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Weight Loss Obesity Drugs
Prescription Medications for the Treatment of Morbid Obesity
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Information About Prescription Pills to Lose Weight

Weight Loss Drugs

Questions About Obesity Medications
Appetite Suppressants - Anti-Obesity Drugs - Prescription Obesity Drugs
Development of Diet Pills - Meridia Short-Term Obesity Drug - Xenical Lipase Inhibitors - Xenical Study
Orlistat & Obesity Management - Orlistat Weight Loss Study - Sibutramine FDA Approved Obesity Drug
Sibutramine Study - Obesity Drugs & Diabetes - Risks of Weight Loss Pills - Adipex Obesity Drug
Side Effects of Adipex - Phentermine to Reduce Appetite - Side Effects of Phentermine

What Are Weight Loss or Diet Drugs?

Weight loss or diet drugs are substances intended to promote weight loss. They may be prescription weight loss pills that must receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before being sold or administered, or over-the-counter weight loss drugs sold as supplements or diet pills without prescription. Both types of weight loss drugs are available online on the Internet.

Weight Loss Drugs - How Do They Work

Most prescription weight loss and diet drugs work through appetite suppression, but some work by creating an increased feeling of satiety after eating.

A new type of weight loss medication are drugs known as lipase inhibitors, which do not work to suppress appetite but instead block fat absorption in the body.

Most over the counter weight loss drugs act as stimulants to decrease appetite.

Weight Loss Drugs - Mostly Approved for Short Term Use Only

Prescription weight loss drugs require approval from the FDA. Over the counter weight loss drugs do not. Currently, only sibutramine (Meridia) and orlistat (Xenical) are FDA approved for long-term use. Most weight loss and diet drugs are intended to be used only temporarily and are most effective when combined with other lifestyle changes. Over the counter weight loss drugs have similar short-term efficacy.

Weight Loss Drugs - Who Are They For

Obesity Treatment
In theory, the main use for weight loss drugs is in the treatment of seriously overweight (obese) individuals, whose weight has serious health consequences. Obesity treatment involves a range of weight control therapies and treatments, including dietary modification, behavioral modification, counseling and exercise programs, as well as weight loss drugs. In fact, weight-loss medications to treat obesity must be combined with physical activity and improved diet to lose and maintain weight successfully over the long term.

General Weight Loss
Drugs are not solely used by obese individuals. Diet and weight loss companies and drug manufacturers continue to promote weight-loss drugs as a viable and desirable path to weight loss. Who can blame them? Making weight-loss drugs is profitable, as evidenced by the over 300 million dollars consumers spent on dexfenfluramine alone in 1996, as well as the success of Metabolife and Herbalife. Point is, as long as fatness is stereotyped and derided, and as long as discrimination against fat people exists, consumers will continue to seek a "magic weight loss pill," and there will be a market for weight-loss drugs.

Weight Loss Drugs - A Short History

Thyroid Weight Loss Drugs and Others
In 1893, thyroid extract was marketed under the brand names Frank J. Kellogg's Safe Fat Reducer, Corpulin, and Marmola. The weight loss it produced was mostly in lean tissue, and thyroid extract carried the risks of osteoporosis, increased heart rate, palpitations, sweating, chest pain, and sudden death. Laxatives for weight loss began being used extensively in the 1920s, and in 1936, dinitrophenol, a benzene-derived ingredient in World War I explosives, insecticides, and herbicides was used by 100,000 people. By increasing metabolic rate, dinitrophenol caused users to suffer skin rashes, cataract blindness, lost sense of taste, and death by hyperpyremia (fever due to increased metabolism).

Amphetamine Weight Loss Drugs
In 1940, digitalis was used for weight loss. The use of amphetamines for weight loss was introduced in 1937, and by 1948, the drug was prescribed to two-thirds of weight-loss patients. In 1970, dieters consumed two billion amphetamine pills. They were prescribed to children until the late 1970s. The risks of amphetamines include accelerated heart rate, increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, dry mouth, blurred vision, hallucinations, psychiatric disorders (including paranoid psychosis), light-headedness, tremors, addiction, withdrawal problems, congestive heart failure, seizures, and sudden death.

