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September 23, 2010

Magic pill for weight loss "Qnexa"

A new weight-loss drug called Qnexa made by the pharmaceutical company Vivus, helped overweight people maintain an average weight loss of 11.4% of their initial body weight, or 26 pounds, through two years.

Vivus is currently in a three-way race with Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. (OREX) & Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ARNA) to market a new weight-loss drug. An FDA panel declined Arena’s lorcaserin last week, out of safety concerns in relation to the drug’s moderate effectiveness. Orexigen’s Contrave is facing an FDA panel in December.

Qnexa is taken orally only once a day. It is a controlled-release formulation of low-dose phentermine & topiramate, which Vivus says act in combination to reduce appetite & increase satiety. The entire safety report, including data on psychiatric & cardiovascular adverse events, will be presented at a later date. 

Vivus reported that the most common side effects seen with Qnexa were constipation, tingling, dry mouth, altered taste & insomnia. Serious side effects occurred in 4.1% of top-dose patients, 2.6% of mid-dose patients & 4% of the placebo group, but none of them were drug-related, according to the company. Vivus states that over one-third of the U.S. adult population is obese, equating to some 72 million people. The figure for obesity globally is approximated to be nearly 400 million people.

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