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Weight loss drug pulled from market
October 8th, 2010
12:22 PM ET

Weight loss drug pulled from market

Abbott Laboratories has agreed to take its obesity drug Meridia (sibutramine) off the market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday.

The company voluntarily withdrew the drug because clinical trial studies showed there was an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in people who used the drug.

Approximately 8 million people worldwide take the drug, the FDA said, including 100,000 Americans.

The drug had projected sales of $30 million in the U.S. in 2010, Abbott said.

"Meridia's continued availability is not justified when you compare the very modest weight loss that people achieve on this drug to their risk of heart attack or stroke,"  Dr. John Jenkins, M.D., director of the Office of New Drugs in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a conference call Friday. "Physicians are advised to stop prescribing Meridia to their patients and patients should stop taking this medication. Patients should talk to their health care provider about alternative weight loss and weight loss maintenance programs."

Approved in 1997 for weight loss, the original data on the drug showed that people who took Meridia lost at least 5 percent more of their body weight than people who were on a placebo and relied on diet and exercise alone.

The FDA requested the company withdraw the drug, after reviewing data from a follow-up study known as the Sibutramine Cardiovascular Outcomes Trial (SCOUT ). It showed there was a 16 percent increase in the risk of serious heart events, including non-fatal heart attack, non-fatal stroke, and death, in a group of patients given Meridia as opposed to others given a placebo.

"In all its investigation of the drug, the FDA could find not one person whose benefit from the drug outweighed its risk," said Dr. Gerald Dal Pan, director of the Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.


soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. jam108

    Another black eye for profiteering drug companies. Our drug approval system sucks. Oh, I've got an idea. Let's puts the republicans back in charge, so drug companies can be even more unscrupulous, rush drugs to the market faster, and pay less taxes on their blood money profits. What a great idea.

    October 8, 2010 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Todd

      Technically, that method actually did work for the early drug trials for HIV. Of course, HIV was killing people by the 10s of thousands with no other treatment.

      If you are overweight, you could always just diet and exercise. And leave the cap on the pill bottle.

      October 8, 2010 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • J

      Maybe something would get done at least. The Dems have really made our country great these last couple yrs. What a joke. Oh yes the recession has been over for more then a yr I forgot that. Go Dems...

      October 8, 2010 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
    • jam108

      Hey, J, I've got an idea. Because the Dems haven't been able to dig us out of the massive black whole created by 8 years Republican leadership, let's vote the Republicans back into office. That's brilliant!

      October 8, 2010 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • Lindsay

      Of course, find a way to make this about Republican v. Democrat...

      Are you high? How many drugs do you have in your life that you NEED, and you are willing to pay for to live better, or to live at all?!! It's because of the R & D of drug companies that we have LIFE SAVING medicines and drugs in this country that are largely available to everyone!! Drugs like Lipitor, Zoloft (my mother is an epileptic), and antiretroviral drugs all allow people to LIVE longer, healthier and more productive lives, with what would otherwise be, debilitating and deadly diseases.

      Yes, once in a while, drugs turn out to cause much more harm than good, and they have to be pulled from the market. You know what; I would always choose the imperfect market and our current system over the alternative. And, since you brought it up, Obamacare is going to suck millions, no billions, of dollars out of the private sector medical industry which is going to cripple the pharmaceutical industry's ability to put money into the research and development needed to produce your prescriptions. Oh, and don't count on the government, which produces NOTHING, to take over this vital sector of our society. I dread the day when a woman cannot get the newest drug needed to fight her breast cancer because the medical czar deemed it "too expensive" to have in the market. Yay.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
    • Checker

      Um Jam...this was approved by the FDA in 1997.
      1997, Bill Clinton was in office.
      Last I checked Clinton was a Dem.
      Just sayn'

      October 8, 2010 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
    • NaughtyJenn

      Jam, I presume you missed the part about it being approved in 1997. You do realize that was during the Clinton administration? You do know Clinton is a Democrat, not a Republican?

      October 8, 2010 at 13:46 | Report abuse |
    • ken

      jam108, you forget Prez, Clinton created the black hole and handed it proudly to the reps.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • MikeyD74

      or what we could do, jam, is leave the dems in office and get 4 more years of indecision and ineptitude.

      Theres trees in siberia in need of a hug

      October 8, 2010 at 13:54 | Report abuse |
    • Lindsay

      Oh, and guess what? It's GOOD for drug companies to make a profit! You better hope they are profiteering, or you can kiss future medicines and drugs goodbye. Wow, profits, what a novel idea.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • NetNinja

      Take a pill! take a Pill! These legalized drug pushers who are killing people legally.
      I wonder out of all the legalized drugs that kill people does it surpass the ammount of people killed each year from Illegal drug usage?

      The fatest people in the world have to be American by far. Just a quick trip to you local Walldo mart will prove this to be true.

      EXCERCISE! Get off your asses!

      October 8, 2010 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • gale

      I guess you stuck your stupid uninformed foot in your mouth. I also assume you work for no pay since you don't believe in profit.

