Qsymia, pronounced as kyoo-SIM-ee-uh, earlier known as Qnexa and manufactured by Vivus Pharmaceuticals is the first weight loss drug to reach market in about 13 years. Qsymia is a combination of two FDA approved drugs phentermine and topiramate.

Phentermine is also a part of the unsafe diet control drug fen-phen.

Phentermine suppresses the appetite by triggering the release of the chemical norepinephrine in the brain. This chemical increases the blood concentration of the appetite-controlling hormone leptin.

The other drug topiramate is used for seizure and migraine. Topiramate gives a feeling of fullness thereby reducing food/calorie intake and helps increasing calorie burning.

Qsymia will be available on prescription and only to those doctors who have completed Qsymia provider-training program. The drug will be sold only through certified mail-order pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, and Kaiser Permanente. It is very well known that every drug has some side effects or complications. The patients who are prescribed this weight control drug need careful monitoring for any adverse side effects.

Qsymia does have serious side effects. One of the most troublesome is that the drug can cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy. Women of childbearing age must confirm with their doctor that they are using 100% effective birth control before they can get a Qsymia prescription. Like any other weight loss pill, Qsymia too is effective only if followed by a proper diet and exercise plan.

Qsymia is approved for people with obesity, overweight with a BMI of 27 and above and weight related conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.

Possible side effects include:-

  • Birth defects
  • Increased heart rate
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
  • Insomnia
  • Eye problems like sudden decrease in vision.

Qsymia is particularly very risky for pregnant women and it can cause birth defects even in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Women who are prescribed this drug are strictly advised to take birth control measures to avoid any risks for the new born. Women who are prescribed Qsymia for weight loss must take negative pregnancy test before and even during the course.

According to the manufacturer “If you take Qsymia during pregnancy,

your baby has a higher risk for birth defects called cleft lip and cleft palate. These defects can begin early in pregnancy, even before you know you are pregnant.”

Pregnant women should not take Qsymia under any circumstances.

Qsymia should not be taken by:

  • Pregnant women
  • People with glaucoma
  • People with hyperthyroidism
  • People taking anti-depressants
  • People allergic to phentermine or topiramate
  • People who had heart problems
  • People with kidney and liver problems
  • People who have seizures

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