1. Rejected diet drug returns from the grave

    A "no" from the FDA never quite means "no" -- not when it comes to the agency's drug-industry pals, anyway.

    Case in point: The feds said "no" to the diet drug Contrave earlier this year over its potential for heart risk -- even after an FDA panel signed off on it.

    But that "NO!" has turned into a "well, maybe…" because the drug is right now headed to market with an estimated arrival date of 2014.

    It hasn't been approved -- yet -- but the feds have reversed their call for a long-term study to help ensure the drug is safe for consumers and instead OK'd a much less demanding bit of research that could be signed, sealed, and delivered in just two years.

    In other words, the drug isn't being improved to meet strict FDA safety standards. Instead, those already-low standards are being brought down to meet the drug.

    Congratulations, guys. You managed to screw up one of the rare times you actually almost got it right.

    The drug itself isn't even all that new -- it's actually a combination of two older meds: the antidepressant Wellbutrin and the anti-addiction drug naltrexone. Since both meds have weight loss (among other things) as a "side effect," the thinking is obviously to combine them and just call it a "weight loss drug."

    Just one problem: Neither one leads to a whole lot of weight loss, and even when combined the two won't help most people slim down: Studies have shown that people who take Contrave lose an average of 4 percent more than those who take a placebo.

    But here's what else you could get in the bargain: nausea, headaches, constipation and a potentially dangerous boost in blood pressure that could put anyone -- especially an obese person looking for a quick diet fix -- at risk for a heart attack or stroke, which is why the FDA wanted that new study in the first place.

    Since these types of heart problems could be years in the making, don't expect the compromise two-year study to close the book on that risk.

    If anything, it'll be just the first chapter.

    There are much better and far safer ways to lose weight, starting with a diet devoid of sugar and the rest of the refined carbohydrates. Instead of a higher blood pressure, you could actually lower yours -- it's one of the first "side effects" of going low carb.

    Don't forget to work in a little more movement. Another new study shows how women in particular might get a boost that goes far beyond a slimmer waistline.

    Keep reading!

  2. Antidepressant doesn't work for hot flashes

    You know how the off-label drug racket works: Once a med is approved for any condition, docs are free to prescribe it for every condition.

    So I just have to wonder how many women were given the antidepressant Lexapro after docs were dazzled earlier this year by a study that showed it might ease hot flashes -- because it turns out that study was flat-out wrong.

    Researchers behind a much stronger study found that this antidepressant -- which barely works for depression, by the way -- had no impact at all on hot flashes... even at increasingly higher doses.

    And this new study had some real science behind it -- because the researchers actually placed monitors on the skin of each woman to detect the telltale rise in temperature that signals each flash.

    The researchers behind the earlier study, on the other hand, just asked women to keep journals listing every single hot flash over two months.

    Aside from little distractions like work, children, shopping, sleep, a forgotten journal, or even a lost pen... what could possibly go wrong with that?

    But the researchers behind that study are sticking by their pen-and-paper approach -- because they don't have time for all this science-y stuff.

    "An objective monitor has scientific appeal," Ellen W. Freeman, author of that first study, told Reuters Health, "but may not relate to the clinical problem."

    Umm... right.

    Even if you want to give them the benefit of the doubt, that earlier study didn't have anything worth writing a journal entry over in the first place: By the end of the eight-week trial, women who took the med had an average of 5.3 hot flashes per day -- versus 6.4 a day among those who took a placebo.

    Impressed? Me neither.

    Mainstream medicine has made a complete mess out of menopause, and they're continuing to make matters worse with nonsensical studies that throw even more unnecessary drugs at a condition that simply doesn't respond well to medication.

    If you're having trouble getting past the hot flashes and other signs of menopause, don't look for the latest study behind yet another questionable off-label med -- look for a naturopathic physician instead.

    In many cases, nutritional supplements can work wonders -- and if they fall short, your doctor can team up with a compounding pharmacist to find a bioidentical hormone regimen that matches your body's needs.

  3. Antidepressants boost diabetes risk

    A new study finds patients at risk for diabetes who take antidepressant drugs are more likely to to turn their diabetes risk into actual diabetes.
  4. Antidepressant drug approved for pain

    The latest drug to win FDA approval isn't even a pain med -- it's the powerful antidepressant Cymbalta. And it fights pain about as well as you'd expect an antidepressant to.
  5. Big Pharma's bedroom eyes

    After seeing how erection meds like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra can add billions to the bottom line, Big Pharma suits have been dreaming up ways to sell a similar med to women – and now, they think they've stumbled upon it.
  6. FDA rewards drug maker's bad behavior

    The FDA has just approved the antidepressant Lexapro for use in kids.

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