Weight-Loss Drug Excites Patients, But Docs May Be Cautious When Pills Hit Market

It has been quite some time since a new weight-loss drug hit market, and now two are all but ready for use by the American public.

Pharmaceutical news this week has focused on the weight-loss drug Qsymia, and another weight-loss Belviq, is also soon to be available to American consumers. Now there are two more tools to combat the growing issue of obesity in America, but will any progress be made in the struggle with newly available pharmaceutical aids?

The weight-loss drug issue largely dates back to the once-popular drug Phen-Fen, a combination therapy was exceedingly efficient in prompting weight loss — but also had serious and sometimes deadly cardiovascular side effects.

The Phen-Fen issue was characteristic of the problems that often exist with a weight-loss drug — essentially that nothing really comes without a cost, and most drugs in the genre are either addictive, dangerous, inefficient, or some combination of the three. Coupled with the fact that most people feel obesity can really be overcome with behavior modification, and weight-loss drugs present a real conundrum for doctors.

So Belviq and Qsymia will soon (relatively) be available, and demand will certainly be strong from patients who have been struggling to lose weight — but will doctors actually prescribe the new meds?

One expert, James Coutcher of Global Data Healthcare, told MedPage Today that docs might be wary until a few years have passed and each new weight-loss drug has been deemed safe:

“A number of treatments have made it to the market only to be withdrawn… We expect physicians will be wary of prescribing either one.”

FDA Approves Weight-Loss Pill Qsymia

University of Michigan medical professor Lee Green, MD, told the site that the risk-benefit ratio remains to be seen:

“That takes an obese 250-pound man with a BMI of 38 down to 34 — still obese, still at risk for diabetes, heart attacks, still having knee and back problems from the weight… I understand the desire for a miracle pill, a silver bullet, to deal with the very difficult and stubborn problem of obesity, but I don’t think it’s going to be that easy,” he added. “I will be surprised if either one is still on the market in 5 years.”

Do you think we will be waiting a long time for a useful weight-loss drug in the obesity battle?