Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Treatment ideas for addiction to fattening foods and drinks....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-30-2010

Yesterday, AFP online health news had this story.: (So did several other news services.)

“Junkies and junk-food addicts share craving mechanism Mon Mar 29, 2010 PARIS (AFP)”

We did our post yesterday on this study.

This study was able to show that unlimited access to fattening foods and drinks actually resets the appetite to want enough more of the stuff to cause obesity and, in humans a near uncontrollable craving for a LOT of this stuff.

Clearly educating people on how dreadfully bad for them most of these foods and drinks are even in small amounts will help.

And, since unlimited amounts results in addictive consumption and obesity, this education also needs to include how very hard on you and bad for you that level of obesity is.

Some people who help people eat better or lose fat, literally help people who have been eating this way by showing up and filling a garbage can or two with their previous supplies of the all of the worst of this stuff. (Yes -- that’s wasteful in the short term. But it saves tens of thousand of dollars in the medical and drug bills it prevents. And, giving it away might very well harm the people it was given to and be a harmful and unethical choice.)

The study we reported on yesterday found that doing this to the rats they had addicted caused them to go on a hunger strike of about two weeks and eating very little normal food even when it was available. In humans, it might make sense to simply plan ahead for taking extra supplements and eating lightly since many people may simply feel temporarily less hungry for two weeks for less fattening foods.

Just learning the consequences of being addicted to fattening foods and drinks, learning what to eat and drink instead. – then tossing all the junk & learning how to eat differently HAVE worked for some people.

But it would be nice to be able to help the majority of people also who often need more than that.

So, since I remembered seeing information about a drug that sounded like a perfect match for this kind of addiction actually helping obese people lose extra weight, I just looked it up.

Naltrexone is a drug that has been found to help alcoholics with a close to uncontrollable addiction to heavy drinking stop entirely and even, in some cases, to help some learn to drink in moderation-only. Many alcoholics even were able to discontinue the drug and stay cured.

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant that has a very similar antidepressant effect on the brain to nicotine. And, it was discovered that giving Wellbutrin plus a nicotine replacement to people having trouble quitting smoking close to doubled the success rate over people who just had the nicotine replacement. (Zyban is the trade name used now for Wellbutrin that is prescribed for smoking cessation.)

So, somebody realized that if stuffing yourself was addictive and some emotional eaters were trying to become less depressed by eating treat foods until they felt better, a drug combining Naltrexone with Wellbutrin might be quite helpful in helping obese people lose fat weight.

The early reports suggests that it works like gangbusters!

The company decided to call the drug Contrave, Con or Contra meaning against and against cravings – thus Contrave.

The following story was in WebMD last June. But several other news services covered it too.:

“Contrave: New Weight Loss Drug Advances
Study: Obese Patients Lose Weight With Wellbutrin/Naltrexone Combo Pill
By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD June 8, 2009”

A new weight loss drug looks good in late-stage clinical trials.

The drug is Contrave, from Orexigen Therapeutics Inc.”

Here’s some key quotes from the story.:

“It's already known that people lose weight soon after starting Wellbutrin treatment. But this effect soon wears off, and people regain weight. That's where the naltrexone comes in, says endocrinologist Dennis D. Kim, MD, MBA, Orexigen's senior vice president for medical affairs.

"Naltrexone comes in and lifts the brake on the Wellbutrin effect," Kim tells WebMD. "So you have a synergistic effect to signal the hypothalamus to reduce food intake. Weight decrease is maintained over time." “

“The drug was tested in a clinical trial that enrolled nearly 700 obese people -- 90% of them women, with an average weight of 223 pounds. All study participants enrolled in an intensive weight loss program that included counseling, diet, and exercise. Two-thirds of the study participants also took Contrave.”

In the group that just did the program without the drug did this.:
“ After 56 weeks, they had an overall weight loss of just over 5% of their body weight -- 11 to 16 pounds. Moreover, 11% of participants who finished the study lost more than 15% of their body weight.”

“But those who took Contrave did even better.

After 56 weeks, they lost 9.3% of their body weight -- 20 to 25 pounds. And more than 29% of them lost more than 15% of their body weight.”

“Nausea, usually mild or moderate, was a frequent side effect of Contrave treatment. More patients on Contrave also reported mild-to-moderate headaches and constipation. All these side effects tended to occur early in the study.

Despite the side effects, patients on Contrave did not suffer worsening depression or psychiatric symptoms. In fact, they reported better quality of life than other participants.”

(Note that the side effects tended to go away in time. In addition, you can take ginger or literally eat it to combat mild nausea from other sources which might work for this kind of nausea also.)

It strikes me that children who get treated for obesity in a camp but then return home to find their family still consumes unlimited amounts of fattening junk or people married to spouses unwilling to give up all of their treats might be great candidates for taking this medication.

It would also help women who work in workplaces like my wife used to where both the other employees and the company provided a continuous daily stream of goodies and requests to consume it with the others.

My hope is that most people not in such bad circumstances can overcome addiction to fattening foods and drinks with learning in depth why it’s critical to stop 100 % and what to eat and drink instead.

Some people may need more initial help. They can do it but only if they have that extra help in breaking the physical addition for the first year or so.

And, some people while living in the circumstances just described -- where they have to successfully resist daily temptation too, may need to simply stay on the drugs to succeed.

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