Qysmia and Belviq
The major ingredient of Qysmia, phentermine, was once prescribed widely as the “phen” part of the Fen-Phen weight-loss drug, which was withdrawn from the market in 1997 after it was linked to both high blood pressure in the lungs and heart valve disease.
Qsymia was initially denied FDA approval in 2010 because of potential side effects, including heart palpitations and birth defects — such as cleft lip in babies — if taken by pregnant women. The drug also has other major side effects, including, possible numbness in the arms and legs.
Belviq may cause serious side effects, including “serotonin syndrome,” particularly when taken with certain medicines such as drugs used to treat depression and migraine. The drug may also cause problems with attention or memory.
Other common side effects of Belviq include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation. In patients with diabetes, side effects can include low blood sugar, headache, back pain, cough and fatigue.
The cost of the drug is relatively modest, at least compared to other medications on the market, and may range between $100 and $200 for a month’s supply.
But neither drug, despite the splash they’ve made in the news, is likely to make a significant dent in America’s obesity crisis, with two-thirds of the population either overweight or obese.
The problem that all the drug companies are overlooking is the fact that obesity is not only related to diet and exercise but also to hormonal imbalances, stress and lack of sleep.