It’s been two years since Eliquis came out and we have yet to see a major scientific study that determines whether or not the drug causes weight loss. What we do know is that it can help you lose your sweet tooth. The drug is currently used to treat high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are tied to heart disease. Eliquis may also be able to help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Does It Work For That?
One of the primary questions that you need to ask yourself is whether or not Eliquis works for that particular ailment.
As previously stated, Eliquis is used to treat high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. One study found that patients who were taking Eliquis reported a 2.4 pound average weight loss after only three months of treatment. There is also some evidence to suggest that it can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. While these are all very promising results, they must be taken with a grain of salt, since we still don’t know for certain if Eliquis is responsible for the weight loss.
Why Haven’t We Seen More Data?
On November 25, 2017, the FDA issued a warning about potentially serious side effects associated with Eliquis. The agency said that they received reports from patients who experienced a variety of negative reactions, including “suicidal thoughts and behavior, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, depersonalization, and a feeling of hopelessness.” Additionally, many of those taking the drug reported digestive problems such as constipation and reflux.
This is particularly troubling since the data we do have suggests that Eliquis can help treat obesity. While we don’t know for sure if this drug causes weight loss, it seems quite unlikely that it would do the opposite.
The Evidence So Far
To this point, we’ve only seen two clinical trials on Eliquis and both trials were fairly small. The first, which was conducted by Bayer, found that patients who were taking the drug experienced a 2.4 pound average weight loss after only three months of treatment. The second trial, which was published in theJournal of Cardiology, found that patients who were taking Eliquis for heart disease (specifically coronary artery disease) lost an average of 7.7 pounds after six months of treatment.
It’s important to point out that both of these trials were very small and there were no control groups or placebo comparisons performed. Additionally, patients who were taking Eliquis in these trials were already at a healthy weight when they signed up for the studies. This means that the results may not be applicable to the general population, which is a major drawback when trying to determine the side effects of a drug.
Where Does This Leave Us?
Based on what we know so far, it appears that Eliquis might be able to help some patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes. However, due to the FDA warning, we are a little more hesitant to recommend the drug for that purpose.
As a general rule, never assume that a drug is safe just because it has been around for a while or is currently prescribed for (or sold alongside) other drugs. Always consult the literature (the medical studies that the drug companies submit to the FDA) to see if there are any adverse effects that you should be aware of. If possible, get copies of any original studies or documents that prove the safety (or lack thereof) of a drug before beginning treatment.
Is It Worth Trying?
For patients who are already taking Eliquis for other reasons and are interested in trying to lose weight, the answer is absolutely. Not only does it appear to be a safe and effective drug, but it’s also quite affordable ($25 a month, or less with insurance). In light of all of this, we recommend that you speak with your doctor about trying Eliquis for weight loss.