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Read Original Story

Health claim: Weight loss shot dissolves fat


4 Star

Health claim: Weight loss shot dissolves fat

Our Review Summary

The newspaper says this column was part of an ongoing series looking at the reality behind health claims. We love such efforts.  Of course, it’s what we do every day on this site!


Why This Matters

Efforts like Jeremy Singer-Vine’s Research Report column in the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times’ Healthy Skeptic column, the Consumer Reports AdWatch series, and this Chicago Tribune series could be a model for other news organizations for devoting more space to questioning the myriad claims made about health care interventions. 


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

Costs weren’t mentioned and we wish they had been to help drive home the point of questionable cost effectiveness.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


Again, the FDA says it’s "not aware" of clinical studies showing lipodissolve is effective or safe.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


Again cites the FDA:  "Unexpected side effects include permanent scarring, skin deformation, and deep, painful knots under the skin in areas where the lipodissolve treatments were injected." 

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?


States that "the FDA says it’s ‘not aware’ of clinical studies showing lipodissolve is effective or safe."

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No disease-mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

The story only quoted an FDA official.  This is really a minor quibble in this case, but we wish we had heard from at least one clinician. 

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Applicable

The story’s sole focus was on the FDA warnings about lipodissolve, so in this case it wasn’t entirely necessary to look at other options.  Not applicable.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


Although the story didn’t explictly discuss how widespread was the use of these shots, it’s clear from the story that they’re widely available.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Applicable

The story wasn’t make any claims of novelty.  Not applicable.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure if the story relied solely on a news release.

Total Score: 5 of 7 Satisfactory


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