The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new weight loss drug this week. Qsymia is actually a combination of two previously approved drugs, phentermine and topiramate combined in "an extended-release formulation".
“Obesity threatens the overall well being of patients and is a major public health concern,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in Silver Spring, MD. “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 in Americans who are obese or are overweight and have at least one weight-related comorbid condition."
Obesity in the United States
The drug is not to be used by pregnant women as topiramate is known to be harmful to the fetus and a woman should have a negative pregnancy test before starting on Qsymia. It is not for people who suffer from glaucoma or hyperthyroidism and it can increase the heart rate. The FDA says that otherwise the "most common side effects are tingling of hands and feet, dizziness, altered taste sensation, insomnia, constipation, and dry mouth."
Qsymia, developed by a company called Vivus, is for use in combination with regular exercise and a low-calorie diet and intended for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater (obese) and for adults with a BMI of 27 or greater (overweight) with at least one weight-related condition. Those conditions are high blood pressure, high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes.
Just this past June the FDA approved another weight loss drug, Lorcaserin, brand name Belviq, the first time that the food and drug administration had approved a new weight loss drug in 13 years. The FDA reports that more than 1 in 3 Americans are obese.