      October 8, 2010 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • matt

      you're exactly right, it deeply troubles me that people can be so critical of government regulation but then turn a blind eye to the disgusting, greed fueled, tactics of large corporations that release dangerous drugs upon the public.

      October 8, 2010 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
    • J

      Jam, lets hope they do get voted back into office. Tha'ts the only smart thing you have said.

      October 8, 2010 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
    • justintime

      Even more reasons for REGULATION

      October 8, 2010 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Where's the class action law suit ? I want to be the first to sign up... The lawyers love these situations !

      October 8, 2010 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      If you feel so strongly about big business, why not stop eating meat and dairy. If everybody did this these drugs would no longer be necessary and the big industries that perpetuate the need for drug companies would fold.

      October 8, 2010 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
    • clark1b

      one side says the FDA is too strict we need to get our drugs from other countries if we want to ... look at Europe they allow drug X why wont the FDA?

      the other side says the FDA and drug companies are too lax .....

      both sides are based on selfish desires ... not on science.

      October 9, 2010 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
    • Worried Mom

      the fda is swamped with new drug submissions - these companies just keep pushing crap out there for people to consume and slow the system

      October 10, 2010 at 00:30 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Completely Agree !
      this is a terrible situation we have on our hands

      October 10, 2010 at 13:00 | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      The current system of expedited review is a result of pressure from patients–those with cancer, HIV, and other fatal diseases. For many years, even drugs that showed promise were mired in years of clinical trials, meaning thousands of people died while new drugs were thoroughly investigated. Patients felt that made no sense and lobbied to have access to promising drugs. Drug companies were asked to contribute more money to the FDA to expedite data review. The result is the situation we now have. No politicians to blame, no drug companies to blame. Just consequences that people didn't believe would result from this new system. Now that we know the consequences will happen, we need to modify the system again.

      October 10, 2010 at 20:59 | Report abuse |
    • Rachell

      Jam, I'm super liberal and I work in this industry (I monitor clinical trials). Your comment shows just how LITTLE you know about the drug approval process. It takes YEARS of research and clinical trials before the drug is even available to the public and even after it's on the market, there are long term safety studies and follow up studies like the ones that Abbott conducted. The patient's safety is THE #1 concern when these trials are being conducted. The FDA works in tandem w/ these pharma companies to ensure that the overall benefit to the subject/patient outweighs the associated risks. My job is to make sure that the subjects on these studies are protected and I don't give a **** about anyone's profits.

      Also, Lindsay, you also seem to be in the dark here. "Obamacare" isn't going to suck BILLIONS out of the pharma sector. Obama has appointed a new FDA commissioner who has tightened oversight over clinical trials and regulations that must be followed by ALL investigators. This is a great thing, because you don't want bad data from a poorly run study to cause a potentially dangerous drug to be released to the public.

      FFS people, don't any of you all know wtf you all are talking about?

      October 11, 2010 at 00:35 | Report abuse |
    • HJA

      In 1997 Clinton was president but I seem to remember the Republicans were in control. If he didn't pass legislation they would have overridden his vetoe.

      October 11, 2010 at 08:44 | Report abuse |
  2. kate

    good people need to start realizing that no pill is going to magically make you lose a bunch of weight anyways. People also don't know how to follow the proper doses to the drugs that are supposed to help them. Let's motivate people and build some confidence that losing weight isn't that complicated but it does take some hard work. Come read some good articles about weight loss at http://www.diet-myths.com

    October 8, 2010 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Adam

    Maybe its not the pill causing heart attacks. Could it be that the people taking the drug are VERY FAT & already have an increased chance of strokes & heart attacks since they are FAT! It just seems pretty obvious to me. FAT PEOPLE HAVE HEART ATTACKS & STROKES & THEY DIE SOONER THEN HEALTHY NON FAT PEOPLE! DUH!!!

    October 8, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wow

      wow...you sound like an asshole!...

      October 8, 2010 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • Cydonic

      Wow, you're angry. Did a fat person try to kill you or something?

      October 8, 2010 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
    • gdgPhD

      uummmmm . . . there was a control of "fat" people who took a placebo and not Meridia who did not show an increase in heart attacks or strokes. At least "fat" people can lose weight; stupid people are stupid forever.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
    • thedude

      No, they gave one group of fat people a pill and another group of fat people no pill.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
    • JJB

      The problem is that most overweight ( I said MOST, not all) think they can just take a pill and continue to sit on their a**. It takes exercise, exercise and sensible diet. I used to be a little overweight, changed my eating habits, and began lifting weights and running. I lost 35 pounds and down to 165 and have kept off the weight for over 15 years. It can be done. But you must WANT IT! If you don't care or lazy, it will not happen no matter what pill you take!

      October 8, 2010 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
    • Maggie

      @thedude: Do you not know the definition of placebo? It is sometimes referred to as a sugar pill because it doesn't have any medication in it. That way the control group thinks they are taking the actual medication being tested.

