Qsymia is one of the new anti-obesity drugs approved by the FDA. It is actually a combination of two medications known to help with weight loss: phentermine and topiramate. Phentermine is a stimulant that suppresses the appetite and topirimate is an anticonvulsant that makes people feel more satisfied after eating.
Qsymia will be used for people who have a BMI of 30 or greater, or for people who have a BMI of 27 with at least one co-morbid condition such as diabetes or hypertension. The average weight loss with this new medication is about 10%, depending on the dosage. This compares to the 5% weight loss shown with the other newly FDA approved anti-obesity medication, Belviq. As with all medications, patients should be individually evaluated before beginning on these medications.
Patients with recent or unstable heart disease or stroke are not good candidates for Qsymia according to the FDA. Its effect on heart rates in those patients is not known. Also, there is a risk of birth defects if taken by pregnant women, so pregnancy tests are a necessity during the treatment.
For some people, the use of weight loss medications is another method to help with controlling their excess weight. At the Central Ohio Nutrition Center, each patient is individually evaluated medically to make sure that he/she is an appropriate candidate for the treatment. People respond differently to drug therapies.
Patients who use Qsymia or any anti-obesity drug should be utilizing a comprehensive weight management program which involves dietary change, exercise, behavior modification in addition to the medical monitoring by a physician. The good news is that we now have another tool in the treatment of obesity!