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Today, more than 1/3rd of Americans are extremely obese and 2/3rds obese or overweight. Despite these alarming statistics, doctors today are still highly resistant to prescribing weight loss drugs because of the disastrous results of virtually every diet pill marketed in every decade since 1930.
The Fen-Phen disaster, for example, left massive fallout in its wake. First prescribed in 1973, Fen Phen, a combination of two drugs, Fenfluramine and Phentermine (which is still prescribed) was introduced in the 1990s and marketed as a new wonder-weight loss drug combining a strong appetite suppressant and super-stimulant ingredient all in one.
After finding the drug led to heart valve damage and a fatal lung disease, and pulmonary hypertension, a class-action law suit was filed against the makers of Fen-Phen, Wyeth, with damages over time totaling in billions of dollars—not to mention the cost of treating all of the patients hurt by the drug. It was banned in 1997.
Then there was the death of Oriole’s pitcher Steve Bechler from Ephedra in 2003, after which the FDA banned all diet drugs containing ephedra, leaving pharmaceutical companies to invent more diet drugs and then some.
“This FDA rule reflects what the scientific evidence shows – that ephedra poses an unreasonable risk to those who use it,”Tommy G. Thompson FDA RULING (2004)
Today, the weight loss drugs that can be prescribed offer little in the way of weight loss while still placing a person at risk of developing disturbing health problems that, with time, may one day prove to be as deadly as Fen-Phen and ephedra.
Today, we have around five weight loss drugs that are currently the most “popularly prescribed” (if you can call it that, given everyone’s hesitancy) and each of these carry serious risks. These are Orlistat (Alli), Belviq, Contrave, Saxenda, phentermine (one of the primary ingredients in the now-banned Fen-Phen), and Qsymia. Of course, all of these drugs all have their own serious medical risks.
But one new drug in the weight loss arena that is changing everything is Modafinil, a drug that has proven to be the most effective treatment for narcolepsy and one that has rapidly developed the reputation of the most amazing smart drug known to man.
Modafinil is bringing those that take it more than wakefulness, focus, and a feeling of enhanced cognitive function, it’s helping them to get thin, too—and safely. All of this without effort, users report.
And what’s so wonderful about this is that we might have finally found a highly effective weight loss drug with only two side effects – lots of going to the bathroom and mild nausea. When you read about the side effects of the other weight loss drugs prescribed today, you’ll see what makes Modafinil so amazing.
Let’s look at the five weight loss drugs prescribed today and compare them to how Modafinil works to help people lose weight. Let’s find out which ones have the best benefits for the least risk.
Common Diet Drugs Prescribed Today: Description and Risks
Orlistat (prescribed) also marketed as Alli (which is available over the counter) is one of the more popular weight loss drugs on the market today. The way Orlistat works is by blocking fat absorption from foods in your intestines.
The most common side effects of Orlistat are anal leakage, diarrhea, gas, and cramping, which are all caused by the fat-blocking aspect of Orlistat.
Recently, a University of Rhode Island researcher has notified the FDA of some serious side effects and risks associated with this medication that may result in its being pulled from shelves in the not-to-far future.
Professor Bingfang Yan found that Xenical and its over-the-counter partner, Alli, even at the lowest dosage, inhibits a major detoxification enzyme called carboxylesterase-2 that keep our liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tracts functioning healthily. Also, since this enzyme helps to metabolize medications of all kinds, it may alter the effectiveness of other prescribed medications.
Consequently, as Professor Yan notes, “there has been a drastic increase of toxicity among patients using the drug,” as well as increasing cases of liver failure, kidney failure, and pancreatic failure.
Since then, the FDA has required these drugs to include warning labels about risks of severe liver injuries that can occur with use of this drug.
Belviq, despite its seductive name which sounds similar to that of a high quality bottled water that’s name promises safety and purity, like Aquafina, Belviq bears many similarities to fenfluramine, the “fen” of Fen-Phen, that was linked to heart valve problems.
The manufacturer claims that the drug targets a different serotonin receptor that is not found in the heart. However, studies have been showing cases of heart valve disease and heart problems in those who use Belviq.
Fen-Phen’s damaging effect on the heart valve was thought to be related to activation of the serotonin 2B receptor on heart tissue, and while the FDA notes that Belviq “does not appear to activate the 2B receptor” they have already been notified of serious side effects. Instead, Belviq works by activating the serotonin 2C receptor in your brain, which enhance feelings of satiety while eating fewer or smaller meals.
Dr. Eric Felner, a member of the FDA panel that approved the drug, has stated, however, “If you’re going to put your patient on this medication, you need to see them somewhere along the lines of every two to three months and probably get an echocardiogram at least two or three times a year.”
According to a study published in Pharmacy and Therapeutics journal in 2013, among the many risks of Belviq are
• Serotonin syndrome
• Valvular heart disease.
