Qsymia, a new weight loss drug from the pharmaceutical company Vivus, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The approval gives people another tool to fight against obesity, as an advisory panel voted 20 to two to permit the drug in February.
The drug is originally known as Qnexa, but FDA has asked the manufacturer to change the name in order to avoid controversy with drugs with similar sounding names. The company’s data showed that the drug can help patients to lose 10% of their weight and therefore, will give patients more choices than dieting, exercising and bariatric surgery.
“Considering the heavy toll of obesity in our society, this agent has tremendous potential,” proclaimed Dr. Chip Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehab and prevention at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.
Dr. Gerard Mullin, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, hoped, “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.”
Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital, explained that obese people have problems with weight-regulating mechanisms in the brain, and that needs to be treated.
Meg Evans, a 63-year-old mother of four in San Diego, recalled how she gained weight after childbirth, and she started dieting and exercising, but nothing helped till she started taking the drug in February 2008. Now, taking the drug, accompanied by dieting and exercise helped her to get desired result. “Once I did those three things, I started losing that weight,” Evans informed. By March 2009, she had lost 48 pounds.