New Weight-Control Medications In Clinical Trials
Qnexa (phentermine and topamax)

Phentermine is, of course, an FDA approved weight control medication and
Topamax is an anti-epileptic drug that has been noted to produce weight loss in
many people. Vivus Inc. a California pharmaceutical company has filed a new
drug application with the FDA for Qnexa and results from preliminary clinical trials
are encouraging. The most common side effects associated with this drug
combination appear to be dry mouth, tingling in the fingers and toes, and
constipation. The FDA is slated to make a decision regarding the approval of this
drug combination by the end of the year 2010.

Rimonobant (Acomplia)

Rimonbant is an absolutely new class of pharmaceutical agent called a
"cannabinoid receptor 1 antagonist" and has been shown to produce significant
weight loss in people. The drug was tenatively approved in the European Union
in June, 2006 and went on sale over-the-counter in the United Kingdom in July,
2006. The drug's approval in the United States was wisely delayed by the FDA.

Shortly after the drug began selling over the counter, it became clear that the
drug was producing a large number of psychiatric problems in users. Most of the
problem seems to have been severe depression triggered by the drug.
Ultimately, the risks of the drug were deemed unnaceptably high and it was
withdrawn from the market around the world. Acomplia had never been approved
in the United States and the FDA did not approve it in light of the European
experience. Several other cannabinoid receptor 1 antagonists are in early phase
clinical trials in the hope that they may offer the same benefits without the
risks. I wouldn't hold my breath....

Empatic (Bupropion {Wellbutrin} & Zonisamide)

This is another two-drug combination very similar to Qnexa that has shown some
promising initial results in phase-2 clinical trials.

Contrave (Bupropion & Naltrexone)

Yet another two-drug combination, this time bupropion and the opiate
antagonist naltrexone (Narcan). Again, clinical trials show efficacy, a new drug
application was submitted to the FDA in 2010 and the agency is reviewing the
data collected in clinical trials.

Cetilistat

This is a lipase inhibitor in clinical trials with similar effectiveness and side
effects as orlistat.

GT 389-255

This is an early code-name for a combination of a lipase inhibitor (similar to
orlistat
) and a polymer designed to bind-up undigested triglyceride in the hopes
of preventing the gastrointestinal side effects associated with lipase inhibitors
alone.

Lorcaserin

This is a drug with a similar mode of action to fenfluramine-the diet drug banned
by the FDA in 1997 (fenfluramine was the 'fen' in "fen-phen"). It is currently in
very early phase-1 clinical trials to determine wether or not it also can produce
the heart damage that was associated with fenfluramine.

Vabicaserin

This is another fenfluramine-like drug similar to lorcaserin. It has not yet entered
clinical trials for weight control.

Exenatide (Byetta)

Derived from gila monster spit, I have a whole page devoted to this drug here.

Pramlintide

This drug shares some similarities to Byetta and, like Byetta, it is already on the
market in the US and is approved for the treatment of type-1 and type-2
diabetes. The drug is an amylin analogue that also seems to promote weight loss
in much the same manner as Byetta.
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