      October 8, 2010 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
    • Connie

      well said my friend, they need to sweat the fat by exercising and eating healthy no with magic pills

      October 8, 2010 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Thank you, Adam. One of the only comments that relates to the subject at hand...MERIDIA. On the weight scale I was by no means obese, however, I did feel sluggish and I was overweight. II wanted to lose the extra weight (about 32 lbs). Diets don't work...EVER. I have tried a few. You have to change your lifestyle. I was realistic and decided that "I needed a little help from medication". When prescribed and used properly, Meridia actually helped me to change my lifestyle. Unless a person has actually taken the pill and had experienced either positive or negative effects, those people have absolutely no right to comment on Meridia. I happened to be one person that took Meridia, used it in the correct way and lost 32 lbs. in about 8 months. In the process I learned to change my way of eating, thereby keeping the weight off for over 6 years now. PLUS, I had absolutely no ill side effects. And I went to my doctor once per month just to make sure everything was normal (BP, etc.) and it was. I'm not sure why everyone started going on the Republican vs. Democrat tangent.

      October 8, 2010 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • Gena

      Heart attacks and strokes affect people of all sizes, shapes and ages. Duhhhhh!!!

      October 10, 2010 at 00:58 | Report abuse |
  4. 4sanity

    Our drug approval system does NOT suck. It works quite effectively. It takes years and $100s millions to get a drug to market because of the stringent safety requirements. Unfortunately some side effects can not be predicted or found until a drug has been on the market for an extended period of time and with a large patient base. Case in point – the increased risk of heart attacks is 16 % above the normal average rate. You'd never spot this effect until AFTER a drug has been prescribed tiothousands of patients.

    And drug companies are there to make a profit (just like any other company) – it doesn't make them unscrupulous. But the profit motive does mean there should be adequate independent oversight (i.e. FDA).

    October 8, 2010 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Evil

      4Sanity, how come these "medicines" can have a side effect list that reads more like a symptoms list yet people can't smoke a joint? Yeah it's about safety requirements...

      October 8, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • jam108

      I stand by my assertion. Our drug approval process is inadequate. There is no reason we can't have more extended clinical trials, instead of using the general public as guinea pigs. Of course, that would cut into the industry's under-taxed, exorbitant profits, and we could never let that happen, could we.

      October 8, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • J

      Jam, I am sorry but your an idiot. Try telling that to someone who is dieing and waiting for FDA approval of something that may save there life or give them more time. I have thought for yrs we are to strict on approval. Heck even if the drugs do not work HOPE can give people comfort alone.

      October 8, 2010 at 12:59 | Report abuse |
    • CaEd

      Actually EVIL, if the federal government and the FDA allowed research on Cannibals they might find some side effects that were dangerous.

      We will never know for sure because the powers-that-be will not allow ANY research on the substance.

      Congress, through the FDA and without any testing, has determined (no scientific data, just opinion) that there is no medical uses for Marijuana thus we can't get government funding for the research.

      We have to rely on the French and English for any scientific research.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:00 | Report abuse |
    • Softship

      @ Jam108 Please remember that a lot of medications are developed and introduced to save lives. extending the duration of clinical trials can also cost lives – lives of those who could have been saved had the medication been on the market.

      I would agree that medications for treating non-life-threating disease should have longer trials than those which are introduced as the only available therapy for a life-threatening disease.

      However, morbid obesity is not acutely life-threatening, but it isn't called "morbid" for nothing. It kills.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • Allan

      Agreed that the approval process isn't perfect – some effects don't show til more people have taken them in real life settings.

      But I think the idea that "drug companies are there to make a profit" is the root of the problem. I thought drug companies were there to make drugs people want or need, and to try to do so profitably. Since they think the profits come first they're slow to work on less profitable things like orphan drugs. They focus on things like weight loss, erectile dysfunction (or really enhancement) or patentable variations on existing generics (see the Vioxx story). Then they advertise on TV direct to consumers, woo doctors with money and gifts, subsidize their research or make them paid spokespeople. Studies showing potential side effects are minimized (and even though its now required to publish results from government funded studies no such requirements exist for privately funded ones).

      Can't say for sure what happened in this case but the system is broken and I think the root of it is that profitability tail wagging the dog of disease treatment or symptom management. Even the best oversight can't overcome the shortcomings of a fundamentally flawed system of drug creation and marketing. As a result I'm skeptical whenever I hear the "how could we have foreseen this tragedy" line – sometimes its true but not every time. It happens too often to be chance.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
    • lynny

      While I agree that not everyone who is overweight is lazy, my doctor tried to prescribe me a drug for losing weight after I tore my knee from excercising...hmmm...anyway, we are in need of drug reform folks...If it is cheaper for my grandparents to drive to Canada or Mexico to get the drugs they need that is a serious problem.

