FDA Approves Weight Loss Drug: Is the Magic Pill Here?

Amy Kuras

A panel of FDA advisers has recommended approval for Contrave, a new weight-loss drug that combines antidepressant and anti-alcoholism medications to help people lose ... wait for it ... a whopping 4.2 percent more weight than they did without it! In other words, if you have 100 pounds to lose...this could help you lose four more!

Gee, thanks...?

I guess that's better than diarrhea and gas with oily spotting (like you might get with Alli), but even Alli can give you 5-7 pounds more weight loss than the 8 or so pounds you could expect to lose with diet and exercise alone.

So, right now, the best, most effective options for struggling obese people are major stomach surgery such as gastric bypass -- or this drug that doesn't actually work all that well? Is this really the best you can do, drug research companies?

As someone who has battled my weight most of my life, I have to ask, where are the researchers looking at this problem? We're supposed to be happy with drugs that give you oily farts? Or drugs that will make you less gloomy and disinterested in drinking but not too much thinner? Or, you know, major surgery that, from what I hear, makes you feel horrendous if you eat more than a quarter cup of food (and before you get snotty about portion control, go to your drawer right now and take out a quarter cup measure. A single forkful from one of the meals you ate today is probably bigger than that). Oh right, or you can diet and exercise and still not lose a pound although you'll probably feel and look better and be a lot healthier in general.

Yes, I believe in personal responsibility, and I know there really is no magic pill for weight loss. We can't expect to eat crap food and sit on the couch all day and then take some magic pill to keep from having to be removed from your home by a crane. Diet and exercise, while not the path to thinness for everyone, blunts the impact of obesity in many, many ways and is probably the best recommendation for overweight people for that reason.

On the other hand, we have probably 10 antidepressants that work really well, several acid reflux medications, and enough erectile dysfunction drugs to create a flotilla of embarrassing ads. Can't we come up with something that aid obese people a little more than a few pounds? If there's going to be a new study every day concerned with obesity as health crisis, could we please start coming up with a viable solution that actually help curb it? Please?

What do you think? Should researchers be looking for a medication to help obesity?


Image via Colin Rose(colros)/Flickr


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