Weight-loss Drug Qsymia vs. Exercise
The FDA approval of a weight-loss drug called “Qsymia” generated a bit of buzz today. So, I felt the need to create a quick table highlighting the benefits and potential side effects of this new drug vs. good ol’ exercise. Yes, I know it is a little tongue-in-cheek. But, I am so very tired of people waiting and hoping for some miracle drug that will enable them to lose weight without all of that pesky exercising or eating healthy. Is it true that some people may not be able to exercise enough to control their weight? Yes, that is true for some people. But, let’s be honest here. Do you truly think that only people with the most extreme cases of obesity and special circumstances will be asking for this drug? The pharmaceutical company wouldn’t make its multimillion dollar profit if that was the case.
I hear people constantly saying that they will do anything to lose the weight. When I say; “Have you tried cutting out processed foods?”, the answer is always “Ummm, no. I could never do that! I can’t give up bread/cheese/my favorite soda.” So, I’m afraid that I have to call B.S. Most people will not do anything to lose weight, as evidenced by their stubborn refusal to eat clean and exercise consistently. What they mean is that they will risk their health, even risk their life, to take some damn drug that will shortcut the whole process. It just makes me sad.
When I see this list of potential side effects from taking Qsymia, I can’t imagine why anyone would take the risk:
- Fetal Toxicity: Pregnancy Category X – Negative pregnancy test required before treatment and monthly thereafter in females of reproductive potential; Qsymia is available through a limited program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS)
- Increase in Heart Rate: Monitor heart rate in all patients, especially those with cardiac ort cerebrovascular disease.
- Suicidal Behavior and Ideation: monitor for depression or suicidal thoughts and discontinue if symptoms develop.
- Acute myopia and secondary angle closure glaucoma: discontinue Qsymia
- Mood and sleep disorders: consider dose reduction or withdrawal for clinically significant or persistent symptoms.
- Cognitive impairment: may cause attention or memory disturbances; caution if operating moving vehicle or hazardous machinery when starting treatment.
- Metabolic acidosis: measure electrolytes before/during treatment.
- Elevated creatinine: measure creatinine before/during treatment.
- Use of Antidiabetic Medications: Weight loss may cause hypoglycemia. Measure serum glucose before/during treatment.
Qsymia is to be prescribed to chronically obese patients who have had limited success to other weight loss programs such as exercise and dieting. It is not a wonder drug for all people to use but rather a serious medication for obesity.