Qsymia Improves Cholesterol & Blood Pressure

VIVUS, Inc. recently announced that the QsymiaTM (phentermine and topiramate extended-release) capsules led to significant improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides in obese and overweight patients experiencing one or more of these associated conditions. The improvements were significantly greater among patients who lost 10% or more of their starting weight. The study was published online in The American Journal of Cardiology and can be accessed via the following link: [http://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(12)02641-0/abstract].

“This provides clear evidence that patients with hypertension or high cholesterol treated with Qsymia for one year experienced significant weight loss and clinically meaningful improvements in their underlying cardiovascular risk factors,” said Suzanne Oparil , M.D., Director of the Vascular Biology and Hypertension Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and an investigator in the study. “The ability to improve underlying risk factors is another reason physicians should proactively discuss the medical treatment of obesity with their patients who have failed lifestyle modification alone.”

Obesity is a chronic condition defined by having excess body fat. Obesity and smoking are the leading causes of preventable death in the U.S., and obesity contributes directly to numerous life-threatening conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke. According to the World Health Organization and CDC, more than 500 million people worldwide and approximately one-third of American adults (more than 78 million people) are obese. In addition to obesity, high cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides are significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Qsymia is approved in the U.S. and is indicated as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese) or 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related medical condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.

The effect of Qsymia on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been established. The safety and effectiveness of Qsymia in combination with other products intended for weight loss, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and herbal preparations, have not been established.

Not All Medications are Covered by Insurance

If you think your insurance will cover anything your doctor prescribes, think again. Below you will find a categorized list of medications that many insurance plans do not cover.

Medication for Anorexia or weight loss:

Fertility Medications:

  • Clomid
  • Gonal-f
  • Ovidrel
  • Pregnyl
  • Fertinex
  • Pergonal
  • Metrodin
  • Follistim

Medications for cosmetic purposes or hair growth:

Medication for Cough and cold symptoms:

  • Phenergan w/Codeine
  • Robitussin AC
  • Tanafed
  • Tessalon Perle

Prescription vitamins:

  • Nephrocaps
  • Foltx
  • Cyanocobalamin

Barbiturates: (With the exception of when it’s used for the treatment of epilepsy, cancer, and chronic mental disorder)

Drugs for sexual dysfunction:

  • Viagra
  • Cialis
  • Levitra
  • Muse
  • Caverject

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FDA Approves Another Diet Pill; Qysmia

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved yet another weight loss drug. Next to Belviq, makes the second diet drug within in the last month. Previously the agency had not approved a new drug for long-term weight loss since 1999.  Many doctors consider Qsymia, manufactured by  Vivus, the most effective therapy in a new generation of anti-obesity pills designed to help patients safely lose weight.

The agency cleared the pill Qsymia for adults who are obese or overweight and have at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.

Studies show that patients taking Qsymia for a year lost 7 to 9 percent of their body weight. That was more than two other weight loss pill recently reviewed by the FDA. The medication is actually a combination of two older drugs that have long been known to help with weight loss: phentermine and topirimate.

Phentermine is a stimulant that suppresses the appetite, and has long been used for short-term weight loss. Topiramate is an anticonvulsant, sold by Johnson & Johnson as Topamax, that makes people feel more satiated after eating. These medications can be acquired by prescription written by your doctor or a specialist.

Researchers say the innovation of Qsymia lies in targeting multiple brain signals that drive people to overeat.

Many doctors may have called on the FDA to approve new weight loss treatments because the obesity rate in the U.S. is rapidly growing. As of this writing, nearly 35 percent of the American population is considered obese.  The FDA’s successive approval of Qsymia and Belviq suggests a new desire to make weight loss medications available.

The FDA initially rejected Vivus’ drug in 2010 over concerns that it can cause birth defects if taken by pregnant women. The agency laid out a risk-management plan Tuesday specifically designed to minimize the chance of the women becoming pregnant while using the drug. It recommends that women of childbearing age test negative for pregnancy before starting the drug and take a monthly pregnancy test while taking it.

The agency also said patients with recent or unstable heart disease or stroke may not be ideal candidates for the drug because its effect on heart rates in those patients is not known. The FDA stated that Vivus has to do studies of the heart effects of Qsymia.