FDA votes against new obesity medication - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/15/10

FDA votes against new obesity medication

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By Karin McCay| email

Edited by Kristin Beerman | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – A panel of experts has voted against a drug that many had hoped would be the first obesity medication approved in over a decade.  FDA advisory committee members voted nine to seven against approving the drug Gnexa. Clinical trials found Gnexa helped people lose weight, but it also increased the risk for serious side effects like depression and birth defects. Gnexa is a combination of two appetite suppressants including one called Phentermine. You may remember Phentermine it's considered safe now, but years ago when it was part of the notorious Fen-Phen pill and it was taken off the market for a link to heart valve problems.

But don't give up hope for some help in a pill. Two more obesity drugs are scheduled for review before the end of the year.  Next on the schedule this fall is a drug called Lorcaserin, which has shown very few side effects and some health improvements in clinical trials.

"Things like blood pressure, blood sugar, inflammation all of these markers improved in the Lorcaserin studies," Louis Aronne, with New York Presbyterian Hospital at Weill Cornell Medical Center.  "I believe we're on the verge of a new era in weight management."

In the Lorcaserin studies, patients lost an average of 17 pounds over a year and in December FDA advisors are scheduled to review another weight loss drug, called Contrave.

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