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"Anti-obesity drug no magic bullet"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 02 Jan 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (3½ stars)

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

Some doctors in Canada are worried about the side-effects of an anti-obesity drug that is expected to hit the market in the U.S. by spring 2008.
Known in Europe as Acomplia and generically as rimonabant, the drug helps people to lose weight, controls Type 2 diabetes, raises high-density lipoprotein or HDL "good" cholesterol and tells the brain to stop craving food and cigarettes.
The drug has not been approved in North America, although both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada are studying it....

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 6 of 9
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Not 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 is another drug for weight loss which, sadly, reflects the ongoing desire for a magic bullet. The fact that this article coincided with the season of new year's resolutions didn't escape our suspicion. The highlights are that there are at least some critical elements in this story reflecting the fact that the drug needs to work in conjunction with diet and exercise. We are told that patients taking the drug may lose, on average, 5% of their body weight, but the other benefits claimed in the article--the effects on type 2 diabetes, or on raising high-density lipoprotein or HDL--are not quantified. Side effects are mentioned, but again, not quantified. While the spokesperson from the manufacturer says that the drug is not aimed for casual weight loss it is the health effects related to weight loss which are the key reasons a person would undergo such treatment. Stressing that "weight loss is particularly important for people carrying belly fat, which is linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes", we find this interesting and relevant, but would want to know if there is any evidence to show whether the drug was able to prevent any of these more serious clinical outcomes? Sadly, there is none There is a very high bar when it comes to taking prescription drugs for obesity and this article failed to deliver enough information for any consumer to get over that bar.

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