Fighting Fat: Update on New Obesity Drugs

First, I just want to let you know that the article on Hawaii’s health care system that I discussed in my last entry can be found on the front page of the printed version of the New York Times for Saturday October 17, 2009.  Read it, particularly if you have gotten depressed about the possibilities for health care reform.  There is hope.  Second, I wanted to let you know about another noteworthy article in the same New York Times issue.  The article is entitled ” Medicine’s Elusive Goal” and was written by Andrew Pollock.

The article summarizes the latest information about medications for treating patients with obesity, focusing on 3  promising new drugs.  If any of you have read my past entries about obesity, you would know that I am not Mr. enthusiasm about using drugs to treat obesity.  First, none to date have been shown to be very effective in the long run (e.g, after 5 years) and I am very concerned about side effects that may develop- remember fenfen.  Anyway, the article is quite well done (as are all of the previous pieces from Mr. Pollock that I have read) and I recommend it to you.

I just urge you as a health care provide or, perhaps as a person with a “weight problem” to remember that being significantly overweight is not good for one’s health and that it’s still all about calories in vs. calories burned up.  The potential benefits  of the various treatments for obesity, current and future must be weighed against the treatment risks, known AND unknown.  That’s not very easy math.

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