New Diet Drug: Qnexa

Patients on the highest dose of Qnexa lost an average of 8.9 percent of their weight after adjusting for the effects of a placebo. More than 60 percent of patients on middle and high doses lost at least 5 percent of their weight, compared with 20 percent for those getting a placebo.
NY Times

Recall that the National Institutes of Health states that a “8-15% weight loss is often observed” from dieting.  So losing an average of 8.9% doesn’t seem all that to me. It is enough for the FDA to consider it an effective weight loss treatment, though, because the FDA requirements are:

[A] drug will be considered effective if at least one of the following criteria is satisfied after one year of treatment:

  1. The difference in mean weight loss between the active-product and placebo-treated groups is at least 5 percent and the difference is statistically significant
    or
  2. The proportion of subjects who lose greater than or equal to 5 percent of baseline body weight in the active-product group is at least 35 percent, is approximately double the proportion in the placebo-treated group, and the difference between groups is statistically significant

5% of baseline weight on average over a placebo.  For a 200lb person, that’s 10lbs. That’s what’s required to be an effective weight loss drug.

I think that says something pretty damning about the supposed ease of weight loss.

Meanwhile, the risks of Qnexa include suicidal thoughts, problems with thinking, birth defects, speeding heart rates and acid buildup.   I wouldn’t want to risk taking it.

Does this sound worth it to you?   Or do you figure it’s at least better than Alli?

More info: FDA review (PDF)

7/15 Update: FDA panel rejects Vivus weight-loss drug Qnexa

17 thoughts on “New Diet Drug: Qnexa

  1. Considering that my weight can fluctuate by 10 lbs from week to week, that is so not worth the side effects (and 5% of my body weight is 20 lbs and it’s still not worth it). Especially considering what they’ve said about the risks of weight loss for people who are middle-aged and older. I’ll stay fat and as healthy as I am now, thanks anyway, pharma (and don’t try doing me any more favors until you can come up with a weight loss drug with NO side effects, kthanksbai).

    • I’m willing to accept some side effects. I know my asthma meds make me more vulnerable to heat and cause dry mouth, for example, but it’s worth it to be able to breathe.

      What I’m not willing to accept are side effects that come without a benefit. A 5% weight loss isn’t enough of a benefit for me.

  2. Those are some scary side effects. I was always dubious of claims of a side effect being suicidal thoughts, especially for anti-depressants, but having had 1st person experience with that side effect, that’s nothing to mess around with.

    Ugh, when are people going to realize that weight loss cannot be achieved by putting down the cookie and going for a walk?

    • No, they realize that. You need to put down the cookie, go for a walk, *and* take whichever pill that your doctor is being paid to shill.

    • “when are people going to realize that weight loss cannot be achieved by putting down the cookie and going for a walk?”

      ^I cannot believe this toxic, ignorant comment was approved on a size positive site. So ignorant and sizeist, I can’t even.

      [I suggest you read it again. – Ed.]

  3. Hmm, I can easily lose 8-10% of my body weight just by increasing exercise. Which means I go down from 360 to 350 and I’m still deathfat, but without the nasty side effects.

    Of course, the local news outlets here report this new drug as “real hope for obese people to lose weight” and don’t mention the other illnesses you can get from taking it.

    Sorry, I’ll pass.

  4. At least 5% of weight. Fifteen pounds…wow. Be still my beating heart, I’d finally be able to shimmy into that…almost but not quite too tight chair.

    I fluctuate up to 20 pounds depending on a variety of factors, especially if I’ve spent any time sick that month. I’m still SuperFat at my lowest point. In order for the world to start treating me like I matter, I’d have to lose almost half my body weight. Even if they came up with a drug that did that, I’d rather take the health I can get now than risk my life.

    • The scary thing is how many MANY people I know who would be perfectly willing to try a procedure or pill with a 50% chance of death if it meant there was any chance at all of becoming “normal” as defined by society and most of the medical profession.

  5. I don’t know if it’s this one, or one of the other two currently in the FDA queue, but on ONE of them I was reading how it gave you this paltry amount of weight loss… AS LONG AS YOU KEPT TAKING IT…

    Patients who stopped taking it put the weight they had lost on much faster than “normal” (It did not mention if they also gained more besides).

  6. Considering that my body weight can fluctuate by as much as eight pounds in a single day (I spent a very bored day while house sitting playing with the scale a few years ago), a total weight loss of roughly twelve pounds doesn’t seem like enough benefit to me to put up with a racing heart and a fuzzy brain, let alone suicidal thoughts. That one scares me particularly since I have a strong family history of depression.

    The fact that the FDA keeps approving these drugs despite paltry results and scary side-effects tells me they’re more concerned with drug companies making money than protecting the public health.

    • Heh.

      Actually, Qnexa is a combination of the diet pill phentermine, which was the part of the fen-phen combination that was not taken off the market, and the epilepsy and migraine drug topiramate, which is sold by Johnson & Johnson as Topamax.

      I know people who take Topamax to avoid seizures. The number one complaint I’ve heard about is that it makes them stupid, as in, serious problems thinking straight enough to hold down a JOB.

      Yes, most have lost weight on Topamax. If I had migraines or seizures daily, enough that my job was already at risk? Hell yeah, give me Topamax. But risk my job just to lose weight? No thanks.

      • I cannot even explain how appalled I am that Topamax is part of a diet pill. They’re not kidding about “problems with thinking”. My husband had trouble communicating verbally when he took it for migraines – he’d get halfway through a sentence and not be able to find the next word. It was incredibly frustrating – and yes, it made him look stupid to people who didn’t understand what was going on. I think that once this is on the market and being used, most people will figure out that it’s not worth the side effects.

  7. Whoa whoa whoa, birth defects??? BIRTH DEFECTS?

    And guess who this pill is going to be marketed to? Child bearing women. No thank you. I’ll keep my reproductive organs intact….

  8. Just my experience – so this is not, of course, statistically signficant in any way – but topiramate/Topomax is also used as (I believe) an antipsychotic and sometimes as a mood-stabilizer (the use in my case). I’ve been taking the generic version, 100 mg daily, around 2 years, and found it to be massively helpful in controlling my really serious surges of anger and despair. The side effects – for *me* – have been minimal: I notice very minor incidents of aphasia perhaps half a dozen times a year. And oddly enough, though it’s not an appetite suppressant (for me, anyway), it’s cut down specifically on my tendency to binge eat. I *haven’t* lost weight, nor is that my intent, my eating patterns are just healthier. So it can, sometimes, for some people, in some respects, be a help – but I also tend to have very few side-effects from psychoactive meds.

  9. Pingback: July Month-End « Living ~400lbs

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