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Read Original Story

Weight Loss Pill Also Lowers Blood Pressure

Rating

4 Star

Weight Loss Pill Also Lowers Blood Pressure

Our Review Summary

Although highlighting the effect of this product on blood pressure, the story did not explain how much blood pressure dropped. 

The story also didn’t say how common the side effects are or how often people have to discontinue the medication due to side effects.

It would have been helpful to remind readers of the possible pitfalls that may be ahead and that little is known about the long term use of this product in terms of both weight loss and potential risks that might result.

 

Why This Matters

Obesity and high blood pressure are very common conditions.  There are few treatment for obesity that have been demonstrated to be enable people to lose weight and maintain that loss. 

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

 There was no discussion of costs.

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

Satisfactory

The story included quantitive information about weight loss over time. It did not quantify the impact on blood pressure.

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

Satisfactory

The story mentioned specific side effects of this particular medication combination.

To be most informative to readers, the story should have mentioned that the potential for long-term harm is not known.  And the rate at which people stopped taking the drug due to side effects should have been included.

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

Not Satisfactory

While indicating that several studies had been conducted in more than 4,500 people with various characteristics, the story never mentioned whether the studies are considered definitive or not; it also did not mention that the results of these studies have not yet been published in peer-reviewed journals.  And while reporting that weight loss appeared to be dose dependent, there was no discussion of how weight loss compared with those in control groups.   Lastly – as the focus of the story appeared to be on an effect on blood pressure, it would seem that the story should have included some detail about the magnitude of the change.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

 The story did not engage in overt disease mongering.

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

Satisfactory

The story mention that the study author and Dr. Aronne received funding from the manufacturer of this drug.  It also included a quote from the president of the American Society of Hypertension who does not appear to have a financial tie to this product.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

 There was no information about how well this product works in comparison with other approaches to weight loss.

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

Satisfactory

It’s pretty clear from the story that the combination of the two drugs is not yet available.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

 The story reported that the drug was a combination of two commercially available medications.  

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

Satisfactory

It does not appear that the story relied solely or largely on a news release.

Total Score: 7 of 10 Satisfactory

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