The Nation's Health + [Metabolic syndrome]

Metabolic syndrome: "Drug no cure for gluttony"

That's the headline I'd like to see associated with rosiglitazone, brand name Avandia.

The recent negative press, whether deserved or not, surrounding the prescription drug rosiglitazone for pre-diabetes and diabetes highlights the fact that drugs never--never --substitute for what we can achieve with lifestyle changes.

Typically, rosiglitazone reduces blood sugar a few milligrams, reduces C-reactive protein, and very modestly reduces triglycerides and its associated evil lipoprotein friends. It also causes an average weight gain of 8 lb in the first year of use.

What will weight loss achieve, especially if accomplished through dramatic reduction or elimination of processed carbohydrates and wheat products, along with fish oil supplementation, vitamin D normalization, and exercise? Extraordinary benefits, far superior to what is achievable with this drug. In fact, while rosiglitazone is a Band-Aid for this process, the lifestyle changes can represent a cure in many or most instances.

It should come as no surprise that a drug that does nothing more than increase sensitivity to insulin cannot erase the devastating effects of an unhealthy life. Take rosiglitazone but neglect exercise, don't bother with vitamin D, indulge in pretzels and breakfast cereals, gain more weight . . . It serves the drug company's agenda better than it serves health.