      For those making it about politics, the situation has been going on for quite a few years through both Democratic and Republican Presidents. For those that want to blame the Democrats- yes this drug was approved in 1997 under Clinton but it is being removed now under Obama and Republicans didn't pull the drug while they were in office, so when it was marketed originally has very little to do with starting or fixing the problem.

      I will say that those who want to hate on our current state of affairs should think about how long it took us to get into this mess we have created (yes WE). Rome was not built in a day and neither can it be fixed in such a time. Instead of using out energy for such anger and hatred, I would ask the question "What are you doing to affect change?" Griping is easy, but if you do nothing then you cannot complain.

      October 8, 2010 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
    • Worried Mom

      ok - so they should test in public?

      October 10, 2010 at 00:34 | Report abuse |
  5. Bourne Blogger

    And 20 more McDonalds have opened...

    October 8, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Proud to be a mutt

    Hey Jam, I am sure you are aware that the FDA is the agency that determines if a drug even reaches the market place in the US. There are numerous examples of drugs approved only to be removed for safety concerns. Be careful in your vilification of Pharma, there are several parties involved in the drug approval process. There are members of the medical community and lay people on the advisory committees that make recommendations for a drug's approval.

    October 8, 2010 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Tooltard

    have the 1-800-BAD-Drug commercials started up yet for this one? if not they will be shortly

    October 8, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Chris Meece

    Rush drugs to market?!?! We have scores of people dying of cancer because we are so slow at allowing their drugs to the market. This drug was approved in 1997, it is now 2010. It could have taken 13 years of testing to find these problems. Do we really want to keep pushing cures out of the reach of people who don't have time to wait till the politicians say it is ok for them to have it?

    October 8, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jam108

      People are dying of cancer because our FDA, EPA, and USDA are run by a bunch of ex-industry execs who care more about supporting industry profits than they do about safe-guarding the public for the massive amount of carcinogens we're exposed to everyday. Curing cancer is a joke perpetrated by a "profits before people" paradigm that permeates every industry sector, including pharmaceutical. Right-wingers preach less government restrictions, even while they and their loved ones die from the abusive policies they support. How ignorant; how sad.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
  9. Proud to be a mutt

    Also, it should be noted that the study in question (SCOUT) for Meridia was done in patients for whom the drug was contraindicated when is was first approved. Now wonder it appeared to cause harm.

    October 8, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Head Diva In Charge

    I got a weight loss secret for ya – portion control. I know it's not the easy way out, but it's the safest!

    October 8, 2010 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aprila

      I wish it was that easy. I've tried portion control for over 10 years. I exercise. I eat fairly healthy foods (with a little cheating now and then.) The problem is, to me, not eating food is like trying to ignore a mosquito bite. It's a compulsion. I don't smoke, I don't drink, I eat too much. I loathe myself only because of my weight – in every other way I am very confident, successful and happy. It's comments like some on this board – hateful towards someone only because of their weight – that drive that self-hatred. It's angry, hateful comments like others on this board that encourage kids (and others) to commit suicide quietly and then everyone is shocked. I finally got Lap-Band surgery about 3 1/2 months ago and am down 44 lbs. I no longer have that driving hunger that consumed me. Losing this weight doesn't make me a better person, just more acceptable to our society.

      October 8, 2010 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • uhhh what??

      Over-simplify much?

      Its not always about portion control. Portion control doesnt help people like me who have endocrine disorders like PCOS. My red blood cells have a problem absorbing glucose, so my body over-produces insulin in an effort to get better absorbtion. Excess insulin makes you gain weight and its very difficult to shed weight when your basic biology is flawed. All the portion control in the world wont magically make my red blood cells function properly. I track my food intake religiously on sparkpeople.com and I can tell you that most days I barely break 1000 calories a day and I am well, well below my limits on fat and carbs. My portions couldnt be any MORE controlled, and yet its still nearly impossible for me to have any significant weight loss because of the simple fact that of the hyperinsulinemia. Even though I am not technically diabetic, I take a diabetic medication to try and combat the issue, but it is far from being the magic bullet solution. There is NO magic bullet solution for PCOS.

      The next time you feel the need to judge others, maybe you should take into consideration that not all overweight people are lazy slobs with no self-control. Frankly I'd rather be a kind-hearted fat woman than the judgemental skank you seem to be.

      October 8, 2010 at 17:05 | Report abuse |
    • Constantine

      eat less; do more – that sounds safe enough

      October 10, 2010 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
  11. SMAN

    They don't rush drugs to market you idiot! My god...my wife has been waiting years for a very effective Hepatitis drug to finally get approved to treat people who will otherwise die from liver disease. It takes years and years to get these drugs approved and they have many clinical trials to go through and maybe, just maybe they might get "Fast Track" status to speed up the process.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jam108

      I hope the drug you've been waiting for works for your wife and has no unwanted side effects. P.S. Can't you argue your perspective without name calling? Maybe you should listen to Rush Limbaugh a little less and Jesus a little more.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
  12. Bumper

    There is a secret diet that the FDA will never ban!!! And there are no profiteers involved!!!! GUARANTEED to work!!! It's called the DASH diet. Look it up - http://dashdiet.org/.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Chris

    Ahhh natural selection at work

    October 8, 2010 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. teresa, ohio

    so they got enough money off us fatties from Meridia and killed enough of us fatties that they are gonna pull the drug.

    what I dont get is : HOW DO THESE DRUGS PASS THE FDA SPECIFICATIONS IF ONLY TO BE PULLED A MERE COUPLE YEARS LATER DUE TO KILLING PEOPLE?

