The study tested the effects of a drug called Enbrel (entanercept) on subjects with metabolic syndrome. Folks with this syndrome tend to be overweight and the excess fat they carry around their waists produces inflammatory chemicals that increase their risk of heart disease. Enbrel is a potent anti-inflammatory drug that is approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritisan incurable condition that often brings crippling pain and disability.
Enbrel is a very costly drug that carries serious risks, including increased occurrence of tuberculosis and other infections, congestive heart failure, and lymphoma. For those suffering from RA, those risks might be well justified. But to use Enbrel to reduce inflammation in those who simply need to lose weight is pure insanity.
The Enbrel study (which was published in the April 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine) found that Enbrel was effective in reducing the levels of C-reactive protein and other markers of inflammation in patients with metabolic syndrome. Although Enbrel is not currently approved for the treatment of metabolic syndrome, doctors always have the option of using medications off label. In response to this research, some physicians might begin prescribing Enbrel for their over-weight patients. I hope they dont.
Studies show that a diet emphasizing anti-inflammatory foods rapidly reduces inflammation as well as improves insulin response, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure, and all the other risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. Whats more, an anti-inflammatory diet can also reduce your risk of Alzheimers disease, depression, cancer, and osteoporosis. It can even make your skin look more youthful. Talk about a win-win!
There are clearly cases where drugs mean the difference between life and deathor between a life of pain and disability and a life worth living. This is not one of them.