Less than a year ago, a new generation of diet pills seemed to offer the long-sought answer to our chronic weight problems. Hundreds of thousands of pound-conscious Americans had discovered that a drug combination known as "fen-phen" could shut off voracious appetites like magic, and the FDA had just approved a new drug, Redux, that did the same with fewer side effects. Redux would attract hundreds of thousands of new pill poppers within a few months.
But now the diet-drug revolution is facing a backlash. Some of the nation"s largest HMOs, including Aetna U.S. Healthcare and Prudential Healthcare have begun cutting back or eliminating reimbursement (退款补偿、报销) for both pills. Diet chains like Jenny Craig and Nutri/System are backing away from them too. Several states, meanwhile, have restricted the use of fen-phen. Last week the Florida legislature banned new prescriptions entirely and called on doctors to wean (使断绝) current patients from the drug within 30 days; it also put a 90-day limit on Redux prescriptions. Even New Jersey doctor Sheldon Levine, who touted Redux last year on TV and in his book The Redux Revolution, has stopped giving it to all but his most obese patients.
The reason for all the retrenchment (紧缩、删节): potentially lethal side effect s. Over the summer, the FDA revealed that 82 patients had developed defects in t heir heart values while on fen-phen, and that seven patients had come down with the same condition on Redux.
As if that weren"t bad enough, physicians reported that a woman who had been taking fen-phen for less than a month died of primary pulmonary hypertension, a sometimes fatal lung condition already associated with Redux. And an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month confirmed earlier report s that both fen-phen and Redux can cause brain damage in lab animals.
These findings led the New England Journal to publish editorial admonishing doctors to prescribe the drugs only for patients with severe obesity. Meanwhile, FDA asked drug makers to put more explicit warnings on fen-phen and Redux labels. Since mid-July, prescriptions for fen-phen have dropped 56%, and those for Redux 36%, according to IMS America, a pharmaceutical market research firm. All that really does, however, is to bring the numbers down toswheresthey should have been all along. Manufacturers said from the start that their pills offered a short-term therapy for the obese, not for people looking to fitsintosa small e r bathing suit. FDA approved Redux with just such a caveat, and when limited to these patients, the drugs may still make sense-despite the risks-because mor bi d obesity carries its own dangers, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Too often, however, Redux and fen-phen were peddled to all comers, almost like candy. The current backlash, says Levine, is a "roller coaster that never should have happened."
1.The new pills seemed to be a solution to ____.
A. the problem of obesity that has obsessed the Americans for a long time
B. the problem that is of great weight and significance
C. the vital problem caused by the pills
D. the threatening situation we are facing in the long run
2.The statement "diet-drug revolution is facing a backlash" is supported by the following facts except ____.
A. diet chains and some of the HMOs have removed their support for the pills
B. some states have limited or forbidden the prescriptions of the diet pills
C. in Florida, patients are told to turn away from the use of fen-phen within a month
D. Sheldon Levine, a New Jersey doctor, touted one of the pills on TV and in his book
3. The worst case that revealed the fatal dark side of the diet pills is ____.
A. 82 patients on fen-phen and seven on Redux had developed heart defects
B. a woman patient on fen-phen had died of abnormally high blood pressure
C. a woman patient on fen-phen had died of a lung disease
D. both diet pills cause brain damage
4. New England Journal admonished doctors to ____.
A. give the pills only to the severely overweight persons
B. take the obese patients off the drugs completely
C. drop the prescriptions for the pills drastically
D. put clearer warnings on the drug labels
5. According to the drug manufacturers, the pills ____.
A. only offer temporary treatment for the morbid obesity
B. are meant for all the people who yearn for slimness