Archive for February, 2007

Coughing and wheezing increased with marijuana use

Recently, Yale researchers conducted a systematic review of 34 studies that evaluated the effect of marijuana smoking on pulmonary function and respiratory complications. This investigation revealed that long term, smoking marijuana has many of the same effects as smoking cigarettes, such as coughing and wheezing.

via Archives of Internal Medicine

New weight-loss pill approved by the FDA

Fat-blocking weight-loss pill, orlistat, which has been available by prescription, can now be sold in a reduced-strength version over the counter. The new¬†product will be marketed as “ally” by GlaxoSmithKline PLC. Xenical, the prescription version, has been produced by Roche Holding AG and l was initially approved in 1999 as a prescription drug to treat obesity.¬†It remains a prescription drug for obesity at twice the dose of the OTC version.

Orlistat helps produce weight loss by decreasing the intestinal absorption of fat. In controlled studies, for every five pounds people lost through diet and exercise, those using orlistat lost an additional two to three pounds. When taken with meals, orlistat blocks the absorption of about one-quarter of any fat consumed, and then results in the fat being passed out of the body in stools. About half of patients in clinical trials experienced gastrointestinal side effects such as loose stools or oily spotting. Eating a low-fat diet reduced the incidence of these adverse effects.

The 60 mg capsule can be taken up to three times a day with each fat-containing meal. Because of the possible loss of certain nutrients, the FDA recommends that people using orlistat should also take a multivitamin at bedtime.

The new OTC diet drug is approved for people 18 and older to be used along with a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet and exercise regimen. It is not for or for those who are not overweight (i.e. “Overweight” is defined as a BMI of 27 or more).

Orlistat has significant side effects. Fat that isn’t absorbed passes through the digestive system, causing abdominal pain, loose stools, oily flatulence, and even mild incontinence in some patients, depending on how well users comply with a low-fat diet. Also, people taking orlistat showed mild but consistent deficiencies of vitamins A, E, and beta-carotene. The drug’s label is expected to include recommendations that users take a daily multivitamin. Orlistat can also lead to hepatitis, gallstones and kidney stones. It is not for people who have problems absorbing food, or for those who have had organ transplants. Also, anyone taking blood-thinning medicines or being treated for diabetes or thyroid disease should consult a physician before using orlistat.

via WashingtonPost.com, Feb 8, 2007