Weight Loss Pill Also Lowers Blood Pressure
Qnexa Suppresses Appetite, Lowers Blood Pressure in Study
WebMD News Archive
May 4, 2010 (New York) -- An experimental weight loss/blood pressure pill
may pack a one-two punch against hunger and high blood pressure, one of the
main health consequences of obesity, according to new research presented at the
American Society of Hypertension’s 25th annual meeting in New York.
Taken once a day, Qnexa combines the appetite suppressant phentermine with
the anti-seizure drug topiramate in a unique formulation. Data on this drug are
slated to be reviewed this summer by an FDA advisory panel. The FDA is not
obligated to follow the advice of its expert panels, but it usually does.
Phentermine quickly suppresses appetite, while the controlled-release
topiramate decreases appetite and increases satiety throughout the day. “When
the hunger comes back, the topiramate kicks in,” says study author Suzanne
Oparil, MD, a professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics and director of
the vascular biology and hypertension program at the University of Alabama at
Birmingham. Topiramate also has blood pressure-lowering effects, she says.
Oparil is a consultant for Qnexa manufacturer Vivus.
The new analysis of three separate studies included more than 4,500 people.
Researchers compared several doses of the new pill with placebo among severely
obese adults, as well as overweight, nonobese people who had other health
problems related to their weight, such as high blood pressure or metabolic
syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that increase risk for diabetes and heart
Overall, people who took the combination pill lost more weight than their
counterparts who were given a placebo. The higher the dose, the more
substantial the weight loss, and the more likely it was to be maintained over
time, the study shows.
At six months, people who took the full dose of Qnexa once daily lost nearly
10% of their body weight; by one year, it was up to 10.4%. Those who took the
medium dose of the pill lost 8% of their body weight at six months and 8.2% by
one year. The people who took the lowest dose of the drug dropped about 5.1% of
body weight at six months, and, on average, gained some back by one year.
The new drug also resulted in drops in systolic blood pressure -- the upper
number in a blood pressure reading -- at one year.
A sub-analysis of people with high blood pressure showed that the new pill
also helped reduce blood pressure in this group and allowed them to reduce the
number of other blood pressure medications they were taking.
The new pill did have some side effects, including altered taste,
constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, and headache. But “there were no
surprises,” Oparil says.
“It was safe and efficacious across a broad patient population -- some who
were very obese and some who were less obese, but had metabolic syndrome or
high blood pressure,” she says.