Monday, June 15, 2009

In the War on Obesity, Two Obesity Drugs Show Promise

As we've said before on this blog, there are three approaches to weight loss and weight management. They are lifestyle change, including diet and exercise; weight loss surgery; and obesity drugs. Each approach has its pros and cons. The most important pro for each of the approaches is that each approach can lead to weight loss. However, the cons are quite troubling.

For example, lifestyle modification is difficult to adhere to on a long term basis. Bariatric surgery is only advocated for severe obesity, plus the surgery produces complications. And obesity drugs have engendered less than stellar weight loss results, while causing serious side effects, including cardiovascular problems and thoughts of suicide. However, there are at least two drugs now in the pipeline that show promise.

The two drugs are Qnexa and Tesofensine. These drugs have shown positive weight loss results. Both of these drugs motivate weight loss by suppressing the appetite. And Qnexa also makes the user feel full. Qnexa is made by Vivus, Inc., a U.S. biopharmaceutical company, and Tesofensine is made by Neurosearch, a Danish biopharmaceutical company.

Qnexa is a combination of two other drugs. One of the drugs is phentermine. Phentermine was the "phen" in the drug combination fen-phen, and Fenfluramine was the "fen." Fen-phen was taken off the market in 1997 because the drug caused severe side effects, including cardiovascular problems. So far, however, Qnexa does not appear to produce fen-phen like complications.

Recent phase ll results for Qnexa have been positive. The side effects seen, so far, include constipation, tingling and nausea. And while Qnexa gave positive weight loss results, the drug also reduced some indicators associated with type 2 diabetes.

Tesofensine was originally developed to treat Parkinsons and Alzheimer's diseases. Although the drug was disappointing in fighting those diseases, it proved helpful in weight loss. And Neurosearch has completed phase ll testing of the drug, and gained FDA acceptance for the drug's phase lll test plans.

Both of the drugs, Qnexa and Tesofensine, have made significant progress. And either one could be an impressive obesity drug. This is especially true for Qnexa, because this drug has the potential to fight both obesity and type 2 diabetes. Of course, we will need to wait for the completion of the planned tests.

With the weight loss industry in need of a safe and effective weight loss drug, weight loss service and product providers should closely monitor Qnexa and Tesofensine phase lll results.

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