Excerpted from the NY Times:|
2 Approaches to the Nation's Obesity Epidemic Coming Up for Review
By STEPHANIE SAUL
Published: January 17, 2006
Two new approaches to weight loss are up for review by federal regulators. And they represent vastly different solutions to the nation's obesity epidemic - for consumers and for the companies behind the drugs.
One, called Acomplia, would be a prescription pill to control appetite by blocking the same brain receptors that stimulate the "munchies" in marijuana smokers. Some financial analysts see Acomplia as the most promising new drug of the year, and they predict multibillion-dollar sales eventually for its maker, the French company Sanofi-Aventis.
The other, with the proposed name Alli, is a weight-loss drug that works by blocking the body's absorption of fat. Since 1999 it has been sold in the United States as the prescription medication Xenical. GlaxoSmithKline is proposing an over-the-counter version, a prescription-quality alternative to the diet remedies available in drugstore aisles and over the Internet.
Glaxo plans to draw on some of the same marketing techniques it used in 1996, when it successfully commercialized Nicorette chewing gum and Nicoderm skin patches, which had formerly been sold only by prescription. But the history of Xenical, which was introduced by Roche in the United States seven years ago to rosy Wall Street forecasts that never fully materialized, may be a cautionary tale for Sanofi and its Acomplia cheerleaders.
If approved, Acomplia and Alli would be the first new developments in weight-loss medicine since the late 1990's. An estimated 200 other possibilities are in the research pipeline as companies seek an elusive cure for obesity.* None of the others, however, is close to regulatory review.
Advocates for the obese and overweight, a group that now includes two-thirds of the American population, hope that the over-the-counter availability of Alli and the approval of Acomplia will provide new options, and suggest that the drugs might even be used together by patients who want help losing weight.
Original Story Here
*Nystrom's comment: The body is a delicate electro-chemical mechanism that always strives to maintain balance. When you introduce foreign matter - drugs - you upset that balance, and the result can be a number of unintended consequences. Instead of drugs, why not try eating less crap? A doctor in the doucmentary Supersize Me noted that we live in a toxic food environment. Walk into the grocery store, and you see toxins everywhere disguised as food: Cheetos, cookies, candy, breakfast ceral with sugar as the first or second ingredient, processed foods of all manner packed with chemicals, meats packed with hormones, produce covered in pesticides, milk, cola, sugar water posing as juice...The list goes on and on. The solution to Obesity is not a drug, it is 1) education and 2) self discipline.
You are what you eat. Start reading about your food:
Bitter Harvest, and Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World