Phenylpropanolamine-based Weight Loss Drugs
Phenylpropanolamine (PPA), marketed as Dexatrim, Accutrim, Dex-a-Diet, Diadex, Prolamine, Propagest, and Unitrol became available over the counter in 1979. Poison Control Centers reported 47,000 complaints related to PPA use in 1989 alone. The risks of PPA include anxiety, disorientation, palpitations, headache, hallucinations, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, a rebound effect of fatigue and hyperphagia, dangerously high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, heart and kidney damage, heart attack, strokes, psychosis, and death.

Fen/Phen Weight Loss Drugs
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1970s for use individually, fenfluramine and phentermine (also known as fen-phen) became widely prescribed in combination in 1994 as a result of a single research study. By 1996, 18 million prescriptions were written for this off-label use of the drugs. Dexfenfluramine, marketed under the trade name Redux, was approved by the FDA in 1996. According to studies on file at the NAAFA office, the risks of these three drugs include primary pulmonary hypertension, valvular heart disease, and neurotoxicity. Under fire from NAAFA and other consumer advocates and following studies which indicated that one-third of users of dexfenfluramine and fenfluramine had contracted valvular heart disease, the FDA strongly recommended halting the sale of these drugs, and drug companies withdrew dexfenfluramine and fenfluramine from the U.S. market in September, 1997.

Herbal Fen/Phen Weight Loss Drugs
After discontinuing the sale of fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine, some weight-loss centers and physicians immediately began prescribing ephedrine-based "herbal fen/phen," and distributing the combination of phentermine and Prozac, an SSRI anti-depressant (also known as fen-Pro).

Meridia and Ephedra-based Weight Loss Drugs
Latterly, the weight loss drug Meridia (Sibutramine), has been accused of causing serious health problems, while ephedra-based weight loss supplements are also under the spotlight for alleged dangerous health risks.

Weight Loss Drugs - Little Testing

Historically, weight-loss drugs have been subjected to very little testing; almost no long-term studies have been produced. Research indicates that risks of drugs such as fenfluramine, phentermine, and dexfenfluramine increase dramatically the longer the drugs are used. In addition, the drugs produce minimal weight loss, and upon discontinuing the use of any of the drugs, the weight is virtually always regained. For example, amphetamines produce an average loss of 10-20 pounds before the drug loses effectiveness, and dexfenfluramine produces an average of six pounds of weight loss when compared to a placebo. Further, anecdotal evidence suggests that consumers eager to speed weight loss frequently take multiple, more dangerous doses of weight-loss drugs. Vulnerable consumers have also been misled and harmed by unregulated herbal, so-called "natural," weight-loss drugs.

Weight Loss Drugs - Continued Growth

Despite the lack of effectiveness and the risks associated with every past weight-loss drug, a variety of new weight-loss drugs are currently up for approval, or are in the research and development stage. A drug to regulate leptin, a satiety hormone secreted by fat tissue, is being developed. In addition, a drug to decrease appetite by blocking neuropeptide-Y and a drug to regulate metabolism by stimulating beta-3 adrenergic receptors are being researched.

Weight Loss Drugs - Consent, Truth About Obesity Health Risks

Weight-loss drug promoters emphasize the drugs' supposed health benefits and minimize risks related to taking the drugs, so that consumers cannot truly give informed consent prior to taking the drugs. There is also some controversy concerning the extent and severity of the health risks associated with being fat. According to the US Surgeon-General and mainstream weight-loss expert opinion, obesity and obesity-related diseases are best reduced through weight loss. But according to the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA), scientific research on file at the NAAFA headquarters demonstrates that many fat people are already healthy, and that a person's health status can be improved independent of weight loss by making positive lifestyle changes in exercise, stress management, healthy eating, and positive social support. See also: Obesity & Drug Treatment for Weight Loss

Weight Loss Drugs - FDA Regulation

Currently, the agency responsible for regulating weight-loss drugs, the US Food and Drug Administration, appears to bow to pressure from drug companies to approve weight-loss drugs without requiring sufficient long-term testing, and has not demonstrated a commitment to guard the public's health. In reply, the FDA points to lack of finance as well as lack of congressional support for weight loss drugs reform. See also Dietary Supplements & FDA Regulation and Weight Loss Drugs Information

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