New Hope For Obesity With Weight Loss Drug Qsymia

New Hope For Obesity With Weight Loss Drug Qsymia

Remember Fen-Phen? It was the “magic bullet” weight loss drug that hit the market in the late 90’s, and was one of the only effective medicines ever released to help obese patients. People were losing up to 100 pounds or more due to the combination of Phentermine, a drug that supresses appetite and speeds metabolism, and Fenfluramine, a drug that worked on satiety signals in the brain. Shortly after Fen-Phen was introduced to the market, though, people began experiencing heart problems-specifically heart valve damage and primary pulmonary hypertension-and some of those people died from the health problems caused by the drug. Now, a new weight loss drug called Qsymia could offer hope for obesity, but the road to success for the medicine won’t be easy, both because of some people’s ignorance about obesity and because of the checkered past of every weight loss drug that has ever come to market.

Perhaps because of Fen-Phen’s terrible track record, and the history of weight loss drugs causing heart problems, it took the FDA over 15 years to approve another weight loss medicine after Fen-Phen was pulled from the shelves. Then, earlier this year, the FDA approved two medicines around the same time- Qsymia and Belviq. Belviq works in much the same way that Fenfluramine did- it stimulates serotonin receptors in the brain, inducing a feeling of satiety. This raised concerns that the drug may have some of the same negative cardiac risks as Fenfluramine, but it got the green light from the FDA anyway.

The other drug, Qsymia, is actually a combination of the safer half of the old Fen-Phen: Phentermine, and an anti-seizure drug that has been around for a long time-Topamax. In clinical studies, Qsymia outperformed Belviq, with more study subjects losing more body weight than in the placebo group.

But many physicians are not convinced about the safety of Qsymia even though it has undergone rigorous testing by the FDA. Citing potential heart problems, a possibility of raised blood pressure and increased stroke risk from Phentermine, some physicians don’t feel comfortable prescribing it at all.

Patients who have been struggling with their weight all of their lives feel differently, and say there are also risks involved that stem from being overweight. One woman achieved a weight loss of 50 pounds. “I fully believe diet and exercise are major factors,” said Meg Evans, who participated in the clinical trial. “The Qsymia helps me stem my appetite, but it’s not a magic bullet. I’m pretty sure I could take the Qsymia and still not lose any weight if I didn’t watch what I eat and exercise.”

Indeed, any weight loss medicine is a tool, not a miracle, but many obese individuals need a tool such as Qsymia to help them control their appetites, as most people struggling with weight may not even realize how much their physical hunger levels contribute to their problem. Many blame themselves, or “emotional eating,” for their size.

Another hurdle Qsymia is facing is the fact that obesity is certainly stigmatized in today’s society. For some reason, the people with the least amount of weight problems are always the ones that seem to offer the most advice, and all of it denigrates diet medicine. Thin people seem to really enjoy handing out unhelpful “wisdom” such as “Diet pills are dangerous! Put down the fork and get some exercise!” or “You don’t need weight loss pills! Just eat less and move more!” This ignorant stance shows just how little they know about what an obese person feels.

They ought to try strapping a 150-pound rock to their backs and see how painful it is to exercise. They also ought to fast for several days and then explore how good it feels to be lightheaded and dizzy, with a rumbling stomach, near fainting, while eating far fewer calories than the average person ingests.

But most of all, they ought to not speak of things about which they are vastly ignorant. For now, the weight loss drug Qsymia will continue to offer some hope, however modest, to obese individuals and hopefully assist them in leading happier, healthier lives.

By: Rebecca Savastio



3 Responses to "New Hope For Obesity With Weight Loss Drug Qsymia"

  1. Lenajacob1   September 23, 2013 at 3:35 am

    I started Qsymia 9 weeks ago and so far I’m having nice success. It’s not a wonder drug. I have to work hard at diet and exercise. All it does is mildly suppress the appetite. I’m also a long time Weight Watchers member. So to the person that suggested that there is nothing in place to change the “mindset” I will only say that the super high out of pocket cost of this RX might make it so that only those who are the most serious about losing weight and keeping it off will take it. I am keeping a blog for those who are interested in following my success.

  2. Lisa   September 18, 2013 at 1:49 am

    I was going to die taking it! My blood presure dropped to 75. Don’t take it

  3. Ralph Allen   July 6, 2013 at 5:25 am

    What you forgot to mention is Qsymia is a combination of two generic drug one of which is topiramate which has severe side effects and the other in Phentermine which should only be used for 8 weeks. Both can be purchased separately for 1/4 the cost of Qsymia.

    The only novel NEW drug approved for obesity is Belviq.
    A new FDA approved diet pill called Belviq just went on the market. People who take Belviq with diet and exercise were 2 times more likely to lose 5% body weight and 3 times more likely to lose 10% body weight than the people who just did diet and exercise alone. The label states that if you do not lose 5% of your body weight in 12 weeks then consider stopping. Those that do respond in 12 weeks go on to lose over 10% of their body weight in one year. Losing 22 pounds for a 220 pound man is life changing. So comments about average weight loss are misleading and incorrect since over 45% of the patients lost a significant amount of weight.
    Belviq makes you more likely to succeed because it helps you feel full more quickly, reduces cravings, and helps control “food issues”. It is not a ‘magic pill’, it merely helps people willing to diet and exercise more likely to succeed.
    Belviq has a second mode of action to reduce blood sugar which may end up preventing diabetes in many cases. Diabetics and pre-diabetics who took Belviq, regardless of weight loss, saw their blood sugar numbers drop by double digit percentages. IE HbA1c -0.9 to -1.2 and fasting glucose feel -27. The cost of medications to reduce HbA1c levels exceeds the cost of Belviq. (seeArena’s BloomDM phase III trial) These reductions in diabetic symptoms plus the weight loss at the same time makes Belviq a medical bargain.


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