Friday, February 24, 2012

Miraculous Misconceptions: Magic Bullet…to the Heart?

There’s been a lot of press talking about a new diet pill Qnexa this week.  Have you heard about it?  Basically it’s a diet pill that combines amphetamine phentermine, medication said to suppress appetite and approved for short term diet use, and Topamax, a medication said to increase satiety.  Many federal health advisors have been singing its praise this week and it was even voted in favor 20-2 from FDA doctors.  The next steps are a follow up study to make sure the drug doesn’t cause any heart problems.

Excuse me you say?  Yes that’s right.  The FDA urges the company to conduct a folIow up study.   You see, Qnexa was rejected by the FDA in October 2010 because a study showed a higher heart rate in those who took Qnexa and birth defects for woman who became pregnant.  Although, the drug did yield an average of a 10% weight loss, the highest reduction noted by any “diet drug,” the FDA wants to be sure to follow up just to be sure of the drug’s safety.  I’ve read that the second ruling will take place as early as April 17th. 

If Qnexa is approved, this will be the first diet drug to reach market in over a decade.   With millions of the population overweight, this could be a very popular drug.  My question is how long have the studies been going on and will a follow up in time for a second ruling of April 17th be long enough to assess long term efficacy?  Although 10% is the highest loss a diet drug has yielded, is it worth birth defects and a higher heart rate? I wonder what tier this medication will be and how much it will be a month for patients.  Does it make sense? 

Either way, I’m looking forward to much more information.  What do you think? Will you try this drug?

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