    Who is runnign the FDA and would someone please wake them up.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Debra

      Big Pharm is running the FDA.....the fox is guarding the hen house.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • Constantine

      agree – same people at the top have 'industry experience' and still vested in seeing things get to market sad, but true

      October 10, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
  15. Chi-town Chick in Houston

    Sensible eating plus exercise = weight loss!

    October 8, 2010 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. teresa, ohio

    to the people defending the FDA not approving certain drugs because they are being so careful:

    ummm, they dont want to totally cure Cancer. Do you realize how many people would be out of business? Seriously, think about it. I know its sick to even think that. I was pissed when I first heard that... but now Im older and much wiser. There will never be a cure for cancer. Never. Its too profitable.

    Do you really think the FDA is watching out for you? Do you think anyone besides you and your loved ones are?

    October 8, 2010 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • matt

      exactly, it's the downfall of capitalism. Perfection and cures aren't the goal, only a steady income. It's more profitable to barely keep you alive than to cure you. Like Ive always said "Capitalism: Where human life is valued by dollar signs."

      October 8, 2010 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Teresa, you hit the nail on the head. There will never be a cure for cancer and here's a secret about Meridia. They pulled it because IT WAS NO LONGER PROFITABLE. They could no longer charge the exorbitant amount so it is not worth it for them and they were losing money. Yes, I'm sure people did die, but I'd like to see the death reports on whether the people that died were still obese, moderately obese, had stroke or heart disease history, etc. We aren't being told the whole story, like usual. See my earlier post about my positive experience with Meridia.

      October 8, 2010 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
  17. Hepsta

    Oh no! The FDA banned the wait loss drug called "exercising?" This is going too far. Government should not tell their citizens they can or cannot go to a gym, go for walks, or recreational sports! Ohhhh wait- a little pill that makes you lose weight...ha, good riddance. Use your legs and arms people! I got in shape in 6 months. Not by a pill by learning that my arms move other directions than directly to my mouth. It's work, but there is NO pill substitute for hard work. I pill isn't a lifestyle change.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Christallin

    People need to exercise!!!! Weight loss is not an overnight affair. It takes comittment and perseverance. You have to watch your calories every day. You have to COMMIT to working out. My advice is to start a program of regular exercise that you enjoy. Do it TODAY!
    Talk to a personal trainer if necessary and get some advice on what your type of body needs to lose weight. There are also many magazines that give step-by-step instruction on how to exercise and lose weight. One I like is Oxygen, http://www.oxygenmag.com. You have to make the effort. Even if you take a weight loss supplement, you still have to exercise or you will become a skinny blob.
    Stop complaining and get to the gym, the track, or in the living room and get up offa that thang!

    October 8, 2010 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. billy joe bob

    Try putting the hamburger and soda down and go for a walk once in awhile.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. EAB

    Some people who take the weight loss drugs are prescribed due to a chemical imbalance in the brain – the brain doesn't tell the person that you are full and stop eating; this is what the drugs will help people with, and yes eating right and exercise are also the norm too – but there are some people that are made like the skinny people and need that extra little bit of help.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. walk in our shoes

    Oh its so refreshing to hear all of you pompous fools from upon high opining about weight loss. This drug has helped my child loose weight when nothing else did. Serious excersize for 3 hours a day , low calorie diet and could not loose an ounce. This study was measuring the people who took this drug and had a serious heart condition which is always risky. Under the right circumstances this drug has helped many people. Talk to an endocrinologist folks.. there are people out there who do everything right and cannot loose an ounce. Society has been taught that its all under your control and sadly it isnt . There is still alot medical science doesnt know about weight loss.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • swampnole

      I acknowledge that there are a few people out there with a biological condition that makes losing weight near impossible, but the majority of people in this country are lazy, and as such, are looking for lazy methods to lose weight. While drugs may help some people with a real problem, most people are obese because they eat unhealthy and live sedentary lifestyles. People with a real, biological inability to lose weight are very small in size compared to the number of people who became obese due to choice.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
    • Debra

      Exercise is ineffective to lose weight. There is a lot not understood about weightloss.

      October 8, 2010 at 13:51 | Report abuse |
  22. swampnole

    When are people going to realize the only safe and effective way to lose weight is the "shake weight?" Stop buying into cheap, dangerous "quick fixes" and do the work yourself...neigh, let the weight do the work for you!

    October 8, 2010 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Kiwi

    I never believed in diet pills. Old saying “everything in moderation” Also, instead of elevators, use the stairs, park your car further at the stores and walk. Drink a big glass of water before you sit down and eat….

    October 8, 2010 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. wake up

    The FDA pulled L-tryptophan, the chemical in turkey that makes you sleepy, from the market over 12 years ago because a HANDFUL of people died. A handful. The real reason they pulled it is because it's cheap, it's a natural ingrediant, it's safe,and most importantly....IT WORKS. Like a charm. Since then, I've had ot rely on dangerous prescription drugs...I have a genetic disorder and grow tumors everywhere...including the gland that regulates sleep (I'm sharing that so idiots don't tell me to drink warm miilk and eat a turkey sandwich....it would take way too much to work. So our system is corupt up one side and down another.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • canadianbacon

      I hope you get to read this. A company called Webers in Canada makes a formula called Super Sleep (I think that's what it's called). You can get it shipped to the States. Don't mean to be spammy but I hope this can help.
      http://well.ca/products/webber-naturals-super-sleep_7156.html

      October 8, 2010 at 23:46 | Report abuse |
  25. Sy2502

    What this article fails to mention is that the people who had strokes and heart attacks with Meridia were people who had already had previous cardiovascular problems. So instead of pulling an effective drug off the market, how about educating doctors to NOT prescribe it to people with pre-existing cardiovascular problems? Is it because our family doctor practices look more like an assembly line, and it's too much bother for them to check our medical history before prescribing anything?

    October 8, 2010 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Kat

    All people have to do is moderately exercise for at least 30 mins 3 times/days a week and watch what you eat. If you can't stop eating fried foods or fatty desserts, just cut your usual portion in half. You get a little leaner and healthier and you don't have to waste your money on drugs that don't work or harm you.
    Now, I understand everyone's different. Fact is, if you do all this stuff and nothing changes, then maybe your genes won't allow it. Sucks but that's the way it is sometimes.
    No, I'm not a nutritionist but this comes straight from the guys at my company's gym. They've been working here for years so what they say must be working.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Jashon

    Common sense says there is no shortcut to weight loss. Get off your rear and exercise and change your diet. If you are looking for a shortcut then perhaps you deserve the risk of a heart attack.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Linda

      Jashon. That is a very unfair statement and I've put a hex on you.

      October 8, 2010 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
  28. RG

    After having 2 heart attacks and a quadruple bypass from the effects of Avandia, my doctor prescribed Meridia. My pharmacist called the doctor and yelled at him.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Debra

    So much for the FDA whose job it is to make sure these drugs have been properly tested before throwing out to the unsuspecting public. Dont you ever wonder how many more drugs are on the market, being sold and used right this minute, that are killing people? All for profit......of course, the FDA has been in bed with big Pharm for a long time. So people have no protection.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Denizen Kate

    Weren't there reports about the possible fatal side effects of this drug at least a decade ago? Just now taking it off the shelves? I guess they weren't quite finished making money off people desperate to lose weight. Shame on them.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Debra

      Exactly. How much are the taxpayers paying out on the FDA? For nothing?

      October 8, 2010 at 13:49 | Report abuse |
  31. dana

    I have been taking meridia for 14 weeks and along with exercise and proper diet I have lost 33 pounds. I have another 50 or so to lose. This medicine helps control those undesirable cravings that come as part of an addiction to food. And beliece it or not, some medical conditions affect the center of the brain responsible for controlling cravings. This was a one of a kind medicine that works for some and not for others. I had very good results from it.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daniel

      Yeah...so far. Get off that crap before it kills you. Handle your own cravings!

      October 8, 2010 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      Dana – you can use cognitive behavioral therapy to also control cravings – and the best news is that it lasts a LIFETIME! Try "The Beck Diet Solution" by Dr. Judith Beck. Changed my life! (I lost 70 lbs!)

      October 8, 2010 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      HAHA.....food addiction is not your fault?? right.

      October 8, 2010 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Hi Dana. Good for you. I also had a very positive experience with Meridia. Please leave this comment zone now because all of these negative/judgmental comments are not healthy for anyone. Best of Luck.

      October 8, 2010 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
    • Lavendar

      Ignore Jeremy. He will understand one day when his partner or child are suddenly hit with an eating disorder. He will understand and grow a heart. Until then, please don't let him get you down.

      October 8, 2010 at 17:35 | Report abuse |
  32. thor

    If I stop taking my medicine, I may die sooner.....or is it the other way around?

