good eating habits as there is a pill to reduce your weight? If you are morbidy obese I can see. However there are lots of studies that suggest, but not prove, that obesity is more than reducing calories and exercising. I am not sure what to make of this article but it is food for thought. Literally,LOL!!

    At least three new prescription diet drugs are in the final stages of development as pharmaceutical companies race to see which one will have the next big diet medication to hit the market.
    Some hopeful news from the research: Obese patients who took one of the medications along with cutting calories and exercising lost about 15% of their starting weight in a year.

    The companies still have to submit their new drug applications to the Food and Drug Administration and go through a rigorous review and approval process. Even if the medications get the government's OK, it will be a year or more before they are available to the public.

    Many obesity researchers say safe and effective weight-loss medications can save lives – and money – by curbing the incidence of weight-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.

    "Losing weight is hard, and we need more tools in our toolbox to help patients," says Donna Ryan, associate executive director for clinical research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. She's president-elect of the Obesity Society, a group of weight-loss researchers and professionals who will discuss new diet medications at their annual meeting next week.

    Other obesity experts agree. "We are going to need many different medications in order to treat obesity effectively in the same way we have many different drugs to treat high blood pressure," says Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York. He has conducted research on all three new drugs.

    How the drugs work

    The new drugs are intended for people who are obese, about 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight, or who are overweight and have risk factors such as high blood pressure.

    During the research on the medications, patients were encouraged to eat healthier, cut calories and increase physical activity. Three of the diet drugs in the final stages of research include:

    •Qnexa from Vivus. It incorporates low doses of two previously approved prescription medications: the diet drug phentermine, and topiramate, which is used to treat epilepsy and chronic migraines. Phentermine reduces appetite; topiramate increases the sense of fullness.

    In two separate studies, the mean weight loss was 13.2% (30 pounds) and 14.7% (37 pounds) for patients who were treated with full-dose Qnexa for 56 weeks. When people who didn't complete the trials are included, the percentage of total weight lost drops to 10.4% to 11%. Most common side effects: dry mouth and tingling in the toes and fingers.

    •Lorcaserin hydrochloride from Arena Pharmaceuticals. It works on brain chemistry to induce a sense of fullness. Patients who stayed on lorcaserin combined with lifestyle changes for one year lost an average of 17 pounds. About two-thirds of lorcaserin patients lost at least 5% of their body weight; about a third of those who took the placebo and made lifestyle changes accomplished this. The most responsive 25% of patients lost an average of 35 pounds. The most frequent side effect: headaches.

    •Contrave from Orexigen. It combines two drugs now on the market – bupropion, an antidepressant and smoking cessation medication, and naltrexone, currently used for alcohol and opioid addiction. It works to fight food cravings and improves the ability to control eating. The research shows patients lost about 6% to 9.3% of their starting weight in a year on the medication. The most common side effects: nausea, constipation and headaches.

    Some patients in the drugs' trials had improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar control.

    Helping reduce costs

    Aronne says treating obesity may be the most cost-effective way of addressing many chronic illnesses that are driven by excess body weight. When you go to the doctor now, you are treated for your high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol, he says. "What I envision is your weight could be the primary target of treatment because by treating your weight, not only will you get the diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but you'll get the many other underlying problems caused by your excess weight. We could reduce health care costs by managing the root cause."

    One drug isn't going to work for everyone, Aronne says. "Some people do better with one medicine, and some people do better with another."

    Multiple mechanisms are involved in the "biology of obesity," so eventually patients may need to take several medications to lose weight and keep it off, Ryan says.

    [This Message was Edited on 11/02/2009]
  2. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    I take Topamax for migraines and you have to build it up in your system very slowly (I had to build it up over a month) and can't miss a dose or you risk putting yourself into a seizure. If I have to come off it, I have to slowly and carefully come off it due to risk of seizure. So topiramate isn't a simple drug.
  3. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I did not know that. My daughter took Topamax for her migraines for many years.

    Yes, it is not a simple drug.

    I really don't know what to think about this article. If it sounds too good to be true, then maybe it is?

    I could also see people who are not that heavy abusing these drugs and don't know the side effects or the strength of it.

    But maybe as a last ditch effort for someone who is seriously health compromised. But then what about bypass surgery.

    Okay, I am now rambling. Thanks for the information.


  4. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    I think the articles are so important to all of us to know what is happening in medical science and to learn what is being considered.

    This article also proves it is absolutely VITAL to bring a list of all meds and over the counter meds to all doctor's visits, particularly if the Topamax weight loss medication did become available by prescription and was to be considered for our use by a doctor we would see.

    In fact for me, a weight loss doctor considering it would have to first discuss it with my neurologist who prescribes the Topomax for my migraines to make sure it passed his muster and my neurologist is very careful and does the Occipital Neural Blocks (injections in the head) to stop the migraines for a period of time.

    Thanks so much for this great article.