Health Team

Weight-loss drug 'suppressed my appetite, gave me more energy'

Posted April 11, 2011

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— Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and for many, simple diet and exercise remedies don't seem to work long term.

Doctors have been looking for a more effective medical treatment before turning to weight loss surgery, and Duke researchers believe they may have found an answer.

For many years, Mary Williams tried diet, exercise and even nutrition counseling to lose weight.

“Reducing on my own, I wasn't successful at all,” she said.

Concerned about her high cholesterol, the 51-year-old joined a Duke study for the investigational drug QNEXA, a controlled release combination of two drugs, phentramine and topiramate.

“I was trying to go for 20 pounds, and I ended up doing 38,” Williams said.

All 2,500 participants received nutritional counseling. Those who took a placebo only lost an average of 3 pounds in a year.

“The higher dose of drug therapy achieved 22-pound weight loss, and even the lower dose achieved about 18-pound weight loss,” said Dr. Kishore Gadde, director of obesity trials at Duke.

weight loss drug Study: Weight loss drug suppresses appetite, boosts energy

Gadde says the treatment also significantly reduces blood pressure, blood sugar and triglycerides.

Last October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that QNEXA could not be approved in its current form. They asked for more safety data because of side effect concerns. Now the manufacturer is expected to resubmit its application.

Gadde says QNEXA offered an average of up to 10 percent weight loss, whereas current drugs on the market only offer up to 3 percent.

“So there is a need for treatments that are more effective,” Gadde said.

Williams said the study drug is the only thing that's worked for her.

“(It) really suppressed my appetite, gave me more energy,” she said.


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  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Apr 15, 2011

    "Ask your doctor if getting off your tush is right for you!"

    How very intolerant of you. That's fine when you're in your 20's or 30's, but put in a couple more decades and weight loss becomes much more difficult no matter how much you diet and exercise.

  • jollyrogered Apr 15, 2011

    Ask your doctor if getting off your tush is right for you!

  • fourfivesix Apr 14, 2011

    the generic version of accutane is still available.

  • sd1969 Apr 14, 2011

    I did the Qnexa clinical trial for one year when I lived in SoFla. It's a miracle drug when nothing else, even diet and exercise, works. The FDA won't approve it because of the BIRTH defects it causes, which I feel is unfair. The FDA approved Accutane (for severe acne) regardless of its birth defects (and suicidal tendencies) and demanded female patients visit their doctors monthly to take mandatory pregnancy tests. Why won't they do that with Qnexa? (Yes, I know Accutane is no longer available.) Chantix? For smoking? Same thing. A girlfriend of mine took that drug, had an unplanned pregnancy, and had to terminate, yet Chantix is approved. FDA - where's the fair balance?

  • NC Sunshine Apr 12, 2011

    You can get the benefit of weight loss same as you'd get on Jenny Craig at home by following a Low Glycemic Index Diet. It works great whether or not you have diabetes.

  • ifgraceisanocean Apr 12, 2011

    sborgesi: It did the same thing for me. I lost a lot of weight and it altered my eating habits completely. That's how I was able to lose 73 pounds and complete my first 5K. Now I run or do some type of exercising every single day. I only take it when I need it now, and I've managed to keep the weight off. Phentermine (Adipex) saved my life. I really don't know why they want to add anything else to it.

  • whateveryousay Apr 12, 2011

    Originally, this was a drug intended for epileptics. Then, it was discovered that it worked well for migraines, and nerve pain, generally in the head and neck area( which is what I was taking it for).

    One of the side effects, is that you [can] lose weight on it, rather it caused weight loss. However, I didn't lose an ounce, and have been off of it for 10 months now, and still have some permanent effects from it.

    I will say, it was the longest time frame, 12 months, I ever went in 25 years without a daily migraine, but I was going bald, and losing my memory, sense of taste, smell, I was a total (b) witch, had insomnia, that the good dr. wanted to cure with yet another drug.. no thanks... and many many more effects that were less than super.

    They combined it with the Phentermine (topiramate is the generic term for Topamax) Named Qinexa.

  • NCMom1 Apr 12, 2011


    What does topamax have to do with a weightloss drug?

  • Hevans1012 Apr 12, 2011

    Well, I took Topiramate (topamax), and it was a flipping nightmare. I was taking it for nerve pain and severe migraines, "I lost well over half my hair, vision changes, muscle loss, and it made it a babbling mor on for the time I was on it. I weaned myself off of it, and never got any new hair growth, my vision is terrible and my memory as well. Didnt lose one single pound either. They call it "Dopa Max"! Ill pass. whateveryousay"

    I took it too and noticed real quick the horrible side affects! Only good was I did loose weight but lost all taste.

  • Susan08 Apr 12, 2011

    I took phentermine for 3 1/2 months and it worked for me. I lost 23 pounds, changed the way I ate and lived and have kept it off. I had tried for years to do it the "old fashioned way" and didn't get any results. This pill suppressed my appetite and gave me energy to work out more and, when I saw results, I was motivated to keep it up. It gave me the "jump start" I needed. However, it isn't for everyone. I think that it can work with a doctor's monitoring for those who have tried everything.