Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weight Loss Through Lifestyle Modification Could Be Enhanced with Nutrisystem D

Lifestyle modification, as a way to lose weight, is the most popular weight-loss method. It’s the most popular method because it's usually the easiest, least expensive, and safest way to lose weight. The main components of lifestyle modification for weight-loss generally include a modified diet and an exercise program -- diet being more important than exercise. And Nutrisystem has introduced a new program, called Nutrisystem D, that greatly improves a person's weight-loss chances, according to a recent study done at the Temple University School of Medicine.

The Nutrisystem D program is directed at overweight people, who have type 2 diabetes. As part of the program, a person receives 150 pre-packaged meals. The meals are portioned controlled. And the meals are designed to cause low rises in blood sugar.

The Nutrisystem D study done at Temple was led by Dr. Gary Foster. The study participants following the Nutrisystem program lost more than twice the weight as did participants who followed a diet designed for diabetics.

Using prepackaged meals as meal replacements has already been shown to lead to weight loss. Meal replacements include shakes, entrees and bars. And along with Nutrisystem's meals, pre-packaged meals include meals made by Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice. With pre-packaged meals, a dieter can simply pick up a meal without having to worry about the calorie or nutritional content. And this can be quite convenient. Further, a 2003 Pub Med report indicated that meal replacements can be employed safely to enable one to lose weight and maintain the weight loss.

Nonetheless, staying on a diet long term -- even on a well designed diet -- can prove to be difficult. But modifying a lifestyle to follow a specific diet, long term, can be aided with external reinforcement from weight-loss counselors. And counseling is a part of the Nutrisystem D program. Since the Nutrisystem D program appears to be a good one, bariatric centers should take note of the program. Some of the procedures employed in the Nutrisystem D program may be adaptable to bariatric center programs.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vivus Is Planning to Apply for FDA Approval for Its Obesity Drug Qnexa

A few obesity drugs in the drug pipeline are continuing to show promise. The companies, developing obesity drugs, that have recently received attention include the California based companies, Vivus, Arena and Orexigen. Vivus manufactures the drug Qnexa. Arena makes the drug lorcaserin, and Orexigen produces the drug contrave. But Vivus, with its drug Qnexa, is currently dominating the news.

Qnexa is a combination of two drugs: phentermine and topiramate. Phentermine was used in the obesity drug combination fen-phen. Fenfluramine and Phentermine were fen-phen. Fen-phen was taken off the market in the 90s, at the request of the FDA, because of severe side effects, including cardiovascular problems. But phentermine was the safer of the two drugs.

Qnexa motivates weight loss by suppressing the appetite, and by making the user feel full. So far, the main Qnexa side effects are “dry mouth, tingling, constipation, altered taste and insomnia.”
And persons participating in Qnexa drug trials experienced an approximate 15 percent weight loss. This weight loss percentage greatly exceeds FDA guidelines. Further, Qnexa has the potential to reduce some risks associated with diabetes.

The market for obesity drugs is potentially lucrative, if an obesity drug is found that is safe and effective. “JMP securities recently projected Qnexa's annual sales would hit $1.5 billion by 2015.

Based on trials results, Vivus expects to apply for approval from the FDA to market the Qnexa by the end of this year. The company is then planning to start marketing the drug by the end of 2010. Also, the company will start looking for collaborative opportunities to sell the drug.

With the weight loss industry in need of a safe and effective weight loss drug, weight loss service and product providers should closely monitor Qnexa and if reasonable, the companies should take advantage of collaborative opportunities.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

An Update on the GI Dynamics Intestinal Liner

Last year we wrote that the company, GI Dynamics of Lexington, Massachusetts, presented a report on the results of tests done using an intestinal liner that duplicates some of the functions of gastric bypass surgery. We went on to say that the liner, called the EndoBarrier, reduces the amount of calories that the body absorbs from food that is eaten.

Further, we indicated that the liner is inserted endoscopically through the mouth, and placed in the small intestine, covering about two feet of the intestine. Finally, we said that test results indicated that the liner could cause weight loss and produce beneficial effects for those with type 2 diabetes.

The intestinal liner mimics some of the malabsorptive characteristics of gastric bypass surgery. Gastric bypass surgery is a combination of two weight-loss surgical procedures that reduce calorie intake. In one of the procedures, called restriction, the surgeon creates a smaller stomach using a portion of the original stomach. This smaller stomach restricts the amount of food a person eats, thus reducing calorie intake. In the other procedure, called malabsorption, the surgeon reroutes the small intestine so that food bypasses a portion of the small intestine, reducing the amount of calories (and nutrients) absorbed by the body.

Persons participating in intestinal liner tests were able to lose an average of 30 pounds and there was a decrease in the blood sugar level in study subjects. Thus, there was a lessening of symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes.

Last month, GI Dynamics reported that they have improved the therapeutic effects of the Endobarrier Intestinal Liner by combining the liner with the company's Endobarrier Flow Restrictor. This device is used to delay the stomach's emptying of food into the small intestine. This is known as gastric emptying or GE. And this device appears to enhance the effects of the Endobarrier.

If ongoing tests of the Intestinal Liner plus Flow Restrictor prove successful, the combination might be a safe and effective method for weight loss and weight maintenance. And a weight loss or bariatric center may be able to employ the device and gain a competitive advantage.

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