Why Applaud the FDA for Their Recent Obesity Drug Approvals?
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This week marked the second time in less than a month that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new medication to treat obesity. Before these recent approvals, the last time the FDA approved a drug for obesity was more than 13 years ago. Recently, the OAC has been asked, “Why did we applaud the FDA for their drug approval? Why not just encourage more diet and exercise?” The answer to these questions is simple – “We need more tools in the toolbox.”
If we look at any other disease state, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, etc., we will find numerous treatments available to those affected; however, with obesity, individuals affected are often extremely limited in their options. On one end of the treatment spectrum we have commercial weight-loss plans (Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, etc.) and on the other end we have metabolic and bariatric surgery (gastric bypass, gastric banding, gastric sleeve), but what about the middle of the spectrum? For more than a decade, there was very little available in the middle. With the approval of recent obesity medications, we now simply have more options and that is why we applaud the FDA.
Treating obesity is more than just telling people to “eat less and exercise more.” If it were that simple, we wouldn’t be facing an epidemic of more than 93 million Americans affected by the disease of obesity. We need options when combating obesity. For anyone that has ever battled weight, you know all too well that it’s not one simple thing that works. It takes a comprehensive treatment plan to address obesity. Whether an individual and their healthcare professional choose an obesity medication, weight-loss surgery or neither, lifestyle and behavioral modification will always play an important role in weight-loss and increasing health.
The OAC continually advocates for “more tools in the tool box,” and that is exactly what these new medications represent – more tools. They are simply tools that must be combined with an overall comprehensive treatment approach. Looking ahead, we will need even more tools to safely and effectively combat this disease.
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