Wanna Lose Weight?…Here Comes Big Pharma's Newest and Bestest Magic Bullet

poppin pills1 Wanna Lose Weight?...Here Comes Big Pharma's Newest and Bestest Magic Bullet

Back in May of this year, I told you about Tesofensine, a new diet drug being developed by the Danish drug company, NeuroSearch.

Well, it’s back in the news.

A new study, published in the online version of the Lancet, is singing the praises of Big Pharma’s latest attempt at weight loss in a pill.

Following up on their initial tests, this latest study claims that “Tesofensine produces a weight loss of approximately 10 percent more than placebo and diet in obese patients,” said lead researcher Dr. Arne Astrup, from the Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, at the University of Copenhagen.

Other drugs produce only about 5 percent weight loss, Astrup noted.

The researchers seem to be pretty excited about tesofensine’s ability to compete head to head with gastric bypass surgery for the title of medical weight loss champion.

bariatric surgery Wanna Lose Weight?...Here Comes Big Pharma's Newest and Bestest Magic Bullet

According to the researchers, “This drug could replace the need for gastric bypass surgery in some obese patients”.

“There is an enormous gap between the existing weight-loss compounds and gastric surgery,” Astrup said. “Tesofensine could close that gap.

“If you combine the drug with an effective diet, you could probably reach the 20 percent weight loss seen in gastric surgery.”

This is my favorite part of the quote:

“Tesofensine could compete with gastric surgery and be offered to those who are below the threshold for surgery or for patients who do not wish [to have] gastric surgery,” Astrup said.

“There are also patients who cannot tolerate gastric surgery.”

So let me get this straight.

Finally, there is a solution for all of those poor unfortunate overweight individuals who happen to be below the threshold for gastric surgery, cannot tolerate surgery or foolishly do not wish to have gastric surgery.

And that solution is:


tesofensine Wanna Lose Weight?...Here Comes Big Pharma's Newest and Bestest Magic Bullet

Perhaps there is another solution.

How about a little less of this:

bigfatburger Wanna Lose Weight?...Here Comes Big Pharma's Newest and Bestest Magic Bullet

And a little more of this:

mathew mcconaughey Wanna Lose Weight?...Here Comes Big Pharma's Newest and Bestest Magic Bullet

Instead of:

Relying on a pharmaceutical solution which:

  • Alters levels of three key brain chemicals – serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline

Professor Steve O’Rahilly, a Cambridge University obesity expert, said: ‘If we could treat obesity, like we treat high blood pressure, with safe, effective and affordable drugs this would be an enormous boon to health care.

‘To date, obesity drugs that have been effective have not been safe, and conversely those that are safer, are relatively ineffective. The results with this new drug demonstrate that, over a six-month period, it is quite effective.

However, as the drug is likely to have actions on parts of the brain not involved in weight control, the risk of serious side effects on longer-term administration will need to be watched very carefully.’

  • Stops working as soon as you stop taking it.

Once starting the drug, people would need to keep taking it to maintain the benefit, Astrup said. “There is no treatment that is working beyond its taking. This is true for all anti-diabetic medication, hypertension medication and everything, including anti-obesity drugs,” he said. “It’s a long-term treatment, and, in some cases, a permanent treatment to keep body weight down.

  • And has numerous short-term side effects:
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Mood changes, such as anger and confusion
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Increased Blood Pressure

The choice is yours.


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Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.


  1. Thomas Aquino

    November 10, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    I think I see the future of exercise motivation and the Japanese are way ahead of us. They have a robot that runs, and a robot that acts like a pretty receptionist from the neck up. If only they could make that running robot look like a pretty receptionist from the neck down, all us overweight guys would have plenty to follow and keep our attention focused on while we jogged our way to perfect health.

  2. Dawn

    November 6, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    It would be great to think diet and exercise would take care of everyone’s weight problems. It is NOT however, realistic. Those of us who have severe joint problems, arthritis, diabetes, and other problems find exercise difficult if not impossible. Walking is difficult and painful to the already damaged joints. The idea of jogging or even walking any distance is extremely daunting – even now AFTER I have already had a gastric bypass and lost a significant amount of weight. I feel better – a little like a chinese sharpei with way too much skin, but better. No diabetes now, need to have lost more though. So pills are a joke. When you weigh over 300 lbs, a 10% weight loss is a joke! Or actually no joke. I needed to be even more self disciplined. But hey, I wish I had done the surgery 15 years earlier so my joints wouldn’t be so bad. They are all supposed to be replaced, but I have refused it. Even the lap band would be of some help and less invasive and extensive than the Roux N Y

    • healthhabits

      November 6, 2009 at 10:47 pm

      Hey Dawn,

      You are 100% right that diet & exercise isn’t the solution for everyone.

