A ‘new’ way to drop some pounds — just don’t read the fine print
Would you rather be (fill in the blank) than fat?
Lots of surveys have asked that question, and the results may, or may not, surprise you.
We would rather be blind, in debt, poor and lose $1,000. But the most surprising one of all came from a group of kids.
They would rather lose an arm than be obese!
Now don’t think Big Pharma doesn’t know this. And it doesn’t mind taking full advantage of what everyone seems to want the most.
No matter what the consequences might be.
So, here’s my question: would you risk suicidal thoughts, seizures, high blood pressure, increased heart rate and palpitations in exchange for losing 9 pounds?
Because that’s what drug maker Orexigen is counting on.
The FDA just allowed a “new” diet pill on the market called Contrave. And it looks like Contrave was contrived to be about the most dangerous way to diet there could possibly be.
It’s made up of two very risky meds that we already know a lot about — as in about how dangerous they are.
One is bupropion. That’s the generic name for an antidepressant called Wellbutrin. The drug is also used as one of those mind-altering aids for those trying to stop smoking, but under another brand name.
And like other antidepressant and antismoking drugs, it can play havoc with your mind. Causing “suicidal thinking and behavior” is one way. It even has a black box warning for that, as well as for “serious neuropsychiatric events.”
Oh, and bupropion can also cause seizures.
The low-ball rate of people developing new seizure activity while on this drug is 1 in 250. With millions more now likely to be taking it, you don’t need a calculator to do the math here.
But let’s not stop there. Why go on a diet and only risk having seizures and violent, suicidal behavior?
Let’s throw in something called naltrexone. That’s used on its own to help people who are addicted to opioid drugs.
Aside from the black box warning on this drug about liver damage, it can also cause nausea, severe diarrhea and vomiting, confusion and hallucinations.
Sounds like a perfect recipe…for disaster.
Orexigen first submitted its application for this deadly twofer more than 4 years ago.
And the FDA turned it down — not once, but twice.
The agency was very worried. Not about seizures and suicides, but about the heart risk from Contrave.
It seems that it can cause an acute rise in blood pressure and a big increase in your heart rate.
But don’t think the FDA is blind to all these risks. It wants to know as much about them as possible.
…but just not now.
Maybe some years down the road. That’s after Orexigen has finished its post-marketing heart- risk study. After millions will be taking it.
And if you want to know the bottom line — that is how much weight people actually lost taking Contrave — here are the numbers from its trial.
For over a year 700 obese people did lots of exercise, ate very carefully, had professional counseling and took Contrave. And they dropped an average of 20 to 25 pounds each.
But there was another group in this trial. These people took a placebo, and were also put on the diet, exercise and counseling program.
And they lost 11 to 16 pounds.
So basically we’re talking about a 9-pound difference here.
And Orexigen is betting the bank that those 9 pounds will mean more than anything to you.
Even more than your health itself.
“FDA approves Contrave weight loss drug from Orexigen and Takeda” Larry Husten, September 10, 2014, Forbes, forbes.com