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FDA Helping Drug Makers Get Rejected Weight Loss Pills to Market?

The fight against obesity is not only a critical health issue in the U.S. Obese people also represent a major market for pharmaceutical companies to exploit through developing and marketing weight loss drugs. Many of these drugs are rejected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) each year because of safety concerns with often poorly tested and dangerous side effects. However, some of these questionable weight loss aids are returning to market, threatening to harm patients who are prescribed the drugs to aid them in weight loss.

Obesity a Major Concern

People with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more are considered obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 35 percent of adults in the U.S. today are obese. This equates to over 70 million people. Obesity tends to increase the development of certain medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stroke. Obesity is so widespread and hazardous to people's health that getting new weight loss drugs to market is a high priority for the FDA, but at what costs?

Weight Loss Drug Dangers

The FDA reviews new pharmaceutical products for effectiveness and quality. It rejects drugs when their safety risks outweigh the health benefits. The FDA has been strict with certain drugs, like weight loss pills, when there is an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. The FDA has rejected multiple diet pills in the last year, including Abbott Laboratories' Meridia and Contrave, made by Orexigen Therapeutics Inc., because of their heart-related side effects. With the FDA's help, however, one of these potentially dangerous weight loss drugs may still make it to market in the near future.

Questionable Drugs Return to Market

After working with the FDA, patient advocates and lawmakers, Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. recently announced a reattempt to bring Contrave to market by 2014. While the company still has to perform a cardiovascular study on the effectiveness of the drug, which mixes antidepressant and anti-addiction medications to encourage weight loss, it could become the first new prescription diet aid sold in the U.S. in years. The FDA is also reconsidering approving Qnexa, another weight loss pill made by Vivus that it previously rejected, if it is marketed specifically to men and women who cannot have children.

Preventing Harm to Obese Patients

Because there are so few weight loss drugs available for prescription or recommendation by medical professionals, the FDA seems to be more open to giving spurned diet pills a second chance. However, the FDA must balance the obvious public need and demand for weight loss drugs to combat obesity by requiring more diligent and careful studies on their hazardous side effects on patients. The FDA should also continue encouraging both doctors and patients to be wary of over-prescribing or improperly using diet pills and to incorporate more traditional methods of losing weight like portion control and increased exercise.

If you or your loved was recently prescribed a weight loss drug, or if one is prescribed in the future, and serious side effects develop in relation to taking the diet pills, contact an attorney experienced in drug litigation matters immediately. You may be able to recover compensation for injuries sustained as a result of taking a dangerous prescription drug.

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