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Thursday February 12, 5:18 pm Eastern Time

New Diet Drug Is Not a `Miracle Cure,' says National Medical Society

Company Press Release

SOURCE: American Society of Bariatric Physicians

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- While welcoming the new prescription appetite suppressant Meridia to the marketplace, the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) cautioned the dieting public to not look at the new medication as a ``miracle cure'' for overweight and obesity.

``Meridia certainly has the promise of being a useful tool in the medical treatment of obesity, but overweight people should not embrace any medication as the only way to lose weight and keep it off,'' said Larry A. Richardson, M.D., Spring, Texas, president of the 1,500-member national medical society whose members specialize in treating obesity and associated conditions. Knoll Pharmaceutical Co. announced today that it has begun distribution of the medication to wholesalers and pharmacies nationwide.

``Historically, we know that prescription appetite suppressants help people lose weight and can be very useful in a comprehensive medical weight management program,'' he said, ``but a comprehensive weight loss program must include changes in diet and nutrition, exercise and lifestyle modifications if it is to be effective in the long term.

``These medications, including Meridia, can be a useful adjunct to a weight loss program for persons who are seriously overweight, but are not appropriate for persons wishing to lose only a few pounds,'' he said.

Dr. Richardson said that Meridia, like other anorectics, or appetite suppressants, is intended for patients whose body mass index (BMI) is 30 or more, or 27 if other risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, etc.) are present.

Formed in 1950, ASBP is a national professional medical society of licensed physicians who offer specialized programs in bariatrics -- the treatment of obesity and associated conditions. The society conducts an extensive program of continuing medical education to ensure that the physicians are able to use the newest and most effective techniques in treating obesity and provides information to the public.

Information about ASBP or obesity treatment may be obtained by calling (303) 770-2526 or visiting ASBP's website at http://www.asbp.org/bariatrics.