Sunday, July 11, 2010

Weight Loss Pills: The Good The Bad and The Alli

The Good (or the promising)

Arena Pharmaceuticals has reached a deal with Japan’s Eisai Inc. possibly worth more than $1 billion to fund commercialization of a new weight loss drug that could be on the market by early next year. The drug, lorcaserin, has not yet been given a brand name but is one of a new wave of experimental obesity drugs that show promise.

Lorcaserin interacts with a receptor in the brain that is involved in appetite suppression, according to the San Diego-based pharmaceutical manufacturer. The company reports that in a late stage weight loss study of lorcaserin that included 6,000 patients, 47 percent of patients taking the drug lost at least five percent of their body weight, compared to only 23 percent in the group taking a placebo. A five percent weight loss is said to bring significant health benefits, according to many medical experts.

Finding a safe weight loss pill that will help people shed pounds has proven difficult, with many past drugs failing because of limited effectiveness or unpleasant side effects. The makers of lorcaserin say that the drug’s safety and tolerability are much better than other weight loss drugs.

Eisai reportedly will pay $50 million upfront for rights to sell lorcaserin in the U.S. Arena could also get as much as $160 million in payments for reaching development targets and getting the weight loss drug approved by regulators. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is already reviewing lorcaserin and is expected to reach a decision by late October.

The Bad

Weight loss pill QUE SHE is not an herbal weight loss pill! QUE SHE is available in retail herbal stores, and mostly people are buying these herbal weight loss products online. Though the company claims it as an herbal product, FDA has still found out traces of chemical compound which was banned by FDA ages ago.

Weight loss pills like QUE SHE are escaping FDA’s filter with an ‘herbal’ tag, but this time FDA was spot on finding the ‘not so herbal’ weight loss drug that’s playing with lives of people.

QUE SHE weight loss pill consists of chemical compound that drastically increases the heart risk. QUE SHE could even be fatal for people who are suffering from diseases like asthma.

FDA has asked people to immediately stop using this herbal weight loss product. If you are using it for quite a sometime, you better go to a doctor immediately.

Weight loss pills, especially herbal weight loss products can be tricky. If you are on a mission to lose weight, you better consult a doctor before using this sort of weight loss products.

The Alli

A new warning label for the diet and weight loss pills known as ‘Alli’ and ‘Xenical’ has been ordered by the United States Food and Drug Administration, (FDA), because in some cases, these pills can cause severe liver damage.

The pills, which are sold all over the United States, will have a warning label placed on the packaging about the risk. The weight loss pill ‘Alli’ is produced by ‘GlaxoSmithKline’, and is sold over the counter. ‘Xenical’, on the other hand, is sold as a prescription, and is manufactured by ‘Roche’.

The pills came under the scrutiny of the FDA when 13 different instances of liver damage were identified to be linked to the use of these drugs. The direct cause between the pills and the liver damage has yet to be identified. Aside from the new warning labels, the FDA is also urging doctors to watch patients which are using these drugs for signs of liver injury, which would include itching, yellow eyes and skin, and loss of appetite.

In statements released by the drug companies, Glaxo stated they are “committed to ensuring that consumers and physicians understand the safety profile” of Alli. They point out that over 10 million people have used this drug across the world, since it came out. Roche stated that the “safety profile of Xenical is based on more than 10 years of clinical experience and more than 36 million patients worldwide have received Xenical.” Both of these drugs were first approved by the FDA in 1999 for Xenical, and 2007 for Alli.