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FDA Considers Weight Loss Drugs

July 12, 2010, 5:11 PM by Kelli Grant

FDA Considers Weight Loss Drugs
With 35 percent of adults considered obese in this country, hopes are high for the first prescription diet drugs to be considered by the FDA in more than a decade.

The first of a trio of new weight loss drugs being considered by the Food and Drug Administration will be unveiled this week. And many hope it will safely deliver significant weight loss.

The FDA will post its review of a pill called Qnexa Monday and holds a public meeting on Thursday to take public testimony on the drug. Qnexa is made from two old drugs. One of these drugs was contained in the diet pill, Fen-Phen. The other drug is Topamax, which was originally developed for migraines and seizures.

The drug reportedly works by reducing hunger and making patients feel full. According to the drug's manufacturer, patients involved in clinical trials using Qnexa saw an increase in their metabolism while taking the weight-loss pill, and also reduced their risk factors for heart disease and inflammation, which can increase the risk for heart attack or stroke.

Of the three drugs being considered by the FDA, Qnexa showed the best weight loss results, with patients losing 18 to 37 pounds over 13 months. But the drug also had the highest dropout rate among patients who complained of side effects including a "pins and needles" feeling in their skin and a dry mouth.

So far, drug makers have had little success in treating the causes of overeating without worrying side effects.The two other diet drugs being considered for approval should be reviewed in October and December.

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