Empty Promises

Fast Relief from Excess Weight!

Lose Weight Three Times FasterFast and easy is not an option for obesity care, unfortunately. Smart and reasonably effective options exist, but this is a chronic disease. Nobody can snap their fingers and make it go away. That’s probably why Vivus recently found itself in trouble with FDA for claiming three times faster weight loss with Qsymia.

FDA Warning Letter for Misleading Claims

By making claims on its website for fast weight loss, the marketers of Qsymia earned themselves a rare warning letter from FDA. Under the current administration, FDA isn’t issuing many of these warnings. But this was too much for FDA to ignore. The letter said:

The webpage is especially concerning from a public health perspective because it creates a misleading impression regarding the overall effect a patient may expect as a result of Qsymia treatment and deemphasizes the risks associated with taking the drug.

It’s worth noting that Qsymia and other anti-obesity meds aren’t for weight loss. Rather, their indication is for weight management. In other words, the point of using one of these drugs is to manage the chronic disease of obesity. Not dropping a few pounds fast.

The Difference Between Obesity Care and Weight Loss

Lots of people are desperate to lose weight. Few of them, though, understand that obesity is a chronic disease driven more by physiology than by willful choices. They think, if I can just lose this extra weight, I’ll be on my guard and not let it come back this time.

But that’s not how your body works. Just as it controls how much you breathe, how hard your heart pumps, and your body temperature, your body regulates how much energy your body stores as fat. You need it to survive. So weight loss is easy compared to weight maintenance. That’s because your body has many ways to recover the weight you’ve lost.

Obesity is the chronic disease that results when your body tries to store too much fat for good health. Qsymia and other anti-obesity medicines are intended to help with maintaining a healthier level of fat. Because this is a chronic disease, simply losing weight doesn’t fix it. You have to manage it for the long term with diet, exercise, meds, and surgery to keep your fat stores at the healthier levels.

Stigma and Desperation

However, stigma and desperation get in the way. Most people with obesity really don’t like that word because the condition carries so much stigma. People think of it more like an identity – “being obese” – than a health condition. So rather than deal with obesity itself, people seek ways to lose weight. They buy into scams. They try ridiculous diets. They may start to believe all the nastiness directed at them and internalize the stigma.

But the fact is that physiology, not character, is the problem behind obesity. The solution is not fast weight loss. The real solution is competent medical care for a chronic disease. The first step in dealing with obesity is wrapping your head around that fact.

And that’s why Vivus made a stupid mistake by advertising its anti-obesity drug for fast weight loss. It’s a good drug. But it’s for weight management in obesity. Not for losing weight fast.

Click here for a copy of the warning letter, here for the offending material website, and here for more on the dust-up with FDA. For background on the consensus that FDA should focus on obesity and not weight loss, click here.

Empty Promises, photograph © callmekato / flickr

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June 1, 2019

One Response to “Fast Relief from Excess Weight!”

  1. June 01, 2019 at 2:13 pm, Angie Golden said:

    Thank you for notifying us of this. My favorite part of this is the acknowledgment that weight loss is NOT the same as obesity care. Some of us feel like a lone voice saying those words, thanks to you. Not anymore.