For the first time in 13 years, the Food and Drug Administration has put diet pills back on the market. Will you take them?
If your doctor could offer a prescription pill to help you lose weight, would you take it?
As more than a third of US adults struggle with obesity, a pill may seem like an easy answer, but weight loss drugs have had a sketchy track record over the past two decades. Ever since “fen phen” and Meridia were taken off the market after dangerous heart-related side effects were widely reported, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been extremely cautious when assessing new diet drugs. In fact, no new weight loss medications have been approved by the FDA for 13 years, until this summer when the agency gave the green light to two new drugs.
Qsymia and Belviq, as the medications are branded, aim to put a dent in America’s obesity epidemic. Both are targeted specifically at obese adults – those with a body mass index over 30 (check your BMI here).
When combined with diet and exercise, the new drugs promise “modest” weight loss (about 5-10% of body mass in a year), and they may aid the fight against weight-related illnesses, such as diabetes, too. Overall, they’re intended to control cravings and stave off the body’s “starvation response” to weight loss. But the pills also carry possible side effects that range from interference with other medications to birth defects.
As part of the people’s panel, we want to know how you feel about weight loss drugs. Is their return on the market a good thing? Have you ever used them? What was it like? If you haven’t, would you consider taking Belviq or Meridia? Or do you worry too much about the side effects.