Thursday, May 11, 2017

New weight loss drugs

As we slog into the 21st century, fat shamed, doctor shamed, spouse shamed, self shamed, what about a magic pill?

I was clapped onto amphetamines when I was 12--lost enormous amounts of weight three times, but it always found me again.

Now, according to an article in ELLE by Joseph Hooper, the FDA has approved four new drugs to combat obesity: Qsymia and Belviq (2012), Contrave and Saxenda (2014).

In 2010--Meridia was yanked off the market--it increased heart attack and stroke.

In the 1990s, patients downed fen-phen, which did cause weight loss, but also, if you took it long enough, injured your heart valves.

Now--do the researchers have it right? One said--maybe "righter."

They think they know more about the physiology of weight loss--weight-specific pathways in the body, as mysterious as that sounds.

Qsymia and Contrave are drugs prescribed for other ailments besides obesity--they have a history of being used. Still, Qsymia should not be taken by anyone with heart disease--it contains the "phen" part of fen-phen--phentermine. this substance can make you feel "speedy."

Each of the four drugs had to cause test subjects to lose 5% of their body weight, which may not sound like much, but as most dieters know, is not all that easy.

These drugs dial hunger down or satiety up, basically.

But even if you are not "hungry," you may eat for a taste reward or other reason.

Contrave, for example, contains an anti-depressant (Wellbutrin) and the anti-opiate drug naltrexone, which blunt cravings.

Belviq is an all-new drug, which affects the brain's response to the happy chemical serotonin (but not the receptors in the heart valves like fen-phen did).

All the drugs list side efx, of course. For Saxenda nausea applies to all that take it until the body "adapts." Charming.

Also, these drugs are expensive. Try a thousand bucks a month for Saxenda. And usually not covered by insurance.

So this is no miracle "cure." It's not for those last ten pounds. It's medicine. You need to thrash this out with your doctor.

The FDA, it should be noted, would not even test these on people with a BMI under 30, or 27 if the subject had an accompanying problem related to weight.

Half of American adults could meet that standard.

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