Why taking weight-loss drug Qnexa is a terrible idea

Struggling with your weight can be a terrible thing for many people. Statistics today show that more than 35% of American adults are obese, including 5% who are morbidly obese, and 33% more of us are overweight. The FDA may be hoping to solve that problem with a new prescription weight loss drug.

Although the final decision won't be made until the end of the year, a panel of medical experts voted overwhelmingly to endorse the weight loss drug Qnexa. That might sound like good news to those who have issues losing weight, like I once did, but there are some serious side effects to consider..

Is the Food and Drug Administration seriously going to approve a pill that can do more harm than good? I hope not.


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I know there's a lot of risks that come with being overweight, especially for us Latinos who tend to suffer from diabetes and other weight-related illnesses at higher rates. Not only does that cause issues for our waistlines but it can also cause heart disease, particularly earlier on in life. But the risks that come with this new weight loss drug may be much worse.

While the trials showed an average loss of about 10% of total body weight in the first year of use, they also found that the drug caused a slight increase in heart rate (which can lead to heart attack or stroke) and researchers detected an increased risk of birth defects in women who became pregnant while taking the drug.

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The company that manufactures the drug, Vivus Inc., has promised the FDA that they will address those potential problems by keeping an eye on those that are prescribed this pill. But is that really going to be enough?

When I briefly experimented with weight loss pills in college, the increased heart rate scared me and made me quit in just a little over a month. That's frightening enough, but with the possibility of birth defects--I just don't know how the FDA could approve a weight loss drug that can do so much harm

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I know from personal experience that losing weight when you're obese--like I was before ultimately deciding to get a gastric bypass--is not easy. But if the FDA is looking for a miracle drug to solve the obesity epidemic, they need to look somewhere else. The potential risks of Qnexa seem far too great.

Would you consider taking the weight-loss drug Qnexa despite the possible side effects?

Image via colros/flickr, CBSNews

Topics: diseases  overweight  latino health  health care  womens health  weight loss