Patients commonly discontinue semaglutide weight-loss treatment

Posted 19th June 2024

An analysis of nationally representative, commercial insurance data has found while prescriptions of semaglutide drugs for weight management have increased exponentially, many patients discontinued the drugs before achieving clinically meaningful weight loss.

Key findings include:

  • about half the patients who received prescriptions stayed on treatment for a minimum of 12 weeks, enough time to achieve clinically meaningful weight loss
  • 30% of patients discontinued treatment within four weeks, before reaching the targeted dose
  • patients aged 35 and older were more likely to stay on GLP-1 treatment for at least 12 weeks
  • patients who regularly visited their healthcare providers were more likely to stay on the drugs

The report notes that almost all new users of the drugs suffer some gastrointestinal side effects. Patients often stop treatment due to difficulty coping with vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.

Reference: Real-world trends in GLP-1 treatment persistence and prescribing for weight managementRead the rest

Online weight-loss drug scams described

Posted 19 June 2024

McAfee’s Threat Research Team has described the problem of malicious websites, emails and texts, posts on social media, and marketplace listings used by scammers to capitalize on both high demand and high prices for semaglutide drugs that can help with weight loss.

McAfee researchers reported:

  • 449 risky website URLs and 176,871 dangerous phishing attempts centered around Ozempic, Wegovy, and semaglutide
  • scammers on Facebook impersonate doctors based outside of the U.S. and promise semaglutide drugs without a prescription
  • there were 207 scam postings in just one day in April for Ozempic on Craigslist and similar marketplaces
  • scammers offered drugs at too-good-to-be-true, deeply discounted prices
  • scammers offered to accept payment through Bitcoin, Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App, which are nonstandard methods for prescription drug payment.
  • scammers may fail to deliver drugs consumers paid for or may even deliver fakes. Examples include EpiPens loaded with allergy medication, insulin pens,
Read the rest

“Adaptogen” marketing debunked

Posted 19 June 2024

Yale University clinical neurologist Steven Novella, M.D., has noted the term “adaptogen” used in marketing some dietary supplements is vaguely defined and “just another marketing buzzword for snake oil products.” Claims made for adaptogens are akin to meaningless “structure-function” claims tolerated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Health Education Act (DSHEA) such as ”boosting the immune system,” “increasing energy,” and “supporting a positive outlook.” Novella calls adaptogens “the same con with a new label.”

Reference: Novella S. What are “adaptogens”? Science-Based Medicine, June 5, 2024

Source: Consumer Health Digest #24-24, June 16, 2024

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Bogus “alternative medicine” diagnoses described

Posted 27 May 2024

Professor Edzard Ernst, who was the world’s first department chairperson in complementary medicine, has posted on his blog a four-part series on the fake diagnoses of so-called alternative medicine.

  • Part 1 addresses adrenal fatigue, candidiasis hypersensitivity, and alleged chronic intoxications eliminated by so-called “detox” treatments.
  • Part 2 addresses chronic Lyme disease, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and homosexuality.
  • Part 3 addresses leaky gut syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity, and neurasthenia.
  • Part 4 covers vaccine overload, vertebral subluxation, and yin/yang imbalance.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #24-21. May 26, 2024

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Homemark admits its zappers’ lights don’t kill mozzies

Posted 08 March 2024

By Georgina Crouth

Daily Maverick

The company, which has been hauled before the advertising authorities repeatedly for false advertising, says zappers lure mozzies into a trap, which then kills them. But UV light alone doesn’t work.

Ever bought a UV-light mosquito zapper and wondered why it wasn’t zapping dead legions of the little buggers?Chris van Eeden is likely to be one of many consumers duped into buying the devices to kill mosquitoes. Peaved because his didn’t work, he took his complaint about a Homemark television advertisement for a “killer” electric mosquito USB lamp – that is claimed to electrocute the flying parasites – to the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB).

The 30-second advert describes the device as a USB-powered mosquito killer that is “chemical-free and safe for loved ones and pets”.

