Ghosts of Weight Loss Past

5 05 2010

I am not a family practioner, GI specialist or practicing internist. I do not prescribe weight loss medications. Yet several years ago all cardiologists became well versed in some popular types of diet suppressants (Fenfluramine-Phentermine or Fen-Phen) because they had some pretty bad side effects: they were destroying heart valves and causing pulmonary hypertension, among other effects. The drugs had been approved by the FDA, but years later the Law of Unintended Consequences (something I think is more again to a natural force or natural law than just a man made side effect) struck. I suspect you will be hearing about this new attempt to promise to allow you stuff your pie-hole with any crap and lose weight.

The drug (currently experimental) is a weight loss/anti-hypertensive combo pill, The preliminary data was recently presented at the American Society of Hypertension’s 25th annual meeting in New York. Known as Qnexa, this medication combines phentermine with the anti-seizure medication topiramate. This combination is to be reviewed this summer by an FDA advisory panel (individually, both drugs are already approved). The fact that the results are being released to the medical community now reveals to me that the company feels good about the data and the prospects of quick approval. Knowing the huge potential market for a weight-loss quick fix, the Holy Grail for many Americans, I am sure the product will be made available quickly.

Phentermine is a fast acting appetite suppressant. The controlled-release topiramate acts to decrease the appetite and increase feelings of satiety throughout the day. Topiramate also has blood pressure-lowering effects. The recent data is derived from three separate studies of more than 4,500 people. Researchers compared several doses of the new pill with placebo among severely obese adults, as well as overweight, non-obese people who had other health problems related to their weight, such as high blood pressure or metabolic syndrome. Overall, people who took the combination pill lost more weight than their counterparts who were given a placebo. The higher the dose, the more substantial the weight loss, and the more likely it was to be maintained over time. The new pill did have some side effects, including altered taste, constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, and headache. But “there were no surprises,” says study author Suzanne Oparil, MD, a professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics and director of the vascular biology and hypertension program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Oparil is a consultant for Qnexa manufacturer Vivus.

As I have said before, make your food something you enjoy. Work against the processed, salt and fat laden, quick offerings that numb your taste buds and spark unhealthy addictions. Time will tell the tale of this newest Pharma offering. In my experience there are no magic bullets nor magic pills; unless you’re Mark Knopfler, you simply can’t get “your money for nothing and your chicks for free.”

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4 responses

6 05 2010
rebecca

well said there is no magic bullet

7 05 2010
whatscookingwithdoc

Thanks-I was hoping my medical friends would cover me on that one!

7 05 2010
partnersinwineclub

I have always been hyper sensitive to caffeine, and most over the counter med- Alleve, tylenol, cold meds, etc, so I do not take them AT ALL. I cannot imagine people trying to quick fix their diets by supplements of this nature. I would be spinning and babbling uncontrollable! LOL I already do that with out help, so its off to the gym pool for me today, I have to get some of this poundage off. My asthma was killing me on this trip, something I have had all my life, and I preach eating healthy, now time to get up to the podium and let go of my excuse of grief! Thanks Doc, you are a good guy!

7 05 2010
whatscookingwithdoc

Good for you Chef. Exercise is key to overall good health-and it let’s you have that extra slice of pie;-)

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