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New Weight-Loss Drug Shows Promise in Trial
Date:5/11/2012

THURSDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- A new weight-loss drug that is awaiting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration showed promising results in a recent international trial, researchers report.

Volunteers who took Qnexa, a combination of the drugs phentermine and topiramate, experienced substantial weight loss, even if they had many weight-related health problems, the study found. The findings were reported this week during the European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France.

The 56-week clinical trial included 994 patients who took a placebo, 498 who took a medium dose of Qnexa, and 995 who took a high dose of the drug.

Patients who took Qnexa had significantly greater weight loss than those who took the placebo, researchers Stephan Rossner, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and Arya Sharma, of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, said in a news release from the European Congress on Obesity.

Earlier this year, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended that the agency approve the drug for the treatment of obesity. The FDA is scheduled to announce its decision July 17. European officials are expected to make a decision about the combination treatment by mid-summer.

Meanwhile, an FDA advisory panel on Thursday gave its blessing to yet another new weight-loss drug, locaserin, despite lingering concerns about possible cardiac side effects, the Associated Press reported.

Although effective at reducing weight, Qnexa, manufactured by Vivus Inc., was denied approval in 2010 because of its potential side effects. Before making its decision in February, the FDA advisory panel reviewed two years of data on the drug; when advisers previously voted on Qnexa, only one year's worth of follow-up data was available.

Qnexa combines the appetite suppressant phentermine (brand name Adipex-P) and the anti-seizure/migraine medication topiramate (brand name
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