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FDA Approves New Diet Drug Qsymia

Ryan | July 26th, 2012

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The FDA approved prescription weight loss drug Qsymia (formerly known as Qnexa) this week for sale on the U.S. market. In February, an expert panel convened by the FDA had voted 20-2 in favor of recommending that the drug be released to the market.

Manufactured by Vivus Inc., Qsymia is an appetite suppressant that is now approved to treat patients who are obese or overweight, and who have at least one other compounding health issue, such as type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol levels or blood pressure.

Calling obesity a “major public health concern,” the FDA cites government data suggesting that over 30% of adults in this country are classified as obese.

Qsymia, weight loss drug Belviq approved to treat obesity

In June 2012, the FDA approved another weight loss drug, Belviq. It was the first diet drug approved by the health agency in over a decade. As with Belviq, Qsymia was initially rejected by the FDA in 2010 because of concerns about side effects. At the time, the FDA expressed worries about Qsymia’s link to heart-related complications, including increased heart rate, as well as psychiatric problems, and birth defects.

The FDA has not approved Qsymia for use by pregnant women, and does not recommend it for patients who have recently experienced heart disease or stroke. Side effects of the weight loss drug Qsymia include tingling of the extremities, loss of balance, insomnia, constipation, a change in taste sensation, and dry mouth.

Qysmia combines two drugs, phentermine and topiramate. Phentermine, an amphetamine, is meant to speed up the metabolism. Topiramate, an anti-seizure muscle relaxant, is intended to give users a feeling of fullness after eating less than they normally would. The two-pronged diet drug is therefore designed to help users consume fewer calories, and burn them quicker.

Pre-market clinical studies reviewed by the FDA demonstrated that the average patient taking Qsymia for a year lost between 7% and 9% of their total body weight. However, the FDA cautions prescribing doctors and patients that taking Qsymia alone will not result in the most efficient or healthy weight loss. Instead, appetitie suppressants like Qsymia, weight loss drug Belviq, or others are best used in conjunction with a sustainable diet and exercise program.

“Qsymia, used responsibly in combination with a healthy lifestyle that includes a reduced-calorie diet and exercise, provides another treatment option for chronic weight management,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The group of physicians at The Center For Medical Weight Loss have achieved thousands of weight loss success stories through their individualized diet and exercise regimens. As with other doctors across the country, they are excited about the possibilities inherent in diet drugs like Qsymia.

“We often prescribe phentermine to help control appetite as part of an overall program,” says Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder and chief medical officer at The Center For Medical Weight Loss. “For some people, it really helps. Topiramate slows brain activity and theoretically should help with food cravings. In combination with phentermine it should lead to an increase in energy, which is exactly what you want while losing weight.”

Dr. Kaplan cautions patients suffering from obesity that they should not mistake weight loss drugs Qsymia or Belviq as “miracle drugs” that will automatically burn calories regardless of eating habits or lifestyle choices.

“Bottom line: I’m not convinced that Qsymia (Qnexa) alone without physician counseling will be a good solution to weight problems,” explains Dr. Kaplan. “However, Qsymia combined with professional physician counseling could be a great option for doctors to have at their disposal to help their obese patients. Ultimately a comprehensive weight loss plan like that at The Center for Medical Weight Loss, overseen by a medical professional trained in weight loss, will not only help you lose weight quickly and healthfully, but also help you learn to keep that weight off for good.”

Better alternative to HCG weight loss

By approving appetite suppressants like Qsymia, weight loss drug Belviq, and potentially others in the future, the FDA is providing consumers with safer alternatives to hazardous, unproven diet supplements, such as over-the-counter drops, sprays, and pellets that include the pregnancy hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).

HCG diet dangers were deemed so serious by the FDA that it issued a public safety communication denouncing any products which marketed HCG for weight loss purposes.

“These products are marketed with incredible claims and people think that if they’re losing weight, HCG must be working,” warns Elizabeth Miller, director of the FDA’s Division of Non-Prescription Drugs and Health Fraud, about medications marketing HCG for weight loss. “But the data simply does not support this; any loss is from severe calorie restriction. Not from the HCG.”

The Center for Medical Weight Loss operates 450 locations across the country, staffed by medical doctors who are experts in tailoring unique diet plans to the needs of each individual patient. To see if there is a center near you, use the zip code search box above.

Be sure to inquire about the special bonuses and discounts offered to first-time clients at select centers.