Monday, May 21, 2012

A Weight Loss Miracle Pill?

...or not?

I decided to write a post on this today because a patient asked me about it, and it seems to be gaining more and more popularity.

This new weight loss medication, Qnexa, looks like it will be getting approval by the FDA within the next 3 months. This medication will likely be reserved for those people with a BMI >35 (severely obese). This observation is based on the studies that have been done with the medication, although there may be less stringent restrictions. I am guessing that the limitations will be a BMI >30 or BMI >27 with risk factors (like diabetes or high blood pressure). Calculate your BMI here.

The clinical trials showed the average weight loss was 14.4% body weight with the high dose and 6.7% body weight for the lower dose formula. A different study showed that 48% of study patients lost >10% of their body weight with the high dose.

So, how's it work? Qnexa combines phentermine and topiramate into one extended-release, once a day capsule. Phentermine is a popular weight loss medication, that works by suppressing appetite and stimulating your body's metabolism. Topiramate is classically used as an anti-seizure medication, but in Qnexa, it is being used in combination with the phentermine to alter the way that food tastes. The food will not taste bad, just different.

So what's my take on it? Well, obviously I would say combine two OTHER things, like diet and exercise. Try this first...always! But I am realistic and understand that some people really do need a little "push" or help. This medication does appear to work really well for weight loss. But do not think that it doesn't come with side effects. The most common side effects noted were tingling sensations, insomnia, altered taste sensations and constipation. Fewer people also noted palpitations, runny nose and sinus infections.

So, overall, I would never advise a medication over good old diet and exercise, BUT...if you really have tried everything and are having a difficult time losing weight "on you own" this may be a great option for you!

When the medication gets final FDA approval, I will be sure to post..:)

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