    October 8, 2010 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Juniper

    I actually took meridia several years ago. At the time I was on a medication called Zyprexa (olanzapine) for a mood disorder. That medication in addition to mood stabilization turned off my ability to feel full and turned on the appetite to incredible proportions, 24 hours a day, l can't even describe it, food was literally all I could think about, like a drug. I gained 50 pounds in 3 months. I dreamed every night about food and eating, and I was never overweight before that medication. The Meridia turned off the appetite, counteracting the appetite side effect of the other medication. I stopped taking Meridia because it caused severe anxiety symptoms and some tremors. When I had a grip on the mood disorder I went off the zyprexa a couple of years later, the appetite went back to normal, the weight came off and I'm now a healthy size, not overweight at all again. It's not always about getting off the couch and portion control, and Meridia wasn't always a shortcut for lazy people. I imagine many times it was though.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeremy

      Sounds like your one of the problems: You need a drug for this and a drug for that and a pill do handle this task. When did so many people become such mental midgits? Ohh and I love that nothing was your fault. It wasn't your fault that you were overly concerned about nothign which resulted in full blown anxiety and it wasn't your fault that you couldn't stop putting food into your mouth. responsibility where are you?

      October 8, 2010 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
    • RG

      Zyprexa causes insulin resistance, and causes weight gain. My son was put on this drug, and he was a skinny as a toothpick allof his 26 years, couldn't put weight on if he tried. Zyprexa made him grow a belly. They are starting to give Zyprexa patients Byetta to counteract the insulin resistance. Byetta is usually for diabetics.

      October 8, 2010 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • Lavendar

      Ignore Jeremy. He will understand one day when he or his child are suddenly hit with crippling depression and panic attacks. He will grow a heart. Until then, please don't let him get you down.

      October 8, 2010 at 17:33 | Report abuse |
  34. klynch67

    Listen up fat people....

    there is no magic pill or surgery that will make losing weight easy. I cant beleive people cant stop eating unless they feel full. It is called will power and common sense. Get a normal portion of your meal and stop once your plate is clean. No seconds or thirds. No plates piled a foot high. Normal portions and stop when its gone. No snacks especially after dinner.

    If metabolism is the issue, try iodine, manganese, and chromium suppliments.

    If you eat because you are depressed, try Omega-3 and dark chocolate in small daily amounts.

    Lastly, no weight loss program will work without exercise. Walking is better than nothing. Biking or swimming once walking becomes too easy. Lift light weights at first and increase the reps later.

    It takes at least two weeks of any program before results are first noticed. You just need to decide you want to do it.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Suzanne

      Well, with a comment that starts out with "listen up, fat people," I'm sure you'll get LOTS of people following your advice... :-/

      October 8, 2010 at 14:12 | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      Love it!!! I have to exercise three times a day to keep my weight in check.

      October 8, 2010 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      OMG...thank you so much for stating the obvious. You are such a genious. We are all so thankful to you. I've also put a hex on you. Now please go stand in the corner with Jashon. Thank you.

      October 8, 2010 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • Lavendar

      I have tried Omega-3. I can't digest it properly, even expensive molecularly-distilled brands. For 24 hours after taking it, I taste nothing but fish. Thanks for the advice, but if overcoming depression were so simple, so many people wouldn't have it. Please stop judging others. It is really not helpful.

      October 8, 2010 at 17:38 | Report abuse |
  35. Joe

    For those of you suggesting diet and exercise as the sole solution to the obesity problem, I'd remind you that both exercise and diet would never be able to pass the FDA's guidelines as approvable if they were treated as a weight-loss drug. The side effects of exercise (increased heart rate while on therapy raising risk of heart attacks in those with heart disease, increased risk of injury from falls, accidents, etc., muscle soreness) would raise serious questions about side effects. Diet wouldn't pass either as no diet has scientifically shown an average of 5% weight loss over placebo for a year.

    Based on the FDA's current flawed logic, we should also ban exercise as someone who might not realize they have heart disease might harm themselves by trying it.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. LicenseToSteal

    Yes, let's completely deregulate the pharmaceutical companies so we can create more jobs. So what if it kills 100,000 or 200,000 people. We must continue to deregulate as we have been doing the last 30 years. Look what deregulation did for the financial markets! In addition, if you outsource your job to China or other countries you get a tax break. Bring it on! Vote for the same people and keep getting the same results. By-the-way, deregulation is not a partisan problem. In 2000, the Clinton Administration sided with the Republicans to deregulate the financial market allowing for derivitives, speculation and all the other fancy wonderful terms we have grown to learn this past decade.

    October 8, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RG

      Can you actually explain what a "derivative" is?

      October 8, 2010 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
  37. Brian

    "voluntarily".......

    Does the FDA have the authority to actually do something? Note that it took 13 years to get this drug off the market.

    October 8, 2010 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Jim

    Just say NO to drugs.

    October 8, 2010 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. callie

    How bout we cut the fast food and preach healthy yet cheap eating to our country? THEN WE WONT NEED THIS SHIT. Identify the cause, people.

    October 8, 2010 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Kathy

    FDA and big Pharma companies seem to be running in the same circle. Money and profit.
    Weight can be controlled strickly by what you put in your own mouth..you as a person need to be accountable to yourself.
    I have been over weight and have lost the weight without having to rely on surgery or a pill.
    People have a choice in life they can either be a victim to all the so called bad things that have happened or they can turn those events into positive life changing situations.
    Depression is cured by one simple thing – EXERCISE.
    Your weight is controled by what you put in your mouth.
    If it comes in a package it isn't good for you.
    Fresh fruits and veggies(frozen in off seasons) never anything from a can!!!

