Why can't they make an anti-hunger pill?

I know many people gain too much weight because they eat too much for other reasons (depression, boredom, etc.). But I know that I (and many others) gain too much weight because I am just stinking hungry all the time.

Modern medicine has produced drugs that can make the body do all sorts of things. They have invented a million pain suppressants, they have created drugs that make the body accept “foreign” body parts, they have created multiple types of anti-depressants, etc.

Why making is a hunger-suppressant so difficult? Is on hunger a fundamentally different level than so many other body/mind altering drugs?

Yea, I am sure it could be misused, but that doesn’t stop pain meds from being made.

Whats the deal? Where is my hunger suppressant?

I take a hunger supressent daily. It’s called Adderall. Not what it was prescribed for but it’s sure a nice side effect of the stimulant.

If I may piggyback a question to Hermitian’s OP:

Whatever happened to all those over-the-counter appetite suppresants that were advertised on American TV in the 80s? Dexatrim seemed like the leading brand, but there were others. I think the terribly-timed Ayds “candy” was another. Did they just not work? Too much potential for abuse? All of the above?

Dexatrim was an amphetamine. Dextroamphetamine, if I recall, and not much different from Meth.

There are plenty.

Bad timing? You mean the Great Depression? Ayds was first marketed under that name in the 1930s.

I recall it being heavily advertised on television in the early 1970s, well before public awareness of the disease Aids.

There is a list of drugs there, but I don’t recognize any of them. I am assuming they are either really expensive or don’t work all that well. Considering that 1/3 of Americans are obese, these ought to be the popular products on the drug market today.

Am I missing something?

The appetite suppressants prescribed in the past have turned out to be addictive, potentially fatal, or ineffective.

Your body senses hunger from several different angles. It can tell when your blood sugar is low, when your stomach is empty, when your circadian rhythm says it’s time to eat…I’m sure there’s more.

Considering all the things an effective pill would have to suppress, is it surprising that they always turn out to be highly dangerous?

I remember those ads, too. I knew Ayds had some history, but I didn’t realize it was quite that old.

Still in all: when I think back about the Ayds commercials, the first through 100th things I think about are the Ayds/AIDS naming connection.

To my surprise, Dexatrim is still being sold, but with a different formulation centered on phenylpropanolamine.

And now that I’ve thought about this some more … there are still over-the-counter appetite suppresant commericals on TV – Alli being especially prominent. The marketing seems different, though. In the 80s, they’d imply that you just pop some super-safe Dexatrim, and you wouldn’t feel like eating for the better part of a day. Alli seems to be marketed as more of a long-term, slow-and-steady “diet plan”.

(C) They are available only by prescription.

After further research … I’m dead wrong here. The active ingregient of Alli (and it’s prescription form, Xenical), Orlistat, is not a appetite suppresant. Instead, it works by preventing fat absorption from food.


Wrong about this, too. Dexatrim no longer contains this drug:

This topic is not easy for the layman to research. :frowning:

Damn. I got all excited there for a minute. PPA’s been banned for OTC use in the US for over a decade, and I was hoping that had changed. Nope. Dexatrim here uses a proprietary blend of B vitamins, green and oolong teas and panax ginseng. Boo. I want PPA back!

ETA: Their ingredients aren’t all that mysterious. They’re on the label and at the website under Supplement Factsin each product description.

My neighbor’s dog is on phenylpropanolamine, so apparently it is available for veterinary use. If you don’t mind liver flavor.:wink:

A stereoisomer of methamphetamine. Under trade names dexedrine, benzedrine, and methedrine, the amphetamines were available in OTC medications until the mid 1960s, when they started becoming increasingly regulated, the level of abuse being very evident. You had appetite supressants, stay awake pills and benzedrine or methedrine inhalers for nasal decongestants. People would abuse the latter by taking the inhaler apart and chewing on the amphetamine soaked strips in them.

And, it works best if taken in combination with a lower-fat diet…if you eat fatty foods while taking Alli, the fat just passes right on through, with potentially messy results. :eek:

Next time I have a cold, I may just show up at the vet’s! PPA was the only decongestant that ever worked for me! Pesky stroke risks… :smiley:

There are a variety but they all either have bad side effects or stop working after a year or so. Hunger involves various channels, and if one stops working due to a drug another one just seems to overcompensate.

Obesity is pretty hard to control medically. What has been found lately is that after you lose weight and your biochemistry gets all screwy, taking supplemental leptin can help reverse all those changes so you can stabalize at a lower weight. So there might be promise in leptin as a weight maintenance drug, since maintenance is really where all the problems lie. Most people can lose weight, they just can’t keep it off for more than a few years.