Anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight has wished they could pop a pill and be done with the whole thing. And we have no doubt that whoever invents that pill will make billions. Over the years, there have been a few drugs that helped with weight management, but in most cases, the side-effects were so severe (and sometimes even deadly) that they were taken off the market.
But there’s a new drug—which is a combination of two other drugs, phentermine and topiramate extended release—in phase III FDA trials that may be what people have been waiting for. So far, the results in terms of weight loss and reducing diabetes risk have been pretty impressive.
In a placebo-controlled, double-blind study, researcher W. Timothy Garvey and his colleagues analyzed data from 475 overweight or obese people who had prediabetes (316), metabolic syndrome (451), or both (292). The participants were randomly put into one of three groups: placebo, a low dose of the drug combination (7.5mg of phentermine and 46mg of topiramate ER), or a high dose of the combination (15mg of phentermine, 92mg of topiramate ER). All of the participants also agreed to make certain lifestyle modifications. The study lasted a little over two years (108 weeks) and tracked participants’ weight, glycemia and cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and waist circumference. The results?
- The folks in the in the low dose group lost an average of 10.9% of their body weight. Those in the high-dose group lost 12.1%, and those in the placebo group lost 2.5%.
- Compared to placebo, those taking the low dose drug combination reduced their risk of diabetes by 70.5% and those taking the high dose reduced their risk by 78.7%.
- In addition, patients had improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors, which include things like high blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and high insulin levels.
In the interests of full disclosure, this study was funded and designed by Vivus, the maker of the new drug. Vivus was also involved in collecting, managing, and analyzing data. Still, the results are so significant that it’s worth asking your medical provider to look into the new drug.