Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

We know about Xenical, Meridia, and phentermine. Xenical blocks fat absorption, with unpleasant effects in a number of people. Meridia affects our brain chemistry, which some people can handle, and others canít. Phentermine has helped many, but itís also part of the infamous fen-phen combination that killed and injured many desperate people.

And for what? An extra 2-10% weight loss that often comes back when the medication is stopped? And now rimonabant [named Acomplia] is next on the horizon. It blocks cannabinoid receptors in the brain, believed to be involved in cravings. Itís finding uses in helping people stop smoking, and in reducing food consumption. Some people think itís a miracle, others are more cautious.

Thereís been some evidence that blocking these cannabinoid receptors may result in colon inflammation, like irritable bowel syndrome or Crohnís disease. Thereís even been a case of multiple sclerosis reported, although that might have been a coincidence. Bottom line, thereís no real way to determine the risks associated with rimonabant Ė or any other drug for that matter Ė until itís on the market and used by many many people.

Iím not necessarily anti-drug. They have a place in our lives. But, given the complexity of obesity and overeating, and the fact that neurochemistry is involved, I donít think that a single drug will necessarily be the answer. We just donít know enough about the many roles each brain chemical has. So far, they all seem to wear many hats. And jiggling the balance may improve one disease, but worsen or even cause another.

We have to be careful of claims. We have to make ourselves informed consumers, and we have to consider all the risks and benefits, and decide what we can live with. But perhaps more important, if we decide that one of these drugs will help us, weíd better be prepared to use them carefully and to make whatever changes we need to keep the weight off. These drugs are designed for weight LOSS, not for weight MAINTENANCE, and no matter how well they might work for us, we can’t stay on them forever.

3 thoughts on “Obesity drugs?

  1. Greta says:

    I agree with you TOTALLY that drugs are a risky route to weight loss. Despite being very overweight when Fen-Phen came out, I wasn’t one who tried it. Despite this I have to say that a pill to lose weight and keep it off is one of my fantasies. Can you imagine taking a pill every morning and gradually dropping weight, getting to ideal weight, then staying there? No effort, just a pill, and no side-effects. Isn’t that a fantastic fantasy? My only higher priority drug-related fantasy is a drug to cure Alzheimer’s which would bring my Mother back to me.

  2. Jessica says:

    I was on Phentermine about 5 years ago – I went to a weight loss clinic and they put me on it, without telling me about any of the potential side effects. In fact, they told me that it was NOT a part of the phen-fen family. I lost about 20-25 lbs in a matter of a couple of months – then I quit after learning that Phentermine was actually a mild narcotic and therefore habit forming. Over the next year, I gained back the 25 lbs I’d lost, plus packed on an additional 35 (I believe this was about 60% my fault due to bad habits / lifestyle, and about 40% due to the phentermine totally messing up my metabolism). With the help of Weight Watchers, I’ve FINALLY lost all that weight – so right now I’m sitting right around 195, which is about where I was when I quit the clinic. I’ve still got a long ways to go, but every day I thank God that 1) I joined WW before I got any fatter, and 2) I didn’t have any health complications from that drug. Although, I do wonder where i’d be right now, weight-wise, if instead of going to that fancy, expensive clinic, I’d just done it healthily from the very beginning…

    ~jessica

  3. stretchy says:

    pills scare me, unless doctors (plural) tell me I absolutely have to take something, I won’t.

    But I too have a fantasy, and it’s that Johnny Depp/Willy Wonka will work out the “bugs” in that magic chewing gum that gives you the delicious dinner and you’d feel satisfied with 5 calories. But the reality is, I’d turn into a giant blueberry and have to suffer extreme torture in the juicing room. Even after that I’d have to live with at least one freakish side effect… why are there always side effects? Nothing worth having comes easy. Now I have to go pop in a workout DVD. Jane always motivates me. That’s why I check in every day.

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