THURSDAY, July 19 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of two new weight-loss drugs within the past month -- the first such medications in 13 years -- won't be a panacea for America's obesity epidemic, health professionals say.
And as the FDA's drug regulators reiterated when approving the two drugs, Qysmia and Belviq, no weight-loss medication should be used without also making lifestyle changes to facilitate weight loss.
"The bottom line is there's no such thing as a magic pill and I hope that individuals do not think by taking this pill that it will ensure long-term weight loss," said Keri Gans, a registered dietitian in New York City. "We need to be reminded that diet and exercise are still critical."
Qysmia, formerly called Qnexa, was approved on Tuesday and is a combination of the weight-loss drug phentermine (brand name Adipex-P, among others) and the anti-seizure medication Topamax (topiramate).
It is only approved for people who are obese (a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or above) or overweight people (BMI of 27 or higher) and who also suffer from conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol.
Phentermine once was prescribed widely as the "phen" part of the fen-phen weight-loss drug, which was withdrawn from the market in 1997 after it was linked to both high blood pressure in the lungs and heart valve disease. The problems appeared to be related to the "fen," or fenfluramine, part of the combination, not the phentermine.
Qsymia was initially denied FDA approval in 2010 because of potential side effects, including heart palpitations and birth defects -- such as cleft lip in babies -- if taken by pregnant women.
Phentermine is believed to work by controlling appetite and Topamax by speeding up metabolism.
But Topamax also has side effects, including, possibly, numbness
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