• Cognitive impairment. Impairments in attention and memory
• Psychiatric disorders
• Suicidal tendencies, thoughts, and depression
• Hypoglycemia in type-2 diabetes
• Decreased heart rate.
• Low white blood cell counts
• Elevated prolactin levels
• Pulmonary hypertension.
And all this for a mere 6-pound weight loss on a 200-pound person or an average 3% of your body weight (if that)?
Contrave is a combination of two drugs, one, naltrexone, which was created to treat heroin and opioid addiction and some cases of extreme alcoholism, and bupropion (popularly known as Wellbutrin or Zyban), which is a commonly prescribed anti-depressant.
By combining these two drugs, Wellbutrin, which is greatly recommended for stopping smoking and naltrexone, which also helps with addiction, experts hoped for a drug that would take a new approach to weight loss-to curb food addiction by making the act of eating less pleasurable.
Side Effects and Medical Risks
However, the drug has many side effects that make people, 62% of people in fact, stop taking the drug quite quickly. These side effects include nausea, constipation, and headaches.
Another thing to consider is that Contrave doesn’t produce weight loss effects in everyone. Contrave has been shown to only benefit around 40% of people lose 5% of their body weight, which is the equivalent of 10 pounds in a 200-pound person.
Reported Side Effects of Contrave
• severe stomach pain
• bad breath
• dryness in the mouth
• hot flashes
• Flu-like symptoms
• urinary tract infection (UTIs)
• ringing in the ears
• high blood pressure
• increased sweating
• changes in taste
• muscle strain, or
Saxenda is a self-administered injection pen that works on the appetite controlling peptide-1 called GLP-1. Because it is so strong in its effects (and risks) doctors only prescribe it to
patients with a BMI greater than or equal to 27% of their total body weight. There are both serious and common side effects of Saxenda.
Serious Medical Risks and Side Effects
• Thyroid tumors and thyroid cancer
• Gallbladder problems and gallstones
• Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
• Increased heart rate. Saxenda® can increase your heart rate while you are at rest.
• Kidney failure and kidney problems
• Serious allergic reactions
• Depression and suicidal thoughts
Common side effects
• Low blood sugar
• And stomach pain
Qsymia is a combination of two drugs, topiramate and phentermine (one of the ingredients in the officially banned Phen-fen). Today, some 670 deaths or more have been linked to both topiramate and phentermine. However, the company Vivus claims that both drugs have been marketed separately for years, and that their drug contains a blend of both drugs in lesser quantities.
Qsymia only produces very minimal weight loss results of a 6.7 to 8.9 percent weight loss. Which is roughly 10 to 17-pound weight loss in for someone weighing 200 pounds.
Qsymia can increase heart rate and must not be used in patients with glaucoma or hyperthyroidism. If one is going on this drug, it is recommended by the FDA, that one have doctor’s appointments every two to three months and get an echocardiogram, to make sure there are no signs of heart trouble, heart disease or stroke.
Plus, Qysmia can cause birth defects to children, and this problem is so serious and likely that women must test negative on a pregnancy test before they can begin using Qysmia.
Side Effects of Qysmia
• mood changes such as depression,
• trouble sleeping (insomnia),
• altered sense of taste
• dry mouth
• unpleasant taste in your mouth
• upper respiratory tract infection
• sinus problems and infection
• sinus infection,
• back pain,
• flu-like symptoms
• extreme fatigue
• urinary tract infection
• blurred vision
• pain in extremities
• problems with memory and cognition
• stomach pain or upset
• muscle spasms
• eye pain
• dry eyes
• hair loss
• loss of appetite
• changes in menstrual periods
• muscle pain
• neck pain
The chemical compound phentermine is highly similar to amphetamines. It works on the appetite by affecting the central nervous system by releasing norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that helps to reduce hunger.
Phentermine is one of the most popular weight loss drugs today and is typically prescribed only to people who are severely overweight and who are in danger of severe health problems due to their weight.
Medical Risks and Side Effects
However, Phentermine is only meant to be used over the short term. Although it may be safer, somewhat, than Fen-Phen was, it is still the “phen” in fen-phen, and is still capable of producing serious side effects such as high blood pressure, heart palpitations, a fast heart rate, insomnia, and drug addiction. It should not be used by people who are recovering alcoholics and drug addicts or people who have a history of addiction.
People who have a history of heart disease, heart failure risks, a history of glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure should not take phentermine, and neither should people taking any MAO inhibitors. Pregnant women cannot take phentermine.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), formerly called ADD, affects primarily children or teens but can lead into adulthood, and some individuals are not diagnosed until very late into their lives. Overall, ADHD is the most common mental disorder in children today.
Important to know, however, is that an individual may not appear “hyper” but can still have ADHD.
According to the CDC, there are 3 types of ADHD. They are diagnosed by the symptoms that are most prevalent in that particular individual.