“The energy-efficient ultraviolet light helps to lure the mosquitoes and other flying pests closer to the

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Don’t Be Fooled: Here’s What ‘FDA Approved’ Really Means

Posted 19 February 2024

From The Conversation

If you’ve ever reached for a bottle of moisturizer labeled “patented” or “FDA approved,” you might want to think twice. In a recent study of hundreds of advertisements, I found that supplements and beauty products often misleadingly use these terms to suggest safety or efficacy.

As a law professor, I suspect this is confusing for consumers, maybe even dangerous. Having a patent means only that you can stop others from making, using, selling or importing your invention. It doesn’t mean the invention works or that it won’t blow up in your face.

“FDA approved,” meanwhile, means a product’s benefits have been found to outweigh its risks for a specific purpose – not that it’s of high quality or low risk in general.

Led astray by the label

I wanted to know whether companies exploit these sorts of misunderstandings, so I analyzed hundreds … Read the rest

Most direct-to-consumer medical tests advertised online found not useful

Posted 30 January 2024

Australian researchers have found most direct-to-consumer (DTC) diagnostic, screening and risk-monitoring tests sold online are unlikely to benefit the average consumer.

Reference: Shih P, and others. Direct-to-consumer tests advertised online in Australia and their implications for medical overuse: Systematic online review and a typology of clinical utility. BMJ Open, 13(12):e074205, 2023

Two of the researchers independently conducted systematic searches using Google and Google Shopping in October 2020 and identified 177 home self-tests, 65 self-collected direct-access pathology tests (DAPTs), and 242 lab-collected DAPTs. Out of all 484 tests, researchers found:

  • 7% had potential clinical utility
  • 6% had limited clinical utility
  • 9% were non-evidence-based commercial ‘health checks’
  • 7% had methods and/or target conditions not recognized by the general medical community

The last category included these methods lacking clinical validity for conditions they’re intended to test for:

  • (a) hair metal and mineral analysis, and mycotoxin test for environmental
Read the rest

The Benefits and Side Effects of Ginseng

Posted 29 January 2024

What do more than 100 clinical trials on red ginseng, white ginseng, and American ginseng show?
An investigation by Dr Michael Greger M.D. FACLM
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Researchers warn of hazards of inadequately regulated dietary supplements

Posted 15 Jan 2024

After a review of several databases, researchers with Touro College of Pharmacy and Nova Southeastern University’s College of Pharmacy have identified a total of 79,071 reported adverse events related to the use of dietary supplements. The events were reported to U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) between 2004 and 2021. Their searches for adverse-event reports included the use of vitamin E (vitamin derivative), beta-sitosterol (plant sterol) yohimbine, kava kava, kratom, garcinia cambogia, herbal products, and OxyElite Pro (marketed for weight loss).

Key points made in their paper include:

  • Vitamin E supplementation has documented interaction with several routine medications.
  • Over a thousand adverse events regarding the use of a prostate support supplement called Super Beta Prostate containing beta-sitosterol were reported to CFSAN in the past two decades. Most of the reports involved finding blood in the urine.
  • Poison centers
Read the rest

FDA warns about complications of unapproved fat-dissolving injections.

Posted 14 Jan 2024

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of adverse reactions to fat-dissolving injections that are not FDA-approved. The reactions have included permanent scars, serious infections, skin deformities, cysts, and deep, painful muscle knots. In addition, improper or unsafe injection practices by unlicensed personnel can increase the risk of scarring and skin infections. The safe and effective uses of these products depend on the correct number and location of injections, proper needle placement, and proper administration technique. Some consumers received the injections at clinics or medical spas by personnel who might not have been properly licensed to give the injections.

Some consumers who reported complications purchased the drugs online and injected it themselves. Consumers should not purchase ingredients for unapproved fat-dissolving injections or inject the drugs themselves.

Unapproved fat-dissolving injections are being marketed online under brand names such as Aqualyx, Lipodissolve, Lipo Lab, Kabelline, … Read the rest