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Sales of Diet Pill Qsymia Increase

Neil Donaghy | January 3rd, 2013

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How to Lose Weight FastSales of the new weight loss pill Qsymia are increasing, according to the latest pharmaceutical data. Research from Source Healthcare Analytics indicates that there were 2,000 new prescriptions filled during the first week of December – more than a 20% increase on the previous week.

The drug, which hit the market in September, 2012, is the first FDA-approved diet medication in 13 years. Because of the poor record of previous diet drugs, the FDA agreed to a risk-mitigation strategy with manufacturer Vivus, requiring pharmacists to undergo a training program before being granted a license to sell Qsymia. A monthly supply costs $160 on average. Roughly one in five Qsymia prescriptions currently filled are covered by insurance, with average co-pays ranging from $50-60.

How do you lose weight? Many are trying Qsymia

Qsymia is a combination of two appetite suppressants already on the market, Phentermine and Topiramate. It is prescribed to obese and overweight patients with a BMI of 30+, and works by tricking the body into feeling “full.”

But Phentermine has a controversial history. An amphetamine, it was first used as a diet remedy in the mid-90s, after being tested on just 121 patients. The results were undeniable, and Phentermine – in combination with fenfluramine – was taken by an estimated six million Americans between 1995 and 1997. However, following a series of reported heart valve failures and lung problems in users of the drug, the FDA requested that “Fen-Phen” be withdrawn from the market.

Doctor: even safe diet pills can work only as part of “overall program”

One critic of Qsymia, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, has called the FDA’s decision to approve the drug “reckless,” pointing to the disastrous history of previous weight loss medications that had initially been sold as safe diet pills. Others, including physicians at The Center For Medical Weight Loss, say it can help patients lose weight – but only in combination with physical exercise and a healthy diet.

“I’m not convinced that Qsymia alone without physician counseling will be a good solution to weight problems,” says Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder and chief medical officer for The Center For Medical Weight Loss. “However, Qsymia combined with professional physician counseling could be a great option for doctors to have at their disposal to help their obese patients.”

The expert doctors at The Center For Medical Weight Loss customize a unique diet and exercise plan to suit each individual’s goals, medical needs, and lifestyle. In some cases, prescription appetite suppressants may be used as a complement to healthy lifestyle choices to help patients achieve their goals in the first and crucial stage of long-term weight loss and maintenance.

“We often prescribe phentermine to help control appetite as part of an overall program,” says Dr. Kaplan about the potential benefits of Qsymia. “For some people, it really helps. Topiramate slows brain activity and theoretically should help with food cravings. In combination with phentermine it should lead to an increase in energy, which is exactly what you want while losing weight.”

How to lose weight effectively … and keep it off

Since 2001, The Center For Medical Weight Loss has helped thousands of individuals—many of whom had previously tried everything from fad diets to weight loss pills like Fen-Phen— finally learn how to lose weight quickly and effectively. After you read some of the successful weight loss stories, enter your zip code in the box above to see if there is a Center near you. Introductory offers are available for first-time visitors at select locations.