FDA approves new weight loss drug, suggests its use in addition to diet and exercise

On July 17, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a phentermine and topiramate extended-release drug for “chronic weight-management.”

Qsymia, a product marketed by Mountain View-based Vivus Inc., is suggested as a supplement to a regular exercise regimen and a reduced-calorie diet. It is available for adults who have a body mass index of 27-30 (considered overweight) or higher (considered obese), and who have a weight-related health issue, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes or dyslipidemia (high cholesterol)

“Obesity threatens the overall well being of patients and is a major public health concern,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “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.”

Women who are pregnant should not use this product. The drug may harm a fetus, according to the FDA evaluations of Qsymia. The organization strongly recommends women have a negative pregnancy test before taking the drug, and birth control should be used throughout the length of the prescription.

The drug is also not recommended for individuals with hyperthyroidism or glaucoma. For more information, call the FDA’s consumer line at 888-INFO-FDA.

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