    October 8, 2010 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RG

      My dog drinks from the can all the time.

      October 8, 2010 at 15:14 | Report abuse |
  41. dohh

    American is a nation of fat dmb ugly people....the number or morbidly obese people is America is more then the rest of world combined for sure...its just hideous and sick to see when millions are dying of hunger all around the world...these fat lazy mofos should be starved by law...

    October 8, 2010 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Daniel

    Take drug advertising off TV TODAY. It is the most sinister thing happening in this country. We are supposedly fighting a war on drugs. The pharmaceutical companies are waging war against the people. It is pure evil! Contact your congressman and ask for the law forbidding drugs ads on TV be reinstated. This NOT a free speech issue!

    October 8, 2010 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Phil

    Fat people are predisposed to having heart attacks. How do we know it was the drug and not the fact that the person was fat that caused the problem?

    When is the FDA going to pull donuts and fried chicken off the market?

    October 8, 2010 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lavendar

      Because the study used a control group.

      October 8, 2010 at 17:39 | Report abuse |
  44. Valerie

    Most of these comments are just mean and hateful, it this is coming fron a slender person who is in great shape.

    And to all you people knocking America- America is the greatest nation in the entire world, warts and all. And Americans overall are generous, fun, innovative and strong. Get over it.

    October 8, 2010 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Suzanne

    Lots of fat-haters on here. I used to have a BMI of 33.8, and now my BMI is 22.5 – and I got there the traditional way (eat less, move more) – but I know that there are those out there with special medical conditions for whom the "traditional way" does not work. At the same time, I'm sure that many overweight individuals who should not have been taking this medication were looking for a quick-fix solution... and, for most folks, there is NO quick fix. It took me over a year to lose the weight. You just have to be consistent and patient, and the best way to do that is to find a healthy lifestyle you can live with in the long term. It takes a little trial and error, and a LOT of patience!

    Still – I do wish that more medical research money would be thrown at the PREVENTION of obesity rather than the cure.

    October 8, 2010 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. warytraveler

    Hey, I have a great miracle weight loss drug called diet and exercise.

    October 8, 2010 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Jeremy

    Here's a suggestion to someone "struggling" with their weight: Put down the pill bottle, get off the couch and exercise, and watch what you eat. It will take time but it does work. Everyone wants a quick and easy fix for everything. Unbelievable! the longer you wait to get in shape the longer it will take. Oh... and do your kids a favor, quit feeding them junk, quit allowing them to eat whatever they want, and force them to exercise or play outdoors.

    October 8, 2010 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • woof

      Brilliant. Gee, if it were that easy and simple, do you think people would be resorting to pills, side effects, surgery, eating horrible pre-packaged diets, fat farms, etc., etc., etc.? Get a clue.

      Tell you what, try this: Try running up and down a flight of stairs for 5 minutes and control your respiration rate to a normal 12 breaths per minute. Your brain is demanding that you breath more rapidly and the urge to do it is overwhelming. This is exactly what it feels like to some overwheight people; their brain is driving them to eat and the urge is overwhelming. Unlike that breathing exercise caloric restriction can be accomplished through will power, but eventually in most cases the person cannot control those biological urges for life.

      October 8, 2010 at 14:34 | Report abuse |
    • Scarlett

      Let's make a deal. I'll give up the diet pills if you give up your viagra. After all, if you can't get it up - maybe you are too old for that kind of thing or maybe it is just natural selection at work ...

      October 9, 2010 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
  48. Brian

    "American is a nation of fat dmb ugly people..".......

    I especially notice this when I go to church and see the 300 pound church ladies. Wonder if religion causes obesity.

    October 8, 2010 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lavendar

      While you are in Church, please pray to God to make you a kinder less-obnoxious person.

      October 8, 2010 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
  49. woof

    A 16% increase of heart attack, stroke and death is not a very substantial number in a group of only 100,000 people taking the drug; it took 13 years to tease that info out of the aftermarket surveillance systems, and the judgement of risk vs. benefit is a quite subjective one. Who knows how many of the 100,000 lives were positively affected by a reduction in diabetic complications due to a further 5% body weight loss? For example, if 100,000 are expected to have 1,000 cardiac events over the course of 13 years, that's an increase of 160 people over 13 years. About 12 people a year. Very tough to pick this up, and certainly not able to be seen in a pre-market drug trial.

    October 8, 2010 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Chris

    These patients have alot to deal with on their own, because of their weight they are already at risk for heart attack and stroke, so this drug is just a slap in the face and another push to an early grave. There is still hope out there patients...... first of all don't trust your precious and delicate health to these money hungry pharmaceutical companies, instead dedicate yourselves to TREAT yourselves better. Eat right, exercise, drink lots of water, and get 8 hours of sleep and let the pounds come off slowly but surely. :)

    October 8, 2010 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.