FDA Panel Recommends Approval of New Weight Loss Drug

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Mary Fox, a nurse at Sparrow's Weight Management Center, has lost 100 pounds dieting and eating right. It took her three years to accomplish.

"I've done a zumba class. I tried a hula hoop class," she said.

She still hopes to lose another 50 pounds and a new weight loss drug may help her do it. If the FDA approves Contrave it'd become one of the few obesity drugs on the market. An expert panel wants to see more studies on the drug's heart risks, but still voted 13 to 7 in its favor, saying the benefits outweigh the risks. The FDA doesn't have to follow that advice and has taken heat before for approving diet drugs that wound up getting recalled because of safety issues.

"You want to do something to find something to help people to lose weight but you want to do it safely," said Kathy Kacynski, manager of the weight management center.

Kacynski says if the drug is approved she'd recommend it to her patients but only to complement diet and exercise.

"You can't just eat junk food and take this pill and think you're gonna lose weight and be healthy," she said.

Weight management patients work out in the exercise room using weights, bands and exercise balls. But nurses say these are things you can easily keep at home.

"Take a walk with your dog. Take your kids for a walk," Fox said.

The FDA's decision is due by January 31, and a yes nod would come just in time to help Americans lose the average 7 to 10 pounds they gain over the holidays.

"Especially in Michigan when we plan an event we plan the menu first," said Kacynski.


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