A new medication already used in the US to successfully help obese people lose weight and maintain the loss will soon be available in Australia, according to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
The downside is that there are adverse effects.
A combination of phentermine, which suppresses appetite, and topiramate, which is used to treat epilepsy and migraine, has recently been approved in the US as a single-pill medication for obese adults.
Researchers led by Professor Joseph Proietto from Austin Hospital in Melbourne analysed data on patients dispensed phentermine– topiramate between January 2010 and July 2012 to measure cessation rates, adverse events, duration of use, and weight and blood pressure before, during and after use of this combination.
Of the 103 patients for whom data were analysed, 61 stopped phentermine– topiramate, with 41 ceasing because of adverse effects including cognitive changes, dry mouth, depression and tingling, prickling, or burning skin sensations.
Mean weight for the group decreased by 13 kilograms during the first phase of treatment — a very low energy diet — and this loss was maintained by those who were able to continue the combination drugs.
“For 30 patients who continued on phentermine–topiramate … the mean weight decreased by 6.7kg between the end of the very low energy diet and the last observation during pharmacotherapy,” Dr Neoh and her coauthors wrote.
“Combination pharmacotherapy with phentermine and topiramate may soon be available in Australia.”
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