A cream to fight obesity is being ignored

Do you, or many of your patients, have a little more belly fat around your and their middle than you and they would like? Me, too.

Turns out that there are two decent published studies from reputable places that report that a person may rub a cream on their skin over the fat spots and make the fat go away.

Wow, what a deal.

The first study addresses fat thighs, with each person in the study using one thigh as the test and the other as the control.

This 1995 study from UCLA included renowned obesity researcher Professor George Bray as an author, is published in the journal called Obesity Research.

The second study is from LSU in Baton Rouge and addresses waist circumference.

All participants were placed on a diet of restricted calories and required to exercise. The test group rubbed a cream on the waist and the control group did not.

After 12 weeks, both groups had lost waist circumference but the cream group lost a lot more.

This paper was published in 2007 in the journal called Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

The eminent evidence-based medicine review group at McMaster University in Canada included the second study in their Best Evidence series. I selected it to highlight in another journal in 2008 and that concurrent text-audio-video article is in PubMedCentral.

The main substance in the magic cream is the common drug aminophylline at 0.5% concentration.

The chemical effect is plausible but the test numbers in these studies are small. In 2008, I asked that additional clinical trials be undertaken. But, I have not found any more such results published, positive or negative. Maybe no drug company considered this worth its while to fund studies.

Caveats:

  • Even if this treatment works, it is no panacea; obesity is a complex disease.
  • The subcutaneous fat that may be lost by this treatment is not the main culprit for diabetes, etc; visceral fat is, unaffected by the cream.
  • You might be able to purchase this aminophylline cream on the Internet. If you go to a pharmacy to buy it, you will be asked for a prescription and the pharmacy might have to compound the 0.5% aminophylline mix for you.

My interest is curiosity and clinical. Of course, I have no financial interest.

I hope that well-planned clinical trials are in process somewhere.

All in all, if you want to lose fatty girth, I think this is worth a try. Risks and costs seem trivial. Gains could be substantial.

George Lundberg is a MedPage Today Editor-at-Large and former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Originally published in MedPage Today. Visit MedPageToday.com for more primary care news.

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