The facts behind Big Pharma’s latest “magic bullet”

Now that it’s the New Year, everyone will be clamoring to lose that weight. And wouldn’t you know? There’s a new drug on the market to help you do just that.

Since so many turn to desperate measures, I thought we ought to examine this newest prescription weight loss “solution.” It’s called Qsymia. And honestly, I don’t even know how to pronounce it–let alone prescribe it.

But I am sure I don’t like it.

So what exactly is Qsymia? It’s a combo of two older drugs, phentermine and topiramate. And the FDA approved it for use last summer.

According to reports, Qsymia is more effective than any other weight loss medication on the market. Of course, that’s not saying very much, because weight loss drugs don’t tend to work well in general. And they’re only ever useful in a very small segment of the overweight population.

To make matters worse, doctors will most likely prescribe this new drug to all the wrong people. Just like they perform bariatric surgery in all sorts of inappropriate situations. (Can you tell I’m not a big fan of that procedure, either?)

Yes, there are guidelines for the “appropriate” use of this medication. But I warn you–they’re ridiculous.

For example, if a patient hasn’t lost at least 3 percent of his or her body weight within 12 weeks, the doctor will need to decide whether to discontinue Qsymia treatment or to increase the dosage. For a 200 lb person, that adds up to a mere six pound weight loss in 12 weeks.

Honestly. You can try my French fry and chocolate pudding diet and lose more weight than that.

Moreover, guidelines indicate any patient who steps up to the maximum dose should continue taking the medication for another 12 weeks before re-evaluation. And if they haven’t lost at least five percent of their starting weight by then, they should stop using the drug.

If a patient reaches that magic number, however, you can consider Qsymia an official success.

Are they kidding me?

That’s just 10 pounds in six months. My New Hamptons Health Miracle alone can help you safely lose anywhere from one to four pounds every week.

Yet no one’s handing me any FDA approval. Not that it means much, anyway. One look at this new combo’s potential health hazards should convince you of that.

Because topiramate is an anti-seizure medication, you have to slowly step down your dosage before stopping it–or risk having a seizure.

It can also cause cleft lip and palate in children born to mothers taking the drug. Needless to say, losing a few pounds the “easy” way is hardly worth risking possible congenital defects.

So any woman trying to conceive should avoid Qsymia like the plague.

Phentermine, on the other hand, is a stimulant. (It’s the “phen” in that infamous killer weight-loss combo, Phen-Fen.) Side effects include dangerous increases in blood pressure and pulse.

And those are just the ones we know about.

Obviously, anyone with a known history of cardiac arrhythmias or any history of cardiovascular disease should pass on this “wonder drug.” Because it will be another three to five years before we find out for sure if and how it will damage your heart.

A risk profile like this is one of the reasons I simply hate new weight loss drugs. Truth is, we’re just too desperate to find something to help curb this obesity epidemic. And I fear that too many people will fall victim to the risks before the data is in.

So here’s an idea. How about no one tries Qsymia at all?

Instead, do something truly good for yourself. Lose weight–for good–the New Hamptons Health Miracle way.

Prescribing Qsymia for Weight Loss. Medscape. Oct 26, 2012.