|Won't be long before they're pushing diet pills for him|
Another diet pill bit the dust. Last week, the FDA killed the promise of a quick fix for losing weight. They demanded of Orexigen Therapeutics a long-term study for safety, concerned about the possible risk of heart attacks that might result from use of Contrave, it’s new product. Apparently Contrave had already demonstrated success in raising blood pressure, something those with obesity hardly need to add to their woes.
So why a post on this? I am delighted with FDA’s stand, yet alarmed by the details of diet drug and laxative availability and the potential harm to users. Meridia, for instance, another useless diet pill, approved for 13 years, was only recently removed due to a 16 % increased risk of heart attack, stroke and death.
|Chai, not Senna tea!|
Some weeks ago I was visiting my mother, searching her cupboard for a tea I would like. “Dieter’s Tea” popped out, a product I was unfamiliar with. My mother, of course, didn’t purchase this product, but rather was given it “by a friend”. The box was open, but she had never tried it. No, she had no idea what was in it or how it “worked”.
So I read the ingredients, and then began to Google. My greatest concern was the Senna. You know, that natural plant substance that helps constipation. Gotta be healthy, right? And here’s one of the many articles that confirmed my suspicion: http://www.livestrong.com/article/121254-dangers-senna-tea/
Because it is over the counter, readily available, comes without a warning, and marketed as a natural remedy, it is most worrisome. Because I know people are seeking a quick fix. And they are not researching the ingredients and their risks while at the supermarket deciding between Earl Grey and Dieter’s Tea.
So back to Contrave.
At best, subjects lost 4.3 % more weight, compared to placebo, the fake stuff. If you’re 5’4” 175 lbs,, with a BMI 30, you’re considered obese, making you eligible to use a prescription diet drug.
In 12 months, that amounts to just over 1/2 pound additional weight lost per month, 2 ounces more weight lost per week. Wow! Rapid? Significant, even? Enough to justify the cost, either financially or medically? And risk free? Hardly.
How much health benefit would you gain from that additional 2 oz. per week? And self esteem? Would it change how you see yourself? And would it justify the unknown risks? The potential changes in blood pressure and increased heart disease risk?
And how necessary is it anyway to lose weight if we are obese, but fit? Yes, those two phrases can exist side by side!
Some months ago, the promise of a new medication for MS hit the news. A pill, the very first, to offer hope for those of us living with this potentially debilitating disease. The advantages were clear. Swallow daily, or inject daily or multiple times weekly. And the studies showed the medication to be at least as effective as the injectables.
Aren’t you thrilled, friends and family asked, knowing my 8-year history with this illness? Yet all I could think about was the cost. Not financial, as I am fortunate enough to have good insurance coverage. But the risk of this new med, with its list of horrific potential side effects, including blindness and fatal herpes infection, to name a few.
Now if the benefit strongly outweighed the risk, it might be worth it. But, thankfully, I am not debilitated by my disease. I am lucky enough to be able to engage in all activities I care to. And it’s possible that you, at your current weight, may not be debilitated, even if your doctor sees your weight as the number one “disease” for you to tackle. See my point?
We all want a magic bullet, for everything. So we’re drawn to lottery tickets, diet pills, surgical fixes for whatever might hold promise of a better life.
Would a new diet pill really change anything, even, if compared to placebo, it took off 5 % more of your weight? Because that’s enough weight change necessary to get it approved.
|Disturbing photo from the MFA, Boston|
Finally, those of you at the low end of the scale may cling to the benefits of staying there. The fear of change keeps you focusing only on the positives of where you’re at. Is it really so positive? Is the benefit of your eating disorder really greater than the costs, physically, psychologically, socially?
Reminds me of how we remember old boyfriends (or girlfriends). We longingly recall all the great times, how wonderful it was being together. Until we reality check and remember—I was miserable with him!
In summary, be an accountant. Look at the list of benefits of staying where you are, in terms of weight and behaviors. Then give some serious thought to the negatives, the risks. And hopefully the risk of taking diet pills, laxatives, and cleanses in addition to your own unhealthy actions, will be reconsidered.
As always, I'm eager to hear your opinions!