by Dr. S on November 23rd, 2009

Focusing on weight-loss has become a yearly obsession especially around the New Year. However, rather than addressing the underlying lifestyle factors, many opt for quick fixes as in taking weight-loss medications.

In 1997, two very popular weight-loss drugs; fenfluramine (the fen in fen-phen) and dexfenfluramine (Redux), were recalled due to increased risk for fatal heart value abnormalities. No sooner were these two drugs recalled that another drug was introduced to take their place - sibutramine (Meridia) hit the market in November of1997 for the treatment of overweight and obesity.

Meridia is an antidepressant drug classified as an MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitor. It works by inhibiting the reabsorption of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that among other actions, regulates appetite. Unfortunately, Meridia has its own set of problems.

A recent (11/23/09) medical news alert reported that Meridia increases the risk of cardiovascular events including myocardial infarction (heart attack) and cardiac death, and stroke especially in high-risk patients. These findings were obtained from a placebo-controlled study (SCOUT Trial) of 10,000 overweight and obese patients, 55-years or older with a history of heart disease or type 2 diabetes plus one additional risk factor.

The FDA was informed of these findings in mid-November, but as of now, no recommendations have been made other than to advise avoiding its use in higher-risk patients or those with a history of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, or stroke.

Appetite suppressants are not only dangerous, but their usage will eventually sabotage your weight-loss efforts by causing increased breakdown of muscle tissue resulting in metabolism slow down.

My thoughts can best be described from an excerpt of my book, “The regulation of appetite is highly complex with numerous interactions and interconnections between endocrine, adipose, gastrointestinal, and neurological pathways. These redundant hormonal and neurochemical pathways, which regulate appetite and energy homeostasis, are crucial and deeply entwined within our circuitry, and serve as a self-preservation mechanism. Overcoming these pathways through anti-obesity pharmacological intervention, although arduous, has researchers adamantly pushing forward as if searching for the Holy Grail. Moreover, although a noble and necessary remedy for the morbidly obese and those afflicted with uncontrollable hyperphagia, it is not the entire solution and should be looked at with consternation. The concern is not so much for the critically obese individual, but rather for the overweight person who might supplant good nutrition and exercise with appetite suppressing medications. In a society that is greatly pill reliant and overly medicated, these drugs will only serve to dissuade many from pursuing the very knowledge that might enlighten them to a healthy lifestyle which can be passed on to their children. “

Dr. Sardone

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with fenfluramine, dexfenfluramine, weight-loss drugs, Meridia, appetitie suppressants


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