DIET&FITNESS Published March18, 2015 By Staff Writer

Weight Loss Drugs Seek Nod From Patients, Physicians

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Years after safety issues have emerged on the use of anti-obesity drugs, FDA-approved Saxendra and other weight loss products are seeking the acceptance of patients and physicians as the solutions for obesity, Wall Street Journal reports.

The new improved and new generation weight loss drugs help combat obesity by suppressing the appetite and provide satiety to patients. Novo Nordisk A/S, the pharmaceutical company who manufactured Saxendra received a nod from the Food and Drug Administration last 2014 but the drug has not been issued in pharmacies yet.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that during the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and these rates remain high. More than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9%) and approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are considered obese.

Physicians often prescribe anti-obesity drugs for obese patients but with caution. Reports said medical experts, as well as patients are reluctant in taking these drugs, following previous reports of safety issues in other anti-obesity medicines.

The new generation drugs, that have been improved in terms of formulation and side effects, offer more options for obesity treatment. In FDA's report in approving Saxendra, the prescription label issues a warning that the drug has caused thyroid tumors on mice studies, and those who have history of medullary thyroid cancer should not take it.

Despite improvements in the drugs for weight loss, concerns about cardiovascular effects still linger following headlines allegedly showing the numerous side effects of weight-loss drugs.

"Healthcare practitioners are still a little wary of weight-loss medications because of this sort of checkered past," says Thomas Wadden, director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania told WSJ.

The FDA is requiring post-marketing safety studies for drugs including weight-loss drugs to see their actual results to be able to prevent serious complications and side effects. For anti-obesity drugs, FDA approved drugs for use in obese adults (Body mass index of at least 30).

Novo Nordisk spokesperson said that their product will hit the shelves mid-2015.

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