Weight Loss Drug Qnexa Performs Well in Trials

The weight loss drug class may soon have another member: Qnexa. The experimental drug displayed impressive results in its latest trials, as it is credited with helping obese individuals lose up to nearly 15 percent of their body weight without causing severe side effects often seen with other weight loss medications.

Drugs to treat obesity and overweight are among the most commonly used in the United States and around the globe. According to the 2008 report entitled “Booming Global Obesity Drug Market” from Reportlinker, while obesity is rising at a tremendous rate, the market for weight loss drugs has not met the challenge. Reasons include the failure of many drugs to get approved, a serious problem with side effects, and a lack of results from the weight loss drugs on the market.

The latest weight loss drug to vie for a potential market position is Qnexa. Results of recent trials have yet to be published and will be presented at medical conferences while they are also filed for marketing approval with the Food and Drug Administration by the end of 2009.

The makers of Qnexa, Vivus, reports that it has tested the drug in 3,754 obese adults and have not recorded any serious side effects. In one test, patients were given a low dose of the drug, and these subjects lost about 5 percent of their weight, or 18 pounds. Participants who were given a stronger dose had a weight loss of nearly 15 percent, or 37 pounds.

In another study, participants who took a stronger dose lost more than 13 percent of their body weight, or 30 pounds. The studies lasted 56 weeks, and all the participants were also on a low-calorie diet. In contrast with the Qnexa-treated participants, those who took a placebo saw a mere 2 percent weight loss.

Although the new weight loss drug did not cause any serious side effects, which is a problem with many of the weight loss drugs that have been brought to market over the years, some participants did experience dry mouth, altered taste, tingling sensations, constipation, and insomnia.

Qnexa is a combination of two drugs that have already been approved for market: phentermine, which is a commonly prescribed drug for weight loss; and topiramate, which is used to treat migraine and epilepsy. It has been formulated to be taken once daily.

The makers of Qnexa also report that subjects who took the weight loss drug experienced a lowering of their blood pressure, blood lipids, and blood sugar levels. These indicators, along with being overweight, are risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. Therefore along with the weight loss benefits, Qnexa could provide other health advantages.

SOURCES:
New York Times, Sept. 9, 2009
Reportlinker report, “Booming Global Obesity Drug Market”
San Jose Mercury, Sept. 9, 2009
Wall Street Journal, Sept. 9, 2009

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