Another Obesity Drug—Just What We Need

As if we could solve the obesity epidemic with a pill.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a prescription drug for obesity, called Contrave, made up of two drugs already on the market. The first drug, bupropion (marketed as Wellbutrin), is an antidepressant that is also used to help people quit smoking, and the second drug, naltrexone, is used to help people with alcohol and opioid drug dependence.

Contrave is for people who are obese or who are overweight and have other related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes. While the medication has been found to help obese people, as well as people with type 2 diabetes, lose weight, I wonder about the side effects of such medications. Indeed, a boxed warning about the risk of suicidal thoughts will appear on the label, as it is a warning that comes with bupropion.

Other obesity drugs exist, but they have not gained popularity, in part because they are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Experts say that another reason the drugs have not been popular is because many people do not think of obesity as a disease to be treated by medication. I have to say that I agree.

I know that weight loss is no easy feat, but I also know that relying on a pill to make it go away will work about as good as many medications do. This is only a band-aid treatment for a deeper wound. Getting to the root cause of obesity is where the real solution is. That’s why I wrote my new book, The Skinny Gut Diet.

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