Qsymia, Belviq Approved for Obesity, Weight Loss
If you’re obese and are at the end of your ropes looking for weight loss help, there’s good news from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA in the past few months has approved two new weight loss drugs for people who struggle with obesity and being overweight — Qsymia and Belviq.
Both Qsymia (pronounced kyoo-sim-EE-uh and manufactured by Vivus Pharmaceuticals) and Belviq (pronounced bel-VEEK and manufactured by Arena Pharmaceuticals) have been shown to be effective in their clinical trials to help people lose significant amounts of weight.
Qsymia is composed of two generic drugs, phentermine (an appetite suppressant) and topiramate (a seizure and migraine medication). Belviq focuses on changing on how serotonin is processed by the brain. Qysmia will be on sale by the end of the year, while Belviq won’t be available until sometime in early-to-mid 2013.
Should you consider these drugs if you’re obese or seriously overweight?
The short answer is, yes, if you’re obese (BMI 30 or greater) or overweight (BMI 27 or greater) with a weight-related condition — such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol — you should consider these drugs.
Although likely to be expensive, both weight loss drugs will likely be approved by insurance companies for treatment of obesity or being overweight with other health conditions. Why? Because obesity is a serious chronic health problem affecting more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7 percent), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As such, it costs insurers a lot of money. In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion. Anything to bring those costs down is likely to become approved for payment by insurance companies.
Some financial analysts have argued that insurers won’t approve these drugs for treatment, and will instead just force doctors to prescribe the two generic components that go to make up one of these drugs, Qsymia. That would be a significant risk factor for both insurers and doctors, since they would be trying to circumvent the FDA’s requirement that Vivus set up a strict Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). This program includes a medication guide giving patients important safety information, prescriber training, and pharmacy certification.
Insurers would be taking on all the risk Vivus now does of the REMS program if they force doctors to prescribe the generic components on their own. And doctors may balk at doing so, understanding that without careful education, surveillance and monitoring, such prescriptions may open them up to more liability down the road.
Pregnant or nursing women should not take either Belviq or Qsymia. You can learn more about both drugs — and whether they might be right for you — in our full library article below. Neither drug substitutes for eating a healthy diet and regular exercise (e.g., neither is a magic, silver weight-loss bullet).
Read the full article: Qsymia and Belviq Drugs for Obesity, Weight Loss
Grohol, J. (2012). Qsymia, Belviq Approved for Obesity, Weight Loss. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 10, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/08/20/qsymia-belviq-approved-for-obesity-weight-loss/