It has been over 10 years since The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have approved a diet drug but this is exactly what has happened recently. In order to obese patients more tools to fight excessive weight doctors can now subscribe a diet drug called Qsymia. There are 72 million potential people who struggle with being over-weight and Qsymia can be a great help to all of them. Studies have shown that people who use Qsymia can lose up to 10% of their body mass which can be a huge weight loss.
In February 2012 massive 20 people out of 22 in the panel of the agency voted for the drug which shows how potential life changing this drug can become one day. The company behind Qsymia, who originally named their obesity drug Qnexa was ordered to change the name to avoid any confusion with similar sounding products.
According to Dr. Chip Lavie, the medical director of cardiac rehab and prevention centre in New Orleans, Qsymia have tremendous potential considering the heavy toll of obesity in our society.
Doctor Gerard Mullin added:
“I do think it will help a subpopulation lose weight. However, I am concerned that mass marketing of this drug will perpetuate the magic bullet approach to weight loss, which is limiting and does not address the root problem,”
Qsymia contains 2 main ingredients: phentermine and topiramate, both drugs approved by FDA. Phentermine is a stimulant related to the amphetamines that suppresses the appetite, and topiramate is known as a drug used to treat migraines and epilepsy that has weight-loss side effects. It is recommended that the drug is only intended to be used in combination with diet and exercise.
Qsymia has got some known side effects though. When Vivus, the manufacturer of Qsymia first submitted the drug to the panel in 2010, FDA did not approve it because of their concerns over potential heart problems, cognitive effects such as mental fogginess or lack of concentration and potential birth defects.
But this year the panel approved it in a condition that Vivus will provide detailed information to physicians about the potential risks and how to manage them.
It wouldn’t be highly unlikely if FDA decided to pull it off the market again in few years’ time as they did with fen-phen. Fen-phen was first approved and then withdrawn from the market over concerns about heart risks and other dangerous side effects.