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Are Weight Loss Drugs the Answer?

Losing weight: a battle against yourself

A recent study by the United Nation has shown that the United Kingdom has the highest level of obesity in Wesern Europe, with about a quarter of its adult population being obese. This is a morbid condition that worsens people's lifestyle and health and it even leads to preventable death.

The traditional -and by now, best- way to tackle obesity is a combination of excersise and a correct diet. However, for one reason or another, most people find it really difficult to stick to these two instructions. The bad eating habits that are spread in our culture and the sedentary lifestyle of most men and women are a direct threat to our health. Many people are trying to find a way out of obesity through the help of weight loss pills.

This situation creates a great niche for weight loss drugs to be massively comercialized by many laboratories. People are likely to take these drugs even without medical consultation, which could lead them to nasy side-effects and even death. This is why these drugs must be regulated by the public body, which is in charge of protecting the People's interest. It is known by doctors and pharmacists that weight loss pills act through hacking the brain's circuits, therefore they have great potential for side-effects, especially centered in neurological functions.

Licensed and unlicensed drugs

There is a tight control over weight loss drugs as well as a lot of scientific research meant to figure out the actual effects of weight loss drugs. Some substances that are currently on a research stage could be approved in the future for prescription on human beings, while others fail to prove themselves to be suitable for human use. Even if some drugs have an actual possitive effect on weight loss, their side effects can be so terrible that they are not licensed for comercialization and remain ilegal.

The NHS website has published the results of a research on several weight loss drugs on mice. In this NHS obesity story, it is stated that the scientists found several drugs to be effective as weight loss agents because they affect a certain neural nucleus in the brain that regulates the apetite. Mice have been reported to eat less and feel less hunger after a dose of the drugs tested.

It is interesting, however, to notice that none of the drugs used for the test have been approved for human use in the United Kingdom. Two of the three drugs are actually unlicensed in the whole world. In other words, they have not been accepted as proper medication for people. 

One of the drugs used was Sibutramine, a chemical substance that modifies the neurochemistry of the brain in a certain area that regulates apetite. This drug was once availiable for clinical use but it was withdrawn due to side effects such as addiction, hearth problems and strokes, neurological syndomes and pregnancy complications.

The only approved drug used in the research was lorcaserin (commercial name: Belviq), which is unauthorized in the United Kingdom nontheless. This drug was actually applied for authorization of the Comitee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, and later this application was withdrawn. The reason was that the applying company stated that they wouldn't be able to answer certain questions concerning the potential side-effects of this medicine, incluiding tumours, heart problems and psychiatric disorders.

A pill doesn't change you

Taking weight loss drugs in the long term is dangerous in most cases. Patients are usually entitled to take these pills for a limited amount of time until they reach a healthy weight. However, experience shows that obesity is due to many causes, most of them behavioral and even psychological, that can not be fixed by a pill. Most patients go back to their bad habits once they are done with pills and regain all lost weight. The only way to keep a healthy body is to change their habits forever. In other words, attack the root of the problem.

There are currently some medications availiable that are meant to reduce appetite and can be taken for a longer while. In example, Liraglutide is an injectable drug that is currently in pre-registration stage under the commercial name of Victoza. This is an expensive medication that people may take in order to mantain their weight loss. Some private medicine portals such as Private Doctor Direct already have this drug in their prescription lists, so it can be purchased. Remember that you must always ask a doctor before taking any medication in order to be aware of possible side-effects and interactions with other drugs and substances.



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