      Different people have different challenges that require different solutions.

      If you feel that I can be of any help, don’t hesitate to ask. Shoot me an email if you want me to look at your nutrition plan.

      I know this isn’t exactly your issue, but I have worked with a lot of clients with fibro/arthritis/chronic pain, so I may be able to help you with program design. We wouldn’t be looking at a fat-burning program. it would be more of a lifestyle improvement/muscle imbalance/posture & pain reduction program.

      You may also want to peruse the archives…since you brought up diabetes, I would guess that diet related hormone imbalances have been a problem in the pass – this post may be of interest to you

      Thanks for the comment

  3. nick

    April 23, 2009 at 8:51 am

    you kno, the older I get the more I love to eat…I cant explain why…but seriously, who cares about obesity, we got statins to help prevent heart attacks…

  4. DR

    November 4, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    And yet more and more people are lining up for lap-band or gastric bypass surgery every year.


  5. Super-Trainer

    November 3, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    LOL – It definitely seems like it would be a lot less hassle to go ahead and avoid those cheeseburgers every once in a while, rather than resorting to expensive drugs or surgeries -

  6. Steve Parker, M.D.

    October 24, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I finally read the article abstract.

    The placebo plus energy-restricted diet cohort lost 2% of body weight. Energy-restricted, drugged subjects (0.5 mg) lost 9.2% of body weight.

    For perspective, assume dieters were 200 lb at start of the study. Placebo group lost 4 lb. Drugged group lost 18.4 lb.

    So the drug looks better than I thought initially. It’s a small study and requires confirmation and long-term follow-up, but it does look twice as potent than other drugs on the market.

    Many metabolic and medical disorders associated with obesity improve with loss of just 5 or 10% of body weight.


  7. charliedw

    October 24, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    I like the pictures where you say “How about a little less of this” and “And a bit more of this”. If I had a woman like the one in the picture, I’d be slim as a rake too :)

  8. Anya

    October 24, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Causes insomnia, mood swings, increased heart rate and blood pressure…seems to me that while you would lose some weight the pill isn’t making you any healthier.

  9. Steve Parker, M.D.

    October 24, 2008 at 12:29 am

    “Following up on their initial tests, this latest study claims that “Tesofensine produces a weight loss of approximately 10 percent more than placebo and diet in obese patients,” said lead researcher…”

    You lose 10 pounds in six months with diet and placebo. An extra 10% weight loss gets you to 11 pounds. No thanks.


  10. rambodoc

    October 24, 2008 at 3:36 am

    “wouldn’t you rather have them lose weight and probably be less of a burden on the health care system by taking this pill? “
    Unfortunately, this pill wouldn’t do that if the weight loss is just 11%, and possibly even less, if experience with previous drugs is any indicator. On top of that, you can’t take these drugs for longer than six or twelve months.

  11. Laura

    October 24, 2008 at 3:06 am

    I respectfully ask you to consider the positives to this drug. (and no, I have no stake in it, and this is the first I’ve heard of it.) If there are a bunch of fat people who won’t exercise but aren’t GB candidates, wouldn’t you rather have them lose weight and probably be less of a burden on the health care system by taking this pill? It has to be cheaper than paying for knee replacements and drugs for diabetes, cancer, and the other myriad of illnesses related to being fat. And yes, I can see how it’s just trading one drug dependence for another, but until there’s a pill for exercise motivation…..

  12. m

    October 23, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Yay! No more working out! JK…unbelievable! Another A+ nice post!

  13. rambodoc

    October 24, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Sorry, menat a 65-70% fat loss.

  14. rambodoc

    October 24, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Point made is perfect, DR!
    They say there is a 20% weight (fat) loss of after gastric bypass surgery? BS! It is more like 65-7-%! And it is a permanent one!

  15. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

    October 23, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    You are such a party pooper. Actually I will always be leery of weight loss meds. I have seen so many come and go in the past.

  16. asithi

    October 23, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Start taking one medication and you will probably end up taking many others in order to mask the side effects of the first. What a great way to hook us all in.