Qsymia is a prescription medication designed to promote weight loss. It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by people who meet specific criteria. When combined with certain lifestyle changes, this medication can promote increased weight loss among obese or overweight individuals.
How Qsymia Works
Qsymia is a combination of two existing medications that have been found to promote weight loss on their own: topiramate and phentermine. When combined, the effects of both medications are enhanced, and patients are able to adhere to lifestyle changes more easily.
Phentermine is an appetite suppressant that reduces feelings of hunger by altering the brain’s serotonin levels. When appetite is diminished, patients typically consume fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss. Phentermine has been used to promote weight loss for many years and is often prescribed concurrently with other weight loss medications.
Qsymia also includes topiramate, or Topamax. Topiramate was originally prescribed to patients with migraine headaches, but it can also contribute to weight loss. Like phentermine, this medication suppresses the appetite by altering certain chemicals in the brain.
Who Can Take Qsymia?
In general, medications like Qsymia are recommended for people who are overweight or obese and have already tried to lose weight on their own. The medication is of greatest benefit to people in a weight loss program that includes lifestyle education and behavior modification. Weight loss medications may be especially beneficial to patients who have one or more diseases related to their weight, such as sleep apnea, heart disease or type 2 diabetes as weight loss will often reduce the severity of these diseases. .
Your physician may prescribe Qsymia if:
- Your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher
- Your BMI is 27 or higher and you have at least one condition related to obesity
- You are participating in a physician-sponsored weight loss program
What Results Can I Expect?
When you add Qsymia to your weight loss program, you may lose more weight than you would have with diet and exercise alone. Clinical trials have shown that patients who took Qsymia at its highest dose lost about 9 percent of their body weight in one year. Patients participating in the trial also experienced lower blood sugar levels, and some were able to stop taking their diabetes medication. While this may not seem like a large amount of weight loss, it is important to note that significant health benefits are seen when as little as 5 percent of body weight is lost.
Like other weight loss medications, Qsymia will be most effective when combined with lifestyle changes, such as exercise and a calorie controlled diet. Patients can take Qsymia long-term when supervised by a physician.