When will dieters learn — diet pills DO NOT help more than they harm.

Two years ago, the Food and Drug Adminstration, — you know, our federal “watchdog” — approved a weight loss drug, Qnexa, which has serious health concerns, including heart risk and birth defects.

Now, a committee of outside advisers to the F.D.A. will meet on Wednesday to consider again whether the drug, developed by Vivus, should be approved.

According The New York Times, some obesity specialists and patient advocates say there is a strong need for new obesity drugs to help bridge a treatment gap between diet and exercise, which do not work for many people, and the more radical option of bariatric surgery.

But the F.D.A. has been cautious, in part because with two-thirds of American adults overweight or obese, such drugs might be used for a long time by millions of people.

Basically, they the government knows it’s dealing with a country addicted to popping pills to solve problems.

Qnexa is a combination of two existing drugs: the stimulant phentermine and the epilepsyand migraine drug topiramate, also known by the brand name Topamax. Some doctors say they believe the component drugs are an effective tool to combat obesity and prescribe the two component drugs to patients off label, which is legal.

Now the F.D.A. is calling for trials and additional studies, which may delay the approval for several years.

The latest studies show that use of topiramate during pregnancy increases the risk of oral clefts, such as cleft lip, by a factor of two to five, according to the F.D.A. staff review released Friday.

That is a concern, the reviewers said, because “the major consumers of weight-loss drugs are women of childbearing potential,” leading to “the potential for large numbers of pregnancy exposures.”

The whole reason this is story is such a priority stems from the potential loses to stockholders who are looking for short term gains on their investment in the robust weight loss industry. It’s crazy to think, if your overweight, your neighbor may just be betting that you’ll stay hooked on this drug instead of exercising and eating a better diet.

Cutting through the thick greed, Americans must call for new standards for measuring obesity. The current Body Mass Index (BMI) is creating a monster, allowing doctors to prescribe chemically-based medications and dispense counterproductive advice to their otherwise healthy larger patients, who may be fishing for a quick solution in order to fit into their work-khakis.

Obesity should not be a one pill fits all solution epidemic. The diet pill industry will only continue to grow if the BMI stays as an axiom, which it’s not. There is no substitute to a proper diet and active lifestyle, something no one will ever manufacture into a pill form.


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