Could Qsymia Help You Lose Weight?

July 25, 2012

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pillsYou may have heard that the FDA recently approved a brand new medication for weight loss named Qsymia and wondered if it could help you lose weight.

Qsymia is made up of a combination of two medications — phentermine and topamax. Both of these prescription medications are already approved for other uses by themselves; phentermine as an appetite suppressant and topamax to help control seizures.

Together these two medications show great promise to help make losing weight easier and I feel the FDA approval of Qsymia is an exciting development. Studies show that after 6 months of use, people lost on average 11 percent of excess weight compared to those not on the medication.

The combination of the two medications suppresses appetite and also seems to reduce cravings and obsessive thoughts about food. For those who struggle with these issues and who have a body mass index (BMI) over 30, or a BMI over 27 and high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or Type 2 diabetes, the medication could be a big help.

While this is great news, it’s important to remember that just like any weight loss medication, Qsymia is not a magic bullet and must be used as part of an overall balanced weight loss program that includes proper nutrition, exercise, and behavioral counseling.

It also important to note that because topamax carries a risk of causing birth defects such as cleft palate, women of childbearing years will need to be tested to be sure they are not pregnant before the medication can be prescribed and then tested monthly afterward before refilling the prescription to be sure they have not conceived within the past month. Women of childbearing years taking Qsymia also need to use a reliable birth control method while on the medication.

Other possible side effects include dizziness, headache, slurred speech, and an increased risk of seizures if the medication is discontinued abruptly. Most people will not experience these side effects, but anyone taking the medication should be on the lookout for them.

In short, I’m very happy that the FDA has approved this medication and that we have yet another tool in our weight loss tool box because of it. When used wisely along with a sound weight loss program overseen by a medical professional, Qsymia may make fighting the battle of the bulge easier for many people.

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss




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