Why I’m against obesity drugs

Obesity drug hype is finally subsiding, according to buzz metrics I follow, but too many in the media have failed to address critical issues of weight loss drugs. From my research HCPs are finally starting to ask hard questions about the use of these drugs.

The media hype around the new “obesity drugs” has been staggering, but they’re not addressing the questions that have to be answered.

Among the questions that we need answers to:

1ne: What does long-term use of drugs do to our bodies?

2wo: How do we address the root causes of obesity?

Long-term use will be determined by patients who use the drug for months via feedback to the FDA or their doctors. That still leaves the root causes of obesity, which, according to the CDC, are lack of exercise and eating the wrong foods.

Another issue that is not being talked about much is patient behavior. We are a society of instant gratification, and if we can lose weight by taking a pill or injection, we will do it because an Rx can remedy bad health behavior.

I ride my bike 100 miles a week or use an elliptical machine to get exercise. I started a walking club in our development that covers a few miles daily. I have noticed that riding my bike or walking makes me feel better and more energized.

There is no one magic behavior modification that’s going. to get people to lose weight. Unfortunately HCPs need to try and determine what behavior is leading to obesity. We do know that obesity increases the risks for several types of cancers and other health conditions.

Then there is the pharma profit motive. Research suggests that the pharma companies marketing these drugs could make billions from people who want to lose weight rather than diabetics who need to lower their A1C.

Finally, there are stories of people who have had food cravings after discontinuing one of the drugs. Some even gained more weight after stopping the drugs than before starting them.

Every PCP should be required to inform patients they are obese and warn them about possible circumstances. Insurers should work with obese customers to suggest ways to lose weight and form relationships with health clubs to offer discounts.

The cure for what ails us can’t necessarily be found in an Rx.