[By Alli Jonas]
Two New Weight Loss Drugs Belviq and Qsymia goes head to head in the battle of the bulge
Exciting news for those battling excess pounds, FDA just announced the approval of the latest weight loss drug, Qsymia. Together with Belviq, Qsymia is the second prescription weight loss pill to have the FDA’s blessing. Which, if either, is for you?
Before you jump into either, know that both drugs help some people lose weight but eeither drug is for everyone. We cut throughthe medical jargon to help you decide which, if any, is the pill for you.
News has put Qsymia’s launch date to public to be around “the fourth quarter of 2012”. Belviq, on the other hand, should become available by early 2013. These launch dates are subject to changes pending approval processes by the authorities in the USA. Other countries may have later launch dates depending on their countries approval processes. In other words, don’t expect these drugs to be available any time soon though they are a possibility for your future weight loss planning.
Do Qsymia and Belviq work the same way?
The million dollar question, and the answer is “No”. Qsymia and Belviq are very different drugs.
Qsymia combines two currently approved drugs. One is the appetite suppressant phentermine, thought to suppress appetite by triggering release of the brain chemical norepinephrine. This suppresses the appetite by increasing blood concentrations of the appetite-regulating hormone leptin. The other half of Qsymia is the seizure/migraine drug topiramate. Topiramate causes weight loss in several ways, including increasing feelings of fullness, making foods taste less appealing, and increasing calorie burning.
Belviq causes weight loss by turning on a specific switch that increases levels of the brain messenger serotonin. It is likely that DEA will schedule Belviq as a controlled substance as a result of its mechanism of action and potential for abuse at higher dosages.
Who should take Belviq and Qsymia?
Belviq and Qsymia are approved for:
- Obesity which is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater.
- Being overweight, with a BMI of 27 or more AND at least one weight-related condition such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
Who shouldn’t take Belviq and Qsymia?
Pregnant women should not take either Belviq or Qsymia.
Qsymia has particular risks for pregnancy, as it can cause birth defects if taken in the first months of pregnancy, even before a woman knows she is pregnant. Women of childbearing age must use effective birth control to keep from becoming pregnant while taking Qsymia.
Qsymia should not be taken by:
- Pregnant women
- People with glaucoma
- People who have been told they have an overactive thyroid
- People taking a type of antidepressant called a MAOI
- People allergic to phentermine or topiramate
Belviq should not be taken by:
- Pregnant or nursing women
- People taking drugs linked to valvular heart disease, such as cabergoline (Dostinex)
Qsymia and Belviq each come with a long list of important safety information, but this list is different for each drug. All users should consult their doctors before embarking any prescription medicines.
Which works better, Belviq or Qsymia?
There’s no way to know for sure.
Both drugs report weight loss in people taking them compared to placebos but as they were not tested against each other, there is no way to know for sure. It is likely that patients will select the drug based on their side effect profile, so that they experience the least side effects while on the medication.
Exciting news indeed for the weight loss community out there. Watch this space for further updates.