After years of waiting, FDA approves two new diet pills giving hope to Valley residents

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by Carina Sonn

azfamily.com

Posted on July 19, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 19 at 7:20 PM

PHOENIX -- After more than a decade of putting diet pill approvals on pause, the Food and Drug Administration has recently given the go-ahead to two different weight loss medications.

Qsymia - a combination of two different drugs already on the market - and Belviq, will be available in two to six months, giving hope to many who struggle with their weight.

"I've been 50 pounds heavier than I am now and I've gone up and down as much as 75 pounds over the years," said Barbara Bourque, a patient at Scottsdale Weight Loss Center.

Bourque said her struggle started when she turned 13.

In addition to almost daily exercise and healthy eating, Bourque is taking the weight loss pill Phentermine - which is partially doing its job.

"I feel like it increases my metabolism but it hasn't really helped much with my hunger so I'm hoping that some of the new drugs coming out will help with that," said Bourque.

For more than a decade, options have been limited for those looking to lose weight with the help of a pill.

"There's only two or three, they've really been on the market for a long time and they're good, but they aren't great," said Dr. Craig Primack who has seen increased interest in the last several weeks.

Primack said Belviq is a new drug that will likely help with appetite. Qsymia, a mix of Phentermine and Topiramate works on both appetite and metabolism, and doctors already prescribe the two separately.

Like with any medication, the side effects include rapid heartbeat, anxiety, insomnia, forgetfulness and even serious birth defects.

You can only get the drugs with a doctor's prescription. To qualify you must have a body mass index of 30, which is considered obese, or be an overweight adult who has at lest one weight-related condition.

Some health experts say the possible benefits aren't worth any long term risks and recommend sticking to a good diet and exercise plan.

The medications are expected to be available in two to six months.

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