Can new weight loss drugs rival Xenical
13th September 2012
Recently, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approved two new weight loss medications (Belviq and Qysmia), and America breathed a sigh of relief. While weight loss drugs have always been a topic of controversy, over the years it has become clear that their addition to the dieting efforts of many individuals, who struggle with obesity, is extremely beneficial. And with more than one third of Americans (35.7%) falling under the obese category, it is no surprise that medical alternatives to diet and exercise, are needed to counteract the issue. New obesity treatments are needed to bridge the gap between diet and exercise and the more radical option of bariatric surgery. This is a view backed up by Dr Sue DeCotiis, New York City based Medical Internist and Weight Loss Management Specialist, who said, “While there are potential side effects with every medication, long term studies show that overweight patients do much better losing and keeping off weight, when they are prescribed a weight loss drug.” “Weight loss medications work in conjunction with healthy eating and exercise, and offer individuals a chance at a real lifestyle change. Those who suffer from obesity often have a host of other health problems that come with the condition. These drugs can alleviate those symptoms, and the result is that many of these patients will live longer and avoid the consequences of medical problems, such as hypertension, stroke, and heart attack.” Listed below is a description of current weight loss drugs and how they work. Previously the only option was Xenical, but now for the first time in 13 years, Doctors will have a choice of which weight loss drugs to prescribe to overweight or obese patients. Belviq (Locaserin) Approved by the FDA in late June of this year, this medication works by activating a receptor in the brain that helps a person to eat less and still feel full. By regulating the appetite, it lowers the likelihood of individuals overeating. It works best in patients who suffer from weight related conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. At least 47.5% of patients lost at least 5% of their body weight from the medication, as opposed to 20.3% who took a placebo during a trial study period. Qsymia (Phentermine & Topirmate) This combination of the drugs Phentermine (an appetite suppressant and stimulant) and Topirmate (an anticonvulsant with weight loss side effects) is the most recent of the crop of weight loss medications, that have been approved by the FDA. Drugs in this category are primarily considered appetite suppressants. With the medication producing dramatic weight loss in patients, this is one of the clearest signs of hope for those suffering from obesity related diseases. About half of the patients lost 10% of their body weight and four-fifths lost 5%. Contrave (Bupropion & Naltrexone) This drug that is still to be approved by the FDA, works by combining two active ingredients that have been used for over twenty years. With Bupropion initiating the weight loss, Naltrexone sustains it by preventing the body’s natural tendency to counteract efforts, to lose weight. The result of this combination is to reduce appetite and increase the body’s metabolism, giving those who are suffering from obesity related illnesses the ability to sustain continued weight loss, by addressing the portion of the brain that controls food cravings. Xenical (Orlistat) Xenical, which is the most established and proven of the weight loss drugs, is a lipase inhibitor. Xenical does not enter the patient's blood stream, but works in the digestive system in the small intestine as a fat absorber. It blocks out a third of the fat in food eaten in a patient's diet, leading to steady weight loss. Research involving 11,131 woman and 4,418 men, who had been over weight for an average of 14 years, showed that 87% lost at least 5% of total body weight, half lost at least 10%, around 20% lost more than 15% body weight and some patients lost more than 25%. Only time will tell which of these weight loss drugs is the most successful. Unfortunately here in the UK Belviq is not expected to be released until 2013 and there has been no UK release date as yet for Qsymia and Contrave. However all is not lost as here in the UK we still have Xenical available, which has a proven track record for assisting weight loss. Here at Medical Specialists Pharmacy we can dispense Xenical after an online consultation with one of our doctors and as soon as these other weight loss drugs become available, we will be offering them. Check our news section for further updates.