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Dr. Binks Blog

Response to Forbes Article Disparaging Obesity Drugs

Posted on April 23, 2012 by admin

A recent blog at Forbes.com equated all current and future FDA approved obesity drugs with several fad diets (see “5 Deadliest Diet Trends” link below) My response posted on the site follows:

For a writer who claims in her bio that ‘extensively researching everything’ is among your primary qualifications for doing what you do you seem very poorly informed about the serious medical condition obesity; the need for safe and effective medical interventions for obesity; and also about the process of risk-benefit analysis in drug development. All drugs have side effects, some are quite severe, but the role of scientists and the FDA is to evaluate these relative risks against potential benefits following many years of extensive and reputable scientific testing. In case you didn’t realize this, the people who need these medicines are not simply concerned about fitting into their wedding dress as you imply by equating these drugs with a variety of trendy fad diets. What they need is a real and effective medical intervention to augment their serious efforts at lifestyle change (nutrition and exercise). Why are these drugs needed? First, weight loss is often an uphill metabolic battle for many, with very little margin for error in achieving that appropriate 1-2 pound per week goal you mention. Additionally, people die from obesity related comorbidities; they suffer with multiple medical complications associated with excess weight; they experience significantly reduced quality of life and in some cases battle emotional difficulties and discrimination as a result of excess weight. It is most disturbing that in the eyes of some who comment on this topic in the media, a tone is taken that gives the appearance that these people do not deserve access to safe and effective FDA approved medications. If folks like you insist on sensationalizing side effects (and not the benefits) for obesity drugs beyond the same scrutiny you might give to other medications we will rob many of much needed medical assistance to manage weight. I have to wonder if you would write a similar column touting the dangers of a commonly used non-prescription medication like Ibuprofen which is often taken without a second thought, for non-life threatening conditions:

Anxiety; constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; indigestion; infection; nausea; nervousness; sleeplessness; stomach pain; swelling; tiredness; upset stomach; vomiting; weakness. gastrointestinal ulceration/bleeding, raised liver enzymes, esophageal ulceration, heart failure, hyperkalemia, renal impairment, severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black, tarry, or bloody stools; blurred vision or other eye problems; chest pain; dark urine; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever; flu-like symptoms; increased or decreased urination; irregular or difficult breathing; mental or mood changes; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; severe or persistent dizziness; severe or persistent nausea or stomach pain; shortness of breath; slurred speech; stiff neck; swelling of the arms or legs; unusual tiredness or weakness; unusual weight gain; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; yellowing of the skin or eyes (not a complete listing).

To view original Forbes article http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2012/04/19/5-deadliest-diet-trends/#comment-241


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