The advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted 20 to 2 to recommend approval of Qnexa, a “new” obesity drug that is simply the combination of two older medications, phentermine (the “phen” of phen-fen”) and topiramate (Topamax).
The old diet drug (phentermine), combined with an older anti-seizure medication (Topamax) have concerning side effects, including increased heart rate, heart attacks, and birth defects such as cleft lip.
Every year the average American consumes 24 pounds of French fries, 23 pounds of pizza, 24 pounds of ice cream, 53 gallons of soda (or a gallon each week), 24 pounds of artificial sweeteners, 2.7 pounds of salt, 90,700 mg of caffeine, and about 2,700 calories a day.
Does a pill really address this behavior?
By 2020, over 50% of the US adult population will have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, with annual costs approaching $500 billion. By 2030, total annual economic costs of cardiovascular disease in the US are predicted to exceed $1 trillion. By 2030, globally we will spend $47 trillion; yes trillion, to address the effects of chronic lifestyle-driven disease.
Prescription medication for lifestyle disease has failed to bend the obesity and disease curve. Statins have been recently found to increase the risk of diabetes in women by 48%. And large data reviews by independent international scientists from the Cochrane Collaborative found that statins only work to prevent second heart attacks, not first heart attacks, which means they are not helpful and most likely harmful for 75% of those who take them.
Medication and surgery are not the answer to the growing obesity epidemic.
Lifestyle change is the safest, cost effective and most efficient way to address this national crisis.