Prescription weight loss pills

Just because a diet pill needs a prescription, doesn’t always mean that it is a safe, effective means to weight loss. You might remember the weight loss miracle drug of the nineteen nineties, Fen-Phen. Fen-Phen was a mix of serotonin releaser Fenfluramine and appetite suppressant Phentermine. For many years, this drug offered a beacon of Food and Drug Administration approved light- a massive ray of hope to overweight individuals who had struggled with countless diet and exercise plans in order to lose weight but instead lost only hope and more self esteem. Fen-Phen was made by drug giant Wyeth, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration and was distributed to patients. The patients lost weight and felt successful, but something was off.

The world of Fen-Phen came crashing down when, in 1997, Mayo Clinic researchers found 24 cases of a rare heart valve disorder in women who were taking Fen-Phen. The Food and Drug Administration had received other reports of the same problem, so they asked Wyeth to stress on their cautionary label that the drug may cause a heart disorder. The Food and Drug Administration had received evidence that over 30% of women studied who had taken Fen-Phen had developed a silent, symptom free heart valve condition and all they did was ask that a note of caution be put on a label. By 2004, they still had not officially yanked the drug, though it was not as widely prescribed. By 2005, lawsuits began popping up en masse against Wyeth.

Since then, we’ve had new prescription weight loss pills added to the roster and still other pills, like Alli, have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but are available over the counter. It’s impossible not to wonder if the FDA is actually doing its job right this time- are these approved drugs safe? Or, after 10 years of use, will you find that they cause some other health disorder more debilitating and irreversible than your obesity was?

One popular prescription diet pill is Meridia. Meridia basically works as an appetite suppressant. When you eat and your body is full, it releases the chemical Seratonin. As long as the Seratonin molecules are floating around your brain, you will continue to feel full. Eventually, the Seratonin molecules find their receptor (kind of like a receiving dock in your brain) and they are taken back up into your system. Then, you get hungry again. Meridia contains a chemical that acts as a re uptake inhibitor. It blocks the Seratonin from its receptor and keeps it floating around your brain longer. This means you get to keep that full feeling a little bit longer.

Seratonin can also make you feel happier and wards off depression. Anti depressant drugs like Prozac work the same way as Meridia. Meridia is especially good at blocking carbohydrate cravings.

Unfortunately, the increased levels of Seratoning that Meridia helps create are also believed to be the very thing that cause the heart valve disorder in patients that took Fen-Phen. Some researchers believe that Meridia will not have the same affect because it restricts itself to working on the Seratonin in your brain, whereas Fen-Phen worked throughout your entire system. To ant rational person, that small piece of cold comfort may not be enough to set aside your fears and go strolling in to your primary care physician’s office and demand Meridia. For some people, tired of fighting their weight on a daily basis, dispirited and ready to give up, praying for a chance at the life they think they could have if they were healthy enough, the risk might be worth the reward.

Last updated on Jan 9th, 2011 and filed under Weight Loss. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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