Two(?) new weight loss medications
The FDA was busy last week as they have approved 2 new products for weight loss.
The first is called CONTRAVE and it is a combination of 2 older medications: WELLBUTRIN (anti-depressant) and NALTREXONE (anti-addiction). 40% of patients lost about 5% of their weight. BELVIQ patients lost on average 3.5% and QYSMIA (Phentermine/Topamax) lost almost 9%.
The second drug has also been around for a few years. VICTOZA is an injectable medication used for treating diabetes ( this is NOT insulin). Because it may slow gastric emptying, it can lead to decreased appetite and therefore weight loss. The “new” name of the medicine will be called SAXENDA and will be dosed higher than Victoza. Potential side effects include nausea and pancreatitis. If used in diabetics, SAXENDA may also cause hypoglycemia if used in combination with other diabetes drugs.
I think the best weight loss medication is phentermine and is enhanced when combined with Topamax. I have seen mixed results with Belviq and Wellbutrin/Naltrexone. Adding VICTOZA/SAXENDA to Phentermine and Topamax may be the best combination to achieve your weight loss goals.
Here are 3 important facts to keep in mind:
1. Just 2% of people who are candidates for drug treatment are using a drug at this time.
2. Insurers are increasingly paying for the medications, with 60% of privately insured patients now getting some coverage.
3. There is no generic for BELVIQ or VICTOZA but both QYSMIA and CONTRAVE can both be written as inexpensive generics which should work just as well as the brand names