Monthly Archives: June 2007

Ali or Ally? What do you think?

The people who market the new weight loss drug Alli want us pronounce their product “Ally” for the obvious reason that an Ally is a friend and helper.

I say that no matter what the advertising executives want us to believe, the word Alli must be pronounced like “Ali” as in Mohammed Ali who is a fighter not a lover. After all, the reptile whose name includes “alli” is an “ali” gator not an “ally” gator.

So give it up you foolish advertising people who make millions thinking up brand names. You can’t trick everyone into misusing the English language! And remember the slogan has come up with, and offers to let you use for Free. “Alli (Ali) is the Greatest Fat fighter! It will knock the crap out of you!

Weight Loss Drug Changes Name, Exhibits Bad Behavior

The Latest on Ramonabant – the upcoming weight loss drug.

Ramona has been in our thoughts and dreams for sometime now. You might say we are a little obsessed with Ramona. By Ramona I mean ramonabant, the appetite supressant which goes by the name Acomplia in Europe. We have been following the news of her arrival in the U.S. with great anticipation for the past year.

Now we have word that Ramona is changing her name to Zimulti. Zimulti does sound a bit Mediterranean and may reflect the diet pill’s origins in Europe. Why she has taken on this assumed name confuses us. What is even more disturbing is that it has been learned that Ramona, Acomplia or Zimulti is associated with a risk of suicidal thoughts in those who use this drug. Is she truly capable of driving people out of their minds?

Sources tell us that Ramona/Zimulti is headed for review by the FDA in the U.S. next month (July). As always all we can do is sit and wait for the word from above whether our dear Ramona will be headed our way soon or will become an outcast fated to languish out of reach on a distant continent.

Food Products Which Boost Metabolism

One of the most frequently asked questions by members of is whether there are food products which can boost metabolism and help their diet. While many products claim to boost metabolism unfortunately there are few which really do.

Research has shown that a compound in green tea known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) has metabolism boosting properties. Coca-Cola Company is taking advantage of this by supplementing one of their new beverages, Enviga, with EGCG. In addition to the green tea compound Enviga contains another well known booster, caffeine. Calcium is also added to the mixture. Well controlled scientific studies have shown a modest metabolic increase in people consuming Enviga three times a day for several days. Another similar product is marketed under the brand name Celsius, by the Elite Company.

There are multiple other health benefits attributed to EGCG, thought mostly due to its antioxidant effects. Some experts believe that EGCG can help prevent heart disease, cancer and diabetes as well as boost metabolism. Many different foods contain EGCG including black tea, Oolong tea, chocolate, fruits and vegetables. EGCG can also be obtained in capsule form.

Our thought at is that people who really want to amp up there weight loss program could use Enviga or Celsius to wash down their Alli pills (see our post about Alli diet pill)

These comments are not intended to convey medical advice. Only your personal health care professional can advise you about medical treatments or health conditions.

Gary Pepper M.D.

© Photographer: Ahnhuynh | Agency:

Old News About Avandia and Actos Makes the Front Page NY Times

Today’s NY Times carries a front page article about the dangers of Actos and Avandia, two popular diabetes medications. The reason behind the news story is that the FDA has finally required the two companies that make these diabetes drugs to carry a “black box” warning (the strongest labeling warning that can be applied) about the potential for congestive heart failure (overload of fluid in the heart and lungs) in diabetics using these drugs. Is this warning really news? Not to doctors.

I have been to numerous seminars on the use of these two diabetes drugs and have been paid by the companies that manufacture these drugs to educate other health care professionals about the use and hazards of these drugs. Both companies gave all representatives and speakers the strictest instructions regarding their obligation to carefully mention the potential for fluid overload and congestive heart failure associated with the use of these drugs. I know that my colleagues, particularly the cardiologists (heart doctors) and endocrinologists (diabetes doctors), have been acutely aware of this information for years.

Did you know that the type of drugs known as sulfonylureas that have been used to treat diabetes since the 1960’s and remain popular today carry a “black box” warning since the 1970’s about the potential for causing heart disease? This class of drug include Diabinese, Orinase, DiaBeta, Micronase, glyburide, and glipizide. Why are these drugs still in widespread use, and where are the stories notifying the public about this? What’s the big deal about the black box warning on Actos and Avandia?

I think I smell some politics going on. The Commissioner of the FDA, Dr. von Eschenback, was appointed by President Bush in 2005. The harshest critics of the FDA on this issue are the Democrats on the House Panel. Coming out of the woodwork are various “injured” parties who were criticised by company representatives for speaking out against these drugs in 1999. These stories warrant a separate column in The Times today.

Are there real risks to taking Actos and Avandia in the treatment of diabetes. Of course there are, just as there is a real risk of treating diabetes with just about any drug. It is up to the medical profession to remain vigilant and educated about these risks and to balance them with the benefits. Inflammatory front page news stories which create an atmosphere of mistrust and hysteria may serve only narrow political purposes.

This blogged comment at is not intended to convey medical advice. Diabetics are encouraged to contact their own healthcare professional about advice about what to do at this time. Most authorities encourage the public not to panic and to wait instructions from their physician before altering their medical treatment.