Pills vs Pounds

Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 8:19am

Three new weight loss drugs could soon be approved to help treat the more than 200-million Americans considered overweight or obese.

There's no magic pill that will melt away fat.

Hard work is involved: Exercise, eating right, more exercise and more eating right.

But when you hit that weight-loss plateau, drug companies are lined up to step in.

First on the list for consideration by the Food and Drug Administration is a pill called Qnexa.

Qnexa is a combination of two appetite suppressants, including one called Phentermine.

Phentermine is considered safe, but was part of the notorious Fen-Phen that was taken off the market years ago after it was linked to heart valve problems.

Another experimental drug called Lorcaserin had very few side effects in clinical trials where patients lost an average of 17 pounds over a year.

Patients were slimmer, and researchers say, healthier.

"Things like blood pressure, blood sugar, inflammation, all of these markers improved in the Lorcaserin studies," says Dr. Louis Aronne of the Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Lorcaserin could be recommended for approval sometime this fall.

In December FDA advisors are scheduled to review another weight loss drug called Contrave.

While they might all work, none of these new drugs will be as effective without the old advice: Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise.

If approved Qnexa would be the first new prescription weight-loss drug in a decade.

Contrave is a combination of an anti-depressant and another drug used for alcohol addiction.
 

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