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Do Weight Loss Meds Make a Difference?

In the last 8 years or so, there have been 4 new “weight loss meds” approved by the FDA:  Saxenda, Contrave, Belviq and Qsymia.  Two of these medications (Contrave and Qsymia) are actually combination drugs using two older medications.

So, the question:  Has the obesity epidemic taken a U-turn and become much less since these medications have hot the market?  To the contrary, the obesity rate has worsened over these past 8 years and now, for the first time, has eclipsed 40% of our country (BMI 30 or greater). The overweight rate (BMI 25-30) is now 70%.

Clearly, “drugs” developed by major pharmaceutical companies, that cost hundreds of millions if not billions to develop have done NOTHING to reverse and not even stop our nation’s most perilous health problem.  Obesity related co-morbidities are estimated to kill close to 400,000 Americans a year.  Yes, you read this correctly: 400,000.  To date, there have been 2 reported deaths in the U.S. due to the Corona virus.  Where are the headlines about this?

The point:  “Pills” will NOT lead to long-term weight control, no matter how “studied” those pills are.  You really do not see any commercials anymore paid for by the pharm companies for these meds because their performance from a business standpoint has been very poor.  The reason?  Doctors don’t often write these for their patients because their experience shows they simply do not work.

Weight control requires support and accountability.  If I could put those two in a pill I would have the most amazing “weight loss” product ever.  People need to be in some sort of program that provides guidance, empathy, support and accountability.  Pills, in a vacuum, will not do much at all.  

Medications and supplements should be viewed as an adjunct to a robust program.  There, they can make a difference.

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