Written by Neill Abayon
As I promised in my last post, Today I will discuss the effects of antiobesity drugs in our health. You must be aware of this before anything might happen to you or to your friends.
The Food and Drug ADministration (FDA) approved a new antiobesity drug called Xenical, also known as orlistat. It works in the stomach by inhibiting the action of gastric and intestinal lipases. These enzymes break down fat into smaller components for absorption. When one 120-milligram capsule is taken with a meal that derives no more than 20 percent of its calories from fat, Xenical blocks the absorption of roughly 30 percent of ingested fat.
But beware. There are side effects. Symptoms may include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, urgency to defecate, oily formed stools, and increased number of bowel movements. And Xenical is not recommended for patients with malabsorption syndromes
or gallbladder disease, pregnant women, new mothers who are breastfeeding, or anyone who has allergies. Quite a downside isn't it? Because Xenical decreases the absorption of some fat-soluble
vitamins, it is recommended that vitamins D,E,K, and betacarotene be replaced two hours before or after taking the drug. Patients should decrease their fat intake to no more than 30 percent of ingested callories. The average reported weight loss after one year of using Xenical is 13.4 pounds. And don't ever use this without the supervision of a competent health-care professionals.
There are other antiobesity drugs that are called appetite suppressants. They promote weight loss by addecting chemicals in the brain to decrease appetite and give a sensation of being full.
In 1997 the FDA removed two popular appetite suppressants from the maket, fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine. The combination of the drugs with another appetite suppressant drugs, phentermine, caused valvular heart disease and life-threatening pulmonary hypertension - a disease of the blood vessels of the heart and lungs. Phentermine ("phen") is still in use today. Many brave souls are using it with Xenical in a new combination nicknamed "Xen-Phen". However you should be concerned about the safety of this new combination therapy, since it has not been recommended by the FDA.
Like other antiobesity drugs, appetite suppressants have side effects that range from dry mouth, headache, constipation, and insomnia to increased blood pressure.
There is a little information on the long-term effectiveness of antiobesity drugs. Most studies show that the majority of people who stop taking the drugs regain weight. The success of the drugs depends largely on a change in lifestlye, which suggests that in most cases the drugs may not be necessary. These drugs are not a substitute for a healthy lifestlye. The time-honored management of obesity requires dietary reform, regular exercise, and behavior modification.