Monday, July 23, 2007

Wham: FDA Does its Job and Protects Americans from Dangerous Drug

You read all the time about the US Food and Drug Administration, many of them negative editorials about this or that dangerous drug that got approved. The FDA is one of the hottest topics on Internet discussion forums, where FDA bashing has become an art. In this case, however, I'd like to pat them on the pack. Heck, I'm going to put them into the WHAM category here, because they deserve it. They just saved a lot of Americans from a dangerous new drug that many in Europe are scratching their heads over, wondering "how did this get approved???"

This weight-loss pill, Acomplia, heightens the risk of suicide among those taking anti-depressants. "Patients with severe depression should not be prescribed this drug," said the European Medicines Agency. However, before this warning came out last June, more than 40,000 in Great Britain alone have been treated with the pill which is also known as rimonabant.

Initially, this product was hailed as a wonder drug (probably by the pharmaceutical companies) after trials showed it could help dieters lose up to 10 per cent of their body weight. It was also seen as a good way to help smokers quit cigarettes.

But last month a committee advising our Food and Drug Administration, which approves drugs in the U.S., said Acomplia should be banned because of an increased risk of suicide, and the FDA listened to them. A study showed that of 120 patients taking the drug, two had committed suicide and one was considering it--another man had also tried to strangle his daughter.

The European Medicines Agency said the drug should still be licensed but with conditions placed on prescriptions.

Peronally, I'm happy to say that the FDA made the right call on another dangerous pharmceutical chemical. Want to lose weight or quit smoking? You don't need a pharmaceutical product to manage either of those goals.


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