Thoughts? Suggestions? Tell us what you think.
Drugs: At the pharmacy
The weight-loss drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
for the treatment of obesity are designed to decrease the number of calories
people take in. Here is a sampling of some of the drugs*:
*Research centers are currently testing the two newest weight-loss
medications, sibutramine and orlistat, in combination.
(was widely prescribed in the 'phen-fen' combination)
|Brand names:||Fastin, Adipex-P, Ionamin, others||Meridia||Xenical|
|How it works:||Increases availability of brain chemical norepinephrine; inhibits appetite||Increases availability of brain chemicals norepinephrine and serotonin;
inhibits appetite||Inhibits the digestive enzyme pancreatic lipase, reducing absorption
of fat by the intestine|
Drugs: In the lab
Leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells and proposed to suppress appetite.
Leptin is currently undergoing tests in obese people.
Compounds that burn energy to produce heat; for example, drugs that would
stimulate body molecules known as uncoupling proteins, or the beta-3 adrenergic
receptor. In theory, these compounds would burn extra calories without
Substances that would affect brain molecules known to influence food intake
in animals. These include potential drugs that would dampen the effect
of NPY, which promotes food intake. Other† potential drugs would stimulate
a brain chemical called MC4-R, which would decrease food intake.
Pharmaceutical companies are also testing and developing other compounds
as possible weight-loss medications. Here is a list of some of those compounds:
If new weight-loss medications are discovered, many doctors believe
that combining medications that work in different ways will be more effective
than giving a single drug.
Surgery: A last resort
|Vertically banded gastroplasty creates a small stomach
pouch. Another procedure that restricts stomach size, laparoscopic gastric
banding, is being tested by the FDA.
|The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass involves first creating
a small stomach pouch. Then the small intestine is cut and reattached to
the pouch so food bypasses the first portion of the small intestine.|
The National Institutes of Health recommends surgeries for weight loss
in certain severely obese patients who havenít responded to less-invasive
treatments. People with a body mass index (BMI) over 40 (see chart on page
3F), or people with a BMI over 35 with medical complications, are considered
candidates for surgeries.
Two commonly used procedures are the vertically banded gastroplasty
and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Both operations are thought to promote
weight loss by limiting how much the stomach can hold, and by delaying
the emptying of the food into the intestine. Bypass surgery is also thought
to decrease the amount of calories absorbed by the intestine.