For decades, doctors have sought every dieter’s dream of weight loss: a pill that would pare away the pounds with no harmful effects.
Their quest is an acknowledgment that losing weight and keeping it off isn’t just a matter of willpower, of resisting the appeal of the frozen dessert within the fridge.
Weight gain changes the brain and body, new research has shown. And even once we starve ourselves thin, we frequently can’t reverse those alterations. So we just slowly pack the pounds back on because our brains think we’d like them.
Back within the early ’90s, doctors thought they’d struck gold with a mixture of medicine, fenfluramine, and phentermine, or fen-phen, that gave the impression to magically melt fat away. But within a pair of years some patients began to develop very scary side effects: damage to heart valves, which proved to be fatal in some cases, might cause failure and a sort of high pressure, pulmonary hypertension.
The Food and Drug Administration called on drugmakers to drag fenfluramine — the culprit a part of the combo — which they did. Like a fear that continues today, the media attention that followed would scare patients off diet pills for years.
But with America growing fatter with each passing year — two-thirds of American citizens are now overweight or obese — doctors believed that they had no choice but to continue their go after a secure, and a minimum of moderately effective, medicine that will help patients drop excess pounds and keep them off.
The latest generation of medication such as PhenQ (check out Phenq results here) seems to try to do just that. They won’t make a morbidly obese patient model-thin, but they’ll shave off enough excess fat to enhance heart condition risk factors like hypertension, high blood glucose, and high cholesterol, experts say.
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Take lorcaserin, as an example. Researchers found that the drug could lead to consistent and sustained loss of over 5 percent of the weight in nearly 40 percent of patients in danger for heart attacks, strokes, and death from disorder without increasing the likelihood of such events, consistent with a report published recently within the geographic area Journal of medication.
While a 5 percent weight loss might not appear to be plenty, “that is that the point where there’s an awfully significant reduction within the risk of diabetes,” said a professor of metabolic research at Weill Cornell Medicine named Dr. Louis Aronne.
Patients in Bohula’s study did see improvements in hypertension and blood glucose levels with weight loss.
People must realize that in obesity treatment, even as in hypertension therapy, one drug won’t fit all, Aronne said. “That’s why treatment of hypertension is so effective. Nobody medication for hypertension works for every single person. That’s how we want to start out viewing drugs for obesity.”
What many don’t understand is that weight gain results in changes within the brain that will not be reversible, Aronne said. “The process of weight gain makes it hard to slim,” he explained, adding that in certain areas of the brain nerve cells are literally damaged and sometimes die.
That new understanding is why some major medical associations have come to work out diet pills as intrinsic within the battle against obesity.
Weight loss drugs are recommended supplements to diet and exercise — included, as an example, in 2013 guidelines by the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and therefore the Obesity Society, Bohula said.
In fact, a 2017 report that examined the medical records of two.2 million patients found that fewer than one in 50 patients who were eligible for a diet pill prescription received one.
That doesn’t surprise Dr. Vijaya Surampudi, an endocrinologist and a professor of drugs at the middle for Human Nutrition at the University of California, la. She said, “They’re not highly regarded. I believe lots of physicians are uncomfortable prescribing weight loss medications. Fen-phen scares off lots of them.”
When it involves dieting, Americans have to reframe how they view weight loss, Surampudi said. Beyond that, a bit of patience goes a protracted way.