Obesity has become an epidemic of the modern world – a decrease in physical activity, improper diet and stress contribute to the ever-increasing number of people with a BMI over 30. WHO raises the alarm: the expected number of obese individuals in 2015 is said to be over 700 millions. For the first time over 10 years the FDA has approved a new slimming drug.
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of incidence of type II diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, hypercholesterolemia, and obstructive sleep apnea. Recent research conducted in Mexico, also indicates a clear link between obesity and an increased risk of cancer.
In order to reduce weight, obese patients often undergo a series of complex surgeries. There are two basic ways to lessen the calories intake: by reducing the amount of food delivered, and by diminishing the absorption in the intestine. Vertical gastric-plasty is a reversible method involving placing a band on the stomach and the implementation of a vertical suture with a “stapler”. It leads to a reduction in the amount of food which the patient is unable to ingest during one meal. Biliopancreatic diversion, apart from reducing food intake, reduces the absorption as well. The method is highly invasive as it involves the removal of two thirds of the stomach and also changing the course of intestines so as to shorten the time of digestion and thus absorption of calories. The result of all these operations is relatively rapid loss of weight. The price, however, is – the dangers of surgery, discomfort during healing and adaptation, changes in anatomy are just some of the problems faced by obese patients.
In the face of the severe consequences of overweigh, and the dangers and disadvantages associated with the surgeries, the scientists respond to the needs of obese patients, by putting to use newer slimming drugs. Medications to date generally have been associated with dangerous side effects. Fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine, popular before 1997 for instance led to the destruction of the heart valves by activating 2B serotonin receptors. The newly FDA-approved substance- lorcaserin hydrochloride is relatively safe for patients and effective in combating obesity.
Lorcaserin hydrochloride works by activating the 2C serotonin receptors in the brain, and helps to achieve the feeling of satiety after consuming less food. In a combination with a rational diet and moderate physical activity it stands a chance to change the lives of many patients with a BMI above 27. The results of research programs so far have been satisfactory: patients with type II diabetes, underwent a treatment for 52 to 100 weeks and reported 3-3,7% better results than the placebo group. Patients who did not suffer from diabetes, achieved the results better by 5% than the patients who received placebo. 47% of healthy patients lost 5% of weight, 38% of patients with type II diabetes could report a loss of weight of 5%.
According to the recommendations of the FDA the drug cannot be used during pregnancy, and should be carefully prescribed to patients with heart defects. The side effects of taking lorcaserin hydrochloride include dizziness, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, depression, migraine headaches and impaired concentration and memory. In patients with type II diabetes the most frequent side effects are hypoglycemia, headache and cough. The most disturbing side effect is without doubt the serotonin syndrome which is caused by the presence of excessive amounts of serotonin in the brain, leading to headaches, hallucinations, stupor, tachycardia, vomiting, convulsions and even death (23 confirmed deaths up to year 1999). To make sure that the new drug does not endanger the heart, echocardiographic studies have been performed on a group of 8000 patients, and did not detect any drug-related defects in the valves. Although the substance has been described as harmless to the heart, further six trials are planned to be conducted after the drug is accepted on the market.
3. High knowledge about obesity and its health risks with the exeption of cancer, among Mexican individuals; Journal of Cancer Education, Volume 27, Issue 2, June 2012, pp. 306-311; Soriano, Ruth; Ponce de Leon Rosales, Sergio; Garcia Rusia; Garcia-Garcia Eduardo; et all.
4. Predisposition to Obesity: Should we target those most susceptible?; Current Obesity Reports; Volume 1, Issue: 1, March 2012, pp. 35-41; Olsen, Nanna Julie; Mortensen Erik Lykke; Heitmann Berit, Lilienthal
Would You like to know more? Watch on MEDtube.net: Intragastric Balloon – The Treatment Of Obesity