Diet pill failure shows how drugs fall short
There may come a time when a pill will help make you less fat.
But if you keep eating McCrap, no drug in the world will make you healthy -- and all you have to do is look at the results of an aborted drug experiment to see why.
The drug was called rimonabant, and it was supposed to help people lose weight AND stop smoking.
It never reached market here -- and was suspended shortly after being approved in Europe -- after patients in a clinical trial began killing themselves.
In industry-speak, that's known as a "setback."
But beyond that, the researchers also found that while the drug did help some patients lose weight -- those who didn't commit suicide, anyway -- it didn't actually prevent any of the problems associated with obesity.
In fact, the study of 18,695 patients found no difference between the drug and the placebo on cardiovascular risk. Researchers say 3.9 percent of those taking rimonabant suffered a heart attack or stroke, versus 4 percent of those on the placebo.
The study was cut short after 14 months, but researchers now say they wish they could see what would have happened if the study had gone 33 months as planned... and I can only assume they don't mean they wanted to see more suicides.
They seem to think that, over the longer term, patients who lost weight with rimonabant would have had fewer heart problems than those on the placebo.
The evidence is pretty clear, because it's been studied before. Last year, researchers found that dieters who lost weight with the drug Meridia actually had a HIGHER rate of cardiovascular problems than those on the placebo.
If it's not obvious to these people by now, it never will be. But the simple fact is you cannot and will not be healthy if you eat poorly, no matter what you weigh -- or what drugs you take to get there.
About the author
William Campbell Douglass I.I., M.D. has been called "the conscience of modern medicine."
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