Friday, January 22, 2010

Why Wait - Isn't this another Vioxx?

Okay, before I get to the point of tonight's post, I have a story that regular readers of the blog might appreciate. I was at the gym doing my weight training, ( one of my friends was there and we were going back and forth talking and doing some exercises together) - when I was over by a weight rack by myself, a man came up and told me that I had this glow about me and such a pleasant attitude. He said it was uncommon to see and he just wanted to tell me. Of course I said thank you, then he asked, "Is it natural or pharmaceutical?" Too funny, I mean, look who he was asking- the anti drug crusader for goodness sakes, and THAT can be my segue.

Today the FDA applied restrictions to the weight loss drug Meridia. As you know, I blast weight loss drugs probably more than any other class of medicines. Merida is an appetite suppressant that is sold by prescription only and is in fact a scheduled drug or controlled substance because of fear of abuse. It acts in the central nervous system by blocking the re uptake of certain neurotransmitters. It also elevates heart rate and blood pressure and has been the subject of controversy for no less than eight years.

Public Citizen has had it on it's Do Not Use list since 2002 and states that the risks far outweigh the minimal benefit of trace weight loss. Guess what their website suggests one do as an alternative to taking the drug? Oh come on, you know this one: Lifestyle changes, diet, and exercise.

Now Meridia, just like Vioxx began with a cardiovascular risk profile. But today the FDA told prescribers not to use it with anyone who has a history of heart disease, specifically, ever having a stroke or heart attack, of having a diagnosis or history of congestive heart failure (regards the inability of the heart to pump sufficiently), of an irregular heart beat, of peripheral artery disease and of high blood pressure that is not kept in control with medicine.

This is history about to repeat itself, but not in Europe. Today they banned the drug based on the USAs FDA report. Crazy that they did and USA didn't.

I can tell you that I was on Vioxx and my blood pressure seemed to rise when I took it (hey doc, I can hear my heart beating in my ears when I workout) and my doc said, OH, that blood pressure warning is ONLY for people who already have heart disease. And then what? People without a history of heart disease died and the drug was YANKED off the market and multimillion dollar lawsuits followed.

SIGH.......... just madness......

More often than not, which is the opposite of what people think, but more often than NOT, pills are the wrong option............they almost always carry risk and we almost always don't know the extent of the risk until people start having heart attacks and such.

As I usually say, however, sometimes, the medicine is the RIGHT choice and you should always have a conversation with your health care provider before starting or stopping anything.

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