Weight-Loss Regimen for Diabetics Questioned

Small number of pounds shed may not be worth it in long run

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MONDAY, July 12, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- An antidepressant and two weight-loss drugs can help diabetics shed pounds, but doctors are not yet convinced that the combination therapy is worth it, according to a new study.

The antidepressant drug fluoxetine (sold as Prozac) and the weight-loss drugs orlistat (Xenical) and sibutramine (Meridia) all produced weight loss within a year for patients with type 2 diabetes, researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

However, the weight loss was modest -- 5.7 pounds to 12.7 pounds -- and doctors aren't sure the long-term health benefits are clear.

Both obesity and diabetes are on the rise in the United States, and doctors are looking for ways to combat both.

Obesity in the United States increased from 12 percent in 1991 to 18 percent in 1998, and recent survey data indicate that 65 percent of Americans are overweight.

Diabetes increased 49 percent in the United States during the 1990s, and 8.6 percent of people older than 20 have the disease.

The report appears in the July 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

More information

The National Institutes of Health has more about weight loss.

SOURCES: American Medical Association, news release, July 12, 2004

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