We may be entering a new era of "lifestyle drugs" aimed at tackling such things as: hair loss, aging skin, weight gain—all the lifestyle issues of the baby boomers. As a recent
Business Week article pointed out, "At a time when people lay out $20 or $30 a month on cable TV, it seems likely they’ll pay as much for a lifestyle drug."… "Hundreds of millions of dollars are being poured into efforts to discover safe and effective treatments for obesity, anxiety, memory loss, depression, incontinence, and arthritis."
However, there is no guarantee that the new drugs being developed will work long-term, and the FDA is likely to set high standards for approval. Questions remain as to how long studies must last and what amount of weight loss is optimal. Some FDA advisers want the drugs to also reduce the incidence of such obesity-related problems as diabetes or hypertension. And, because obesity isn’t directly life-threatening like AIDS or cancer, the risk of taking a drug over the long term is weighed carefully against the benefit of weight loss.
In 1997, bariatricians and other doctors were swamped with demand from their patients for prescription diet medications. The ranks of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) tripled to record levels and prescriptions for the two drugs approved for use, the "fen/phen" combination, skyrocketed. "Fen/phen" refers to the combination of: Fenfluramine, and Phentermine.
Phentermine is sold under 18 different brand names. The most commonly used are: Phentermine, Fastin, Pondimin, Adipex-P, and Ionamin. Others include: Anorexin, Bacarate, Bontril, Melfiat, Obenil, Plegine, Preludin, Pre-State, Sanorex, Statobex, Tenuate, Tepanil, Trimtabs, and Voranil.
Dexfenfluramine, (brand name Redux) made by Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Lexington, MA, already was available in 65 countries.
Finding a profitable drug will require some luck. Researchers believe obesity results from a number of genetic and environmental factors. The hope is that doctors will one day have a variety of drugs to customize treatment of overweight persons.
Many doctors believed ...