Provigil (Modafinil) & Weight Loss: How It Works
Modafinil was designed to treat narcolepsy and is classified as a “eugeroic” or wakefulness-promoting agent. It is typically prescribed to help people who suffer from narcolepsy or excessive daytime sleepiness because of a sleep disorder, like apnea.
Since modafinil’s release, it has skyrocketed in popularity as a nootropic, or smart drug, used for cognitive enhancement as well as a popular prescription for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
But what’s great about modafinil, even as a wakefulness promoting drug is that it is not an amphetamine nor does it resemble their mechanism of action upon the body. Instead, wakefulness is promoted by modafinil’s effects upon dopamine reuptake inhibitors, by increasing their production of dopamine. This increase in dopamine increases mental alertness and decreases feelings of fatigue.
Modafinil and Weight Loss
Exactly how modafinil causes weight loss is, as of yet, unknown, just as we still don’t understand why it enhances cognitive ability. However, most individuals who use this drug say that they lose weight without trying to, because they’re focusing more on work or school and forgetting to eat.
Also, because modafinil has vigilance-enhancing effects and increases motivation, mental and physical energy, and stamina, individuals report an increased desire to be physically active, and most users become exercise lovers after beginning to use modafinil.
Also, because of its dopamine-enhancing effects, modafinil stimulates reward-centers of the brain that control satiety and pleasure. In this way, modafinil gives people a sense of well-being that comes from within rather than from eating. This, too, contributes to less eating overall.
Another aspect of modafinil that might be behind its wondrous effects for weight loss include its dopamine-boosting effects and that it enhances energy, giving people a greater sense of well-being and satiety (which helps emotional eaters) and giving people more energy to work out.
In addition to all of this, the cognitive enhancing effects of the drug also help people stay highly aware of how much food they are taking in every day. See, Provigil increases cognition and cortical activation both of which enhance self-awareness and self-control.
This may be due to the fact that when dopamine levels increase, reward centers get stimulated, leading to feelings of reduced hunger.
Most users of modafinil and/or Provigil also report a highly curbed appetite when taking the drug and that they often forget to eat or only need small meals or one meal all day. So their amount of calories eaten goes down and also promotes weight loss.
So combine calorie reduction, enhanced desire to exercise, a feeling of satiety when eating less and a highly reduced appetite, and you have all the ingredients for weight loss without the risks associated with diet drugs,
The side effects are minimal when combined with the weight loss drugs discussed today.
In fact, Modafinil’s only side effects are nausea and diarrhea.
Modafinil also speeds the metabolism. Some individuals report eating the same amounts they used to in the past but still losing weight. Weight loss without effort? It seems so. Sounds too good to be true . . . but it’s not.
Factors That Influence Weight Loss on Modafinil
You may lose more or less weight on Modafinil/Provigil depending upon
• The dosage you take
• How long you’ve been taking the drug
• Your lifestyle (inactive, moderately active, very active)
• Other medications you might be taking which can counteract a weight loss effect
What Dosage is Best for Modanfinil for Weight Loss?
The recommended dosage for weight loss with Modafinil has not officially been determined, but the starting dose for the drug is 200 mg. per day. However, the size of the individual taking this drug may determine some of its effects for weight loss. A larger individual, then, may need more Modafinil.
How Fast Will I Lose Weight on Modafinil?
The way Modafinil works with weight loss is slow, which is as it should be. Users should not expect immediate weight loss, and if weight loss is the primary goal, stick with Modafinil. The most impressive weight loss results begin to show over the course of a year, so it is best to combine Modafinil with diet and exercise and hit it hard from the start, if one is serious about weight loss.
Modafinil and Weight Loss: Reviews
- [T]he drug completely suppressed my appetite. I no longer eat breakfast and I never get hungry until the drug wears off at 18:00, and then I get hungry for dinner. I forcefully eat lunch each day even though I’m not all that hungry but more than once I have forgotten and had symptoms of low blood sugar in the operating theater. I have also lost a lot of weight, but I could have lost a few pounds so I’m actually quite happy about this. I lost about 20 pounds in 2 months, and for the first time since I was 24 I have a six pack again.
- For the first time in my life, I’m super in shape and healthy. I don’t get junk food cravings at all because of 100mg modafinil.
- When I’m using adrafinil, I find I don’t snack or eat with any frequency, because I’m simply immersed in something else that I don’t want to take a break from. Less food = weight loss.
- I forget about eating.
- A happy side effect is the weight loss that accompanied the regular use of Provigil. My metabolism increased dramatically, and I now weigh roughly 30 pounds lighter
The Top Weight Loss & Modafinil Resources
Traditional information on obesity including links to studies and research articles on obesity.
Good resource to better understand, prevent and treat obesity through research, education and advocacy. This organization has various resources to help people become aware of and combat obesity.
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