In a highly-questionable move, an FDA panel voted yesterday to recommend approval of Qnexa–a weight-loss drug with some pretty serious side-effects and risks. It’s yet another pill for our pill-popping society who is always looking for a quick and easy fix when it comes weight loss–even if it means risking their health for it. Plus, this one can easily set someone up for failure.
Not only did the FDA panel vote 20-2 for the Qnexa’s approval, but they say that the drug’s ability to help patients lost lose 10% of their body weight is more important than the risks that come with it. This includes heart problems, memory loss, depression and birth defects like an increased risk of having a baby with a cleft palate even if women stop the drug before they get pregnant.
Consumer advocacy groups agree that the drug is risky. In a press release, they stated that Qnexa:
…causes increased heart rate and may lead to severe cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and arrhythmias, as well as birth defects, kidney stones, decreased bone mineral density and memory impairment.
But not everyone agrees–or cares about the potential dangers here.
Obesity researcher, Dr. Arya Sharma said:
Back in medical school, I was taught that when the risk of not treating the condition exceeds the risk of treating it, we should treat. We have an obligation to change how we measure obesity. Qnexa addresses an urgent and substantial unmet medical need for our patients.
Somehow, that’s not really comforting. Seems to me that we’re trading one problem for another one. And, we’re still not teaching people how to take responsibility for their bodies if giving pills is the answer for obesity. As anyone who has lost weight knows, there is no easy fix. It takes a lot of hard work and a total restructuring of their lifestyle. Giving people a pill to do this is just setting them up for failure.