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Meridia: This Weight Loss Drug Yanked from Market

October 30, 2010 | 35,606 views

pills on a spoonAbbott Laboratories is taking its weight loss drug Meridia (sibutramine) off the market, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The company voluntarily withdrew the drug in the wake of findings showing an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in people who used the drug. Meridia is taken by about 8 million people worldwide.

According to Paging Dr. Gupta:

"Approved in 1997 for weight loss, the original data on the drug showed that people who took Meridia lost at least 5 percent more of their body weight ...

The FDA requested the company withdraw the drug after reviewing data from a follow-up study known as the Sibutramine Cardiovascular Outcomes Trial (SCOUT ). It showed there was a 16 percent increase in the risk of serious heart events."

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Meridia has shown danger signs since it was approved in 1997 and now more than a decade later will finally be taken off the market. This is yet another example of an "FDA-approved" medication that was causing far more harm to Americans than good … and another reason to seriously reconsider taking drugs for weight loss.

Warning Signs for Meridia Were There from the Start

Meridia's heart risks were known from the beginning; when it was approved it carried a warning on its label stating that the drug should not be used in people with a history of heart disease, heart failure, heart-rhythm problems or stroke.

The drug, which suppresses your appetite by altering levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine, is also widely known to raise blood pressure and heart rate, and an FDA advisory panel recommended against its approval in 1996 for this very reason.

Public Citizen later petitioned the FDA to ban the drug in 2002, alleging that it was responsible for causing dozens of deaths and hundreds of adverse patient reactions since it came to market.

In 2005, the FDA again considered placing stricter warnings on the drug, and in January 2010 finally asked Abbott, the drug's maker, to strengthen the warning following review of preliminary data from the SCOUT study.

The SCOUT study, which ultimately led the FDA to request the drug be removed from the market entirely, found a 28 percent increased risk of heart attack and a 36 percent increased risk of stroke in patients taking Meridia compared to placebo.

Those are steep risks for a drug that only leads to an average weight loss of 9.5 pounds a year -- hardly worth risking a fatal heart attack or stroke over.

What are You Willing to Risk to Lose Weight?

Obesity carries with it serious health risks, including cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and with rates increasing steadily it is a condition that needs to be taken seriously.

However, risking your life to lose less than 10 pounds is not a risk that any rational person should take.

Weight gain is obviously influenced by many factors, but the two that everyone keeps coming back to -- diet and exercise -- are still the primary ones you should keep in your mind. Combine a healthy diet with exercise -- and be sure you are addressing the emotional component of food, eating and weight gain -- and most people WILL lose weight.

Specifically, this includes:

  1. Tailoring your diet to your nutritional type.
  2. Viewing exercise as a drug and incorporating a variety of exercise types, including Peak Fitness, which can dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities in a fraction of the time.
  3. Letting go of your emotional blocks to overcome emotional eating and food cravings.

It would be wonderful if there were a "quick-fix" solution to obesity, but there is not. And any pill or surgery that claims to offer you one will not only be ineffective but may put your health in jeopardy.

Mark my words; Meridia will not be the last weight loss drug to be pulled from the market over health concerns. Already, it's been revealed that the over-the-counter weight loss drug Alli may increase cancer risks like its prescription cousin Xenical, again with only modest weight loss benefits, but both are still currently on the market.

You CAN Lose Weight Without Drugs

There is no magic pill for weight loss, but when you start paying close attention to what you're eating drastic beneficial changes can take place rather quickly. You will want to pay very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down, primarily by avoiding fructose as much as possible.

Keep in mind, too, that even if you were to take a drug for weight loss, they all still require that you make dietary and exercise changes. The pill will be useless without them!

Even weight loss surgeries have these requirements, as many centers will require that you exercise after the surgery, and prior to the surgery that you stop smoking, drinking soda and eating fast food. Many will even require you to lose weight prior to the surgery!

The Right Type of Exercise is the KEY

It is also simply impossible to optimize your health and weight without regular exercise, and as I said above you can dramatically reduce your workout time and maximize your weight loss by using Peak Fitness.

The beautiful aspect of Peak Fitness is that it takes a FRACTION of the time your normal cardio program does. It is only 20 minutes. What has been amazing me is that since I introduced this approach in May I have had no less than 10 people either tell me personally at lectures I give, or write on the website, that using the program has caused them to lose 30 pounds or more.

The really odd factor here is that I NEVER promoted it for weight loss, just health.

The other surprising element is that I have been recommending people exercise for decades, but the exercises were primarily based on flawed aerobic cardio principles. In those years I don't recall anyone ever tell me directly that they had used an exercise program I recommended to lose large amounts of weight in a short period of time.

The Sprint 8 program truly is extraordinary. Not only will it help you lose fat but it will also help you gain muscle by increasing your growth hormone levels.

Yes it is hard and requires mental tenacity to get through the 20 minutes, but the results are more than worth it -- and you will really feel great about what you did.

So there is really no way around it if you are serious about losing weight -- diet and exercise are key. The good news is, though, that when you address weight loss through a healthy lifestyle the only "side effects" you'll have to worry about are good ones, like increased energy, better sleep and a boost to your self-esteem … no heart attacks, no strokes and no other atrocious risks required.


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