Only 1% of Adults take Diet Pills

A study in the medical journal Obesity came out with some startling facts: less than 1% of people used medicines for obesity, despite the fact that 1/3 of Americans are obese.  Another 1/3 of Americans are overweight.  When that small 1% of people did use an obesity medicine, only about 15% of them kept on using the drug for more than 3 months.

 

This information comes just when the FDA declined approval of another anti-obesity drug.  This time, it was Qnexa, a combination of Phentermine and topiramate.  Medical professionals are called Qnexa the largest breakthrough in anti-obesity drugs in the last 50 years.  Many people already know about Phentermine and its weight-loss capabilities.  By combining topiramate (an anti-seizure drug which also helps weight loss), the benefits of each drug are increased but without increasing risks of side effects.

 

The FDA has already taken a public stand against Phentermine because of concerns that the drug is dangerous for heart patients.  Cardiovascular problems are commonly linked with obesity, so it is understandable why the FDA would be concerned about this.  But, the FDA has seemed to overlook its most basic parameter for determining whether a drug should be approved or not: do the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks?  Heart problems are very common amongst obese people.  But, if the obesity isn’t treated, then the heart problems are just likely to get worse.  Numerous studies of anti-obesity drugs show that they can actually help improve heart conditions.

 

There is no denying that these anti-obesity drugs like Phentermine do come with some risks.  Phentermine works by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain so you don’t feel hungry and your body uses energy more efficiently (increased metabolism).  Phentermine isn’t a miracle pill but, with healthy lifestyle changes, it can lead to a major reduction in body fat, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

If anti-obesity drugs are so effective, then why are so few people taking them?

When the study in Obesity journal came out, many medical professionals were surprised.  They have many hypotheses as to why only 1% of people are taking prescription weight-loss drugs, despite the large obesity epidemic sweeping the country.  One of the major problems which is keeping people from seeking help is that they fail to understand the risks of weight-loss drugs.

 

In the past, weight-loss drugs were just glorified amphetamines.  Those weight-loss drugs, which were popular with housewives in the 50s and 60s, led to many severe drug addictions and many deaths.  Today’s weight-loss drugs are heavily regulated and tested so the full risks are understood before they are approved. Even drugs like Phentermine which have been shown safe still get shelved while the FDA continues investigation.

 

While only 1% of adults are taking prescription diet pills, it should be noted that many more are taking over-the-counter diet pills.  These diet pills don’t compare to the prescription drugs like Phentermine when it comes to efficacy and they also aren’t tested as much.  Before you reach for an OTC weight loss supplement, you should ask your doctor if there is a better, prescription drug available which is right for you.

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