What About Weight Loss Drugs?

What About Weight Loss Drugs?

They don't work either. Amphetamines like Benzedrine and Dexedrine were banned because of excess stimulation and addiction. Phendimetrazine is still around (Trimstat etc.), but also has side effects, and tolerance develops rapidly. Sales of fenfluramine (Pondimin), a serotonin booster, exploded a few years ago when, in combination with phentermine (Ionamin and others), it was reported to be safe and effective when taken for over two years. "Fen-phen" clinics sprang up all over, dispensing the drugs "like cheap Halloween candy". Doctors were under so much pressure that Pondimin couldn't be made fast enough. However, it was associated with a significantly increased incidence of deaths clue to pulmonary hypertension, and never approved for long term use. Dexfenfluramine (Redux), a closely related drug with similar drawbacks, was approved overmuch objection last June. During the next four weeks, 160,000 physicians were detailed, including psychiatrists, OB-GYN and other specialists not familiar with the pharmacology of anorexigenic agents. One enthusiastic sales rep claimed it could be safely taken forever. More than 2 million prescriptions were written for Redux in the last half of 1996! As true for all these drugs, the vast majority were for cosmetic purposes in modestly overweight patients, for whom they are not indicated and could cause problems.

Sibutramine (Meridia), which increases both serotonin and noradrenaline, was approved in January, despite previous rejection because it raised blood pressures. Leptin, neuropeptide Y, beta-3 adrenergic receptors, urocortin, melanocyte concentrating hormone, are in the works. Even human choriogonadotropin has been revived in a pill. Xenical (orlistat), a lipase inhibitor that blocks fat absorption, causes gastrointestinal symptoms, but will probably be approved this year. Almost every major pharmaceutical company is shelling out millions for the rights to anything with a remote chance of some success. However, long term studies demonstrating safety in humans, and information on possible adverse reactions with other medications will not be available for any. As each new product becomes available, promotional efforts claiming increased efficacy and safety will escalate, creating more confusion and stress for those trying to shed a few pounds safely.

There have been numerous non prescription weight loss drugs, but in 1991, the FDA banned such claims for 111 ingredients found in most. Dexatrim, Acutrim and an oral spray called Spray-U-Thin, contain phenylpropanolamine, which causes increased heart rate, blood pressure, nausea and dizziness. Thin Patch delivers homeopathic weight loss agents transdermally, "scentsational therapy", which involves sniffing certain smells, allegedly allowed some people to lose 100 lbs., and an $80.00 motivational book teaches you how to use sounds (flushing toilets) and rhymes ("Arteries go splat when you fill them with fat") to make you eat less.

The American Institute of Stress.

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