Mid-day thoughts

I’ve got a quick break in the schedule. The office is insanely busy, but perhaps the rain is dampening the crowds.

Yesterday I started the day with a run. It wasn’t too hot yet (about 77) and the sun wasn’t up. It. Felt. Great! About a mile into it, I heard some distant thunder. No big deal. Then more.  And lightning. I turned around and picked up the pace a bit back toward the trail head. About half a mile from the end, the skies opened up. Within a few steps I was soaked to the bone—but I wasn’t hot.  It turned out to be one of my best speed runs.

There’s been a lot of news about the latest diet pill, this one with an unpronounceable name.  Qsymia is a combination of two older drugs, phentiramine and topiramate. Phentiramine, a stimulant, is somewhat effective, but in my opinion not safe for long term use. Topiramate is also good at curbing appetite, but the other side effects are often intolerable.  But let’s imagine that Qsymia is tolerated by most users.  How well will it work? The studies have shown impressive weight loss (if I recall correctly, about 10% body weight).

This optimism should be tempered by more than just the possible side effects of the drug. How long will weight loss be maintained? If past experiences hold, the weight loss will be temporary.  And as with most new drugs, we can expect a decline effect where initial positive findings appear to dwindle as more studies are done over time.

So I guess I’ll stick to running for now. There’s no pill to replace exercise for good cardiovascular health.


  1. Brian

     /  July 19, 2012

    Totally agree with you on this one.
    (1) What was the drug co. thinking when they came up with “Qsymia”? It sounds like a bad Scrabble hand.
    (2) I’ve taken Topamax before as an adjunct for panic disorder to combat the weight gain of the SSRI component. It was OK until the weight loss plateaued quickly and I ended up with kidney stones.

    I doubt there is a magic bullet, although I’ve experienced some weight loss and a definite lowering of trigylcerides by using stevia as a sweetener. I love sugar, but sugar hates me.

    I need to run more. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. For someone like me I wonder if it would help get the initial 15 lbs. off I need to lose to improve my blood sugar control a bit – then exercising wouldn’t be as much the math and frustration problem it is presently. But for a type 1 diabetic I suppose it will never be safe…

  3. Does being scared or being amped up (like on amphetamines) simulate cardiovascular exercise to any extent? I mean, your heart is beating fast, but is there more to it than that?
    For example, I have anxiety disorder. During a bout of anxiety, am I taxing my body in the right way? Fanciful, I imagine, but I am certainly curious.

  4. JustaTech

     /  July 19, 2012

    Was Phentiramine one of the “Phen”s in the infamous “Phen/Fen” diet drug of the 90’s?

  5. yes

  6. saffronrose

     /  July 20, 2012

    I was on topiramate for two years, as a mood stabilizer, until it simply stopped working. Yes, I lost weight, maybe 15 lbs., but it came back once I went to a different MS. However, this lifetime insomniac had the first restful sleep in over 20 years after about a month on it. Ah, that I could get that access to restful sleep again! Going back on an even smaller dose (25mg/d) affected neither my weight nor my sleep, dratitall.

    MY side-effects were
    a) anything carbonated tasted absolutely foul. The good side of that was that it broke my cola “addiction”, and I might have two sodas a week now, instead of two a day. They are either diet or sugar-sweetened, of ginger, lemon, rootbeer, or butterbeer flavors, but mostly I drink water, and a pint of milk in my morning latte
    b) accessing the correct word went by the wayside–I could feel being prevented from getting to it. I would be talking and lose a word in the middle of it! This is also a known side effect. It was not age related: I have that now, and I can get around the word-choice issue by trying to think of a synonym, or how it starts, and get there within a minute or two. I now understand why I was completing so many of my mother’s sentences
    c) concentration went out the window as well. That was at 75mg/d. We agreed that 67.5 (or something midway between 50 and 75) was as high a dose as I should take, and that was subclinical
    d) tied in with c) above was that 75% of the time, I would be walking towards a place in order to do something specific, and when arriving–even just across a small room–had completely forgotten what I’d set out to do. Topiramate works as a mood stabilizer by interrupting short-term memory. To a certain extent, this was like the Napoleonic Code of Justice: each thought presumed dangerous, and to be short-circuited, until proven otherwise, but without being able to prove anything.

    My son is on it as a migraine preventitive. He has NONE of my side effects, or any others that I can think of. You have to know that I hate his guts for that, lucky stiff that he is. I don’t recall having fewer headaches of any kind while on it, and he’s not losing weight on it, either.

    Given that this oddly named drug will likely only take off 10% of my weight, has more side effects, and scarier ones, than I want to consider. While it would, should I comply with all the rules, take off considerably more of my body weight, I will not even consider bariatric surgery/gastric bypass surgery. I have seen too many friends facing life-threatening problems with those surgeries a few years out. The nutrition non-absorption issue is the single scariest aspect for me, and I understand that that is non-reversible, even should you have the surgery reversed, as a friend of mine had done.

    I consider that worse for my overall health than “mere” obesity.

%d bloggers like this: