pancreatitis

  1. New warning over diabetes med

    If you're taking diabetes meds, there's an urgent new warning out there that you just have to see.

    Public Citizen is urging the FDA to ban the drug Victoza because of links to thyroid cancer, pancreatitis, and severe allergic reactions.

    In addition, Public Citizen says patients who take this injectable med have quadruple the risk of acute pancreatitis of those who take other diabetes meds. The group estimates that up to 2,000 patients have gotten the condition from the drug since it was approved in 2010.

    Naturally, the company that makes the drug insists that it's safe. What else would they say? I have yet to see a drug maker respond to a safety warning with an apology.

    But the drug's own label tells me this stuff is bad news. It says right on it that it has caused thyroid cancer in lab animals -- and while it also says it's unclear whether that risk extends to humans, that's clear enough for me.

    If you're a patient taking this med -- and with $1 billion in sales last year, I know plenty of patients are -- talk to your doctor about your other options.

    Of course, most doctors will just shift you from one bad med to another. And if you have diabetes, odds are you're taking several bad meds at the same time.

    That's why I recommend that diabetics work with a holistic doctor instead -- because in many cases, holistic doctors can help their patients find the natural alternatives that can reduce their meds.

    Considering the risks of these meds, fewer is better. But there's something even better than fewer -- and that's none at all.

    You've heard that you can't cure diabetes, but you heard wrong. By committing to healthy lifestyle changes, you can reach the point where you'll no longer need meds or even insulin.

    I know you can, because I've seen it happen in my own clinic time and again.

  2. Wrong approach to obesity

    At least we're not getting fatter.

    The newest obesity numbers are in and, well, this is what passes for victory these days: Americans have had roughly the same rate of obesity for much of the past decade, with a little more than a third of us in need of plus-size clothing.

    That includes 17 percent of children, and represents almost no change since 2003.

    But is this really progress? We've got 78 million obese adults and 12.5 million obese kids, according to these new numbers from the CDC -- and tens of millions more are already overweight and ready to join their ranks.

    It's still a massive public health crisis -- but every crisis is an opportunity, and this is one opportunity the drug industry can't wait to sink its fangs into.

    Along with a host of bad weight-loss meds awaiting approval, Big Pharma is trying to push meds already on the market for other conditions -- including diabetes drugs.

    One new study has researchers practically giddy, claiming it shows that the new generation of diabetes meds -- GLP-1 agonists like Byetta and Bydureon -- can help obese non-diabetics lose weight.

    They claim these drugs helped some people lose 20 pounds -- and that in practice, they've seen patients drop up to 50 pounds while taking them.

    But just like scammy fad diet commercials, this one should come with a bold-face warning: RESULTS NOT TYPICAL.

    The study in BMJ didn't find that most people lost 50 pounds. It didn't even find that they lost 20 pounds -- or anything close to it.

    In fact, the average weight loss was just 6.4 pounds -- and who knows if that's even permanent. You might have to take the meds forever to keep that weight off.

    I don't know about you, but I don't think that's worth getting giddy over -- especially when you consider the side effects of these meds: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and more.

    Of course you'll lose some weight if you can't keep your food down -- and along with those stomach-turning side effects, GLP-1 agonists have been linked to pancreatitis as well as pancreatic and thyroid cancer.

    Who wants to risk all that to lose 6.4 pounds over 20 weeks?

    Forget meds. There's a much safer way to lose a lot more weight, and you don't need to swallow a single pill: Go sugar-free and low in carbs while eating fatty fish, farm-fresh chicken and grass-fed meats.

    It might take a little discipline -- but it's still a heck of a lot easier than taking diabetes meds for the rest of your life.

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