For those who prefer losing weight from the comfort of their living room couch while watching TV and eating a bag of potato chips with a large diet soda, the FDA has a new drug for you!
The new anti-obesity drug Qsymia manufactured by Vivus Inc. has recently been approved for overweight and obese people who have at least one other health problem related to weight such as hypertension, high cholesterol, or Type 2 diabetes.
The market for this highly anticipated new drug is huge, with more than 1/3 of US adults now obese.
Obesity projections are no doubt great news for Vivus Inc’s shareholders as overweight and obese people will likely total 80% of the adult population by 2020 with more than 1 in 5 children obese in just a few short years.
Qsymia Nothing More than Repackaged Fen-Phen
The new anti-obesity drug Qsymia was created using two older drugs: topiramate and phentermine. If phentermine sounds vaguely familiar, let me jog your memory.
Fen-phen, the popular weight loss drug tied to heart valve damage and yanked from the market in 1997 was, you guessed it, one half phentermine!
In a nutshell, this new anti-obesity drug Qsymia is fen-phen repackaged as … top-phen.
Thousands of lawsuits resulted from the damage caused by fen-phen with billions in settlements paid out to victims and their families.
That’s the standard business model in the pharmaceutical industry though. Simply repackage a drug removed from the market by changing it up a bit, get it approved, make a fortune fast and when it is yanked off the market for harming people, simply settle the lawsuits and chalk it up as a normal cost of doing business.
In the end, Vivus will likely make much much more than will ever be paid out in future lawsuits from Qsymia, so it is a sound business decision for shareholders to get it out there and get the revenue flowing quickly.
This strategy is, of course, unethical, but it is perfectly legal and a proven way to generate huge profits for the drug industry in a short period of time.
Qsymia Side Effects
Acknowledged side effects of Qsymia include tingling in the hands and feet, constipation, dry mouth, dizziness, and insomnia.
Wait a minute – insomnia? Isn’t lack of sleep a recognized and very big cause for overweight problems in the first place?
What Obesity Medicine Specialists (yes, they have a special name now) in their right minds would prescribe this for a patient?
It is important to note that the FDA rejected Qsymia, then known as Qnexa, in 2010 because it was associated with elevated heart rate, psychiatric problems and birth defects. No worries, Vivus submitted additional “safety data”, and the drug application was approved.
Qsymia Doesn’t Help You Lose That Much Weight
Here’s the kicker. A patient prescribed Qsymia will take on all this unknown health risk from taking a drug that was previously removed from the market over 10 years ago and whoops, not even lose that much weight.
Documentation submitted to the FDA indicated that nearly 70% of patients taking Qsymia for an entire year lost only 5% of their body weight compared with 20 percent of patients taking a placebo.
This means that a 250 lb person would only lose 12.5 lbs after taking Qsymia for a full year.
This insignificant weight loss certainly wouldn’t reduce the long term health risk of anything weight related!
An overweight or obese person would be much better off simply switching to grassfed meat than taking Qsymia. A typical 6 oz grassfed steak has approximately 100 fewer calories than a conventional 6 oz steak from grain fed cattle and since it is considerably more nutrient dense, fills you up better and you stay full longer. Since the average American consumes 66.5 lbs of beef per year, this simple change would cause a person to lose about 6 lbs per year with all else remaining the same.
Eat grassfed beef or take a new anti-obesity drug with many side effects that will no doubt be prescribed for children as well?
That’s an easy choice.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist