February 24, 2012 by staff
Weight-loss Pills, The battle of the bulge has been a big, fat failure for U.S. drugmakers. But that hasn’t stopped them from trying. For nearly a century, scientists have struggled to make a diet pill that helps people lose weight without side effects that range from embarrassing digestive issues to dangerous heart problems.
But this week, federal health advisers endorsed the weight loss pill Qnexa even though the FDA previously rejected it over concerns that it can cause heart palpitations and birth defects if taken by pregnant women.
The vote of confidence raises hopes that the U.S. could approve its first anti-obesity drug in more than a decade. It also highlights how challenging it is to create a pill that fights fat in a variety of people without negative side effects.
“Having a drug for obesity would be like telling me you had a drug for the fever,” said Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of bariatric surgery at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York. “There can be millions of different reasons why someone is obese; it’s really a symptom of various underlying mechanisms.”
An effective and safe diet pill would be an easy sale in the U.S.: With more than 75 million obese adults, the nation’s obesity rate is nearing 35 percent. But the biggest challenge in creating a weight-loss drug is that there doesn’t appear to be a safe way to turn off one of the human body’s most fundamental directives.
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