The FDA has approved two new weight loss medications, Belviq and Qsymia. According to studies, these drugs may help patients lose five to ten percent of their body weight. Investors estimate these drugs could be worth more than 60 billion dollars. But only if you prescribe them.
The new drug Qsymia (no, I can’t pronounce it either) contains a combination of the drugs phentermine and topiramate. Essentially this “new” drug is just a blend of two medications that are already on the market. Topiramate, branded as Topamax is currently on the market for the treatment of migraines. Phentermine is already available as a weight loss drug and is one of the most commonly abused prescription medications. Belviq works on serotonin receptors similar to antidepressant medications. It works to suppress appetite and results in an average of five percent weight loss among users.
Are these “new” weight loss medications miracle drugs? No. They are similar to other weight loss medications currently on the market and cannot be used on a permanent basis. They also come with side effects. Serious cardiac side effects have been documented in individuals taking phentermine. TIME magazine reports there is concern that Belviq may cause tumors and heart valve defects.
I am not a fan of weight loss drugs as they do not lead to lifestyle change among patients. They may result in a five or ten pound temporary weight loss (not much in an obese patient). When the patient stops taking the medication, they regain the weight. Not worth the risk of “tumors and heart valve problems” if you ask me.
Sorry folks, bottom line is if you want to lose weight you need to put down the fried chicken, eat more salad and hit the gym on a regular basis.