If you’ve never heard of phentermine, you’ve probably never talked to your doctor about any prescription diet pill options – it is one of the most widely prescribed treatments for obesity, albeit one with only modest results. However, recent research and development by the pharmaceutical company Vivus has combined phentermine with another chemical, topiramate, as a promising new prescription diet pill called Qnexa.
However, thus far Qnexa has yet to be approved by the FDA for regular use as an obesity treatment due to evidence suggesting it may have serious long-term health consequences including an increased risk of psychiatric disorders and cardiovascular disease. Until it’s approved, you won’t be able to buy it, but it’s not clear it would be worth it even if you’re not prone to the health risks.
As mentioned, Qnexa is a combination of two chemicals:
- Phentermine (in 3.75 mg, 7.5 mg, 15 mg doses) - an appetite suppressant which works similarly to an amphetamine to accelerate the metabolism and consequently suppress the appetite.
- Topiramate (in 23 mg, 46 mg, 92 mg doses ) – an anticonvulsant which was prescribed to prevent seizures and sometimes to prevent migraines, it was also suggested to support satiety and discourage excessive eating.
Combined, clinical trials done on these chemicals have shown weight loss in the range of a 10% reduction in total body weight compared to the less than 5% seen in other prescription diet pills.
Qnexa has yet to be approved by the FDA pending convincing proof that its serious side effects are of low enough frequency. Some of these might include suicidal thoughts, heart palpitations, memory lapses and birth defects. While these are serious considerations, the most common side effects experienced in clinical trials included:
- Dry mouth
- Tingling sensation in fingers/toes
- Upper respiratory tract infection
Since Qnexa isn’t on the market and is trying to gain legitimacy by getting approved by the FDA, Vivus is very careful about the way it presents Qnexa. There are no crazy claims or anything that isn’t backed up by clinical research. The page for Qnexa on the official Vivus website basically just highlights the fact that they’ve tested it on over 4500 patients and that Qnexa
- “Exceeded FDA efficacy benchmarks for weight loss agents at all three doses studied”
- “Resulted in significant improvements in cardiovascular, metabolic and inflammatory risk factors”
The second one sort of conflicts with the FDA’s reasons for not approving Qnexa, but it is always important to see what sort of long-term side effects will surface.
No pricing schedule has been given for Qnexa at this point, though if it does gain approval by the FDA it will be asking a pretty hefty compensation for all the development costs that went into Qnexa to get it to that point. Additionally, you will have to figure in quite a bit extra to pay for the doctor’s initial consultation and followup visits.
Typically prescription medications are not offered with any sort of satisfaction guarantee. If you’re willing to accept the risks involved then they figure you don’t have a right to demand a refund if it doesn’t work.
While we are very interested in seeing how Qnexa’s appeal for approval by the FDA goes, at this point there isn’t a lot more we can say other than that Qnexa shows a lot of promise as a diet pill. It will definitely be expensive if it ever gets approved, but if you’ve tried a lot of OTC diet pills without success, it might be worth it to check Qnexa out in the future.