Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vivus Is Planning to Apply for FDA Approval for Its Obesity Drug Qnexa

A few obesity drugs in the drug pipeline are continuing to show promise. The companies, developing obesity drugs, that have recently received attention include the California based companies, Vivus, Arena and Orexigen. Vivus manufactures the drug Qnexa. Arena makes the drug lorcaserin, and Orexigen produces the drug contrave. But Vivus, with its drug Qnexa, is currently dominating the news.

Qnexa is a combination of two drugs: phentermine and topiramate. Phentermine was used in the obesity drug combination fen-phen. Fenfluramine and Phentermine were fen-phen. Fen-phen was taken off the market in the 90s, at the request of the FDA, because of severe side effects, including cardiovascular problems. But phentermine was the safer of the two drugs.

Qnexa motivates weight loss by suppressing the appetite, and by making the user feel full. So far, the main Qnexa side effects are “dry mouth, tingling, constipation, altered taste and insomnia.”
And persons participating in Qnexa drug trials experienced an approximate 15 percent weight loss. This weight loss percentage greatly exceeds FDA guidelines. Further, Qnexa has the potential to reduce some risks associated with diabetes.

The market for obesity drugs is potentially lucrative, if an obesity drug is found that is safe and effective. “JMP securities recently projected Qnexa's annual sales would hit $1.5 billion by 2015.”

Based on trials results, Vivus expects to apply for approval from the FDA to market the Qnexa by the end of this year. The company is then planning to start marketing the drug by the end of 2010. Also, the company will start looking for collaborative opportunities to sell the drug.

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 if reasonable, the companies should take advantage of collaborative opportunities.

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