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"Weight pills best with exercise, diet"

Toronto Star

Source: Toronto Star

Published: 18 Nov 2021

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (3½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

There's no free lunch with diet pills, new research concludes they work much better accompanied by the hard work of dieting and exercise.

The study backed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health is the biggest and best yet to demonstrate why obese people should adopt healthy habits, even if they take weight-loss drugs, researchers said.

"If you pit this medication against your favourite all-you-can- eat buffet, the ... buffet is going to win nine out of 10 times. So it's important you try to modify eating habits," advised Thomas Wadden, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist who led the study....

The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 7 of 10
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This article about a four-armed study of diet and exercise, with or without weight loss counseling or sibutramine, a weight-loss drug is well written and concludes the intuitive: that individual counseling, exercise and a weight-loss pill achieves the most in terms of weight reduction in a one-year period. This short article outlines the available evidence, but only in the briefest detail, and is without noticeable bias.

What is sketchy in this article is the harms associated with the weight loss drug, harms that are acknowledged, but not quantified. Also it would have been useful for the reader to know, in better detail, what the limitations of such a study are, the costs of the treatment being tested, (the cost of diet counseling and the drug) and whether the researchers may have had any conflicts of interest with the treatments in question.

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