Two new prescription diet drugs, Belviq and Qsymia, are now on the market to help those people who are obese or those who are overweight and have other weight-related medical problems.
Although the drugs only claim to offer a 5 to 10 percent in weight loss, they could be another helping hand to doctors who are trying different ways to reverse the obesity trend in America.
Belviq, sold by Eisai, has just become available on the market this week and will soon be arriving in pharmacies all over the country. The way the drug works is to create a feeling of fullness by working on brain chemistry.
Belviq claims to be able to help obese patients take off about 5 percent of their starting weight and should be used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet as well as exercise.
Gary Palmer, chief medical officer for Eisai, said that the average monthly cost for a supply of Belviq is just under $200. How much the consumer will pay depends on the markup of the pharmacies and the consumer’s insurance coverage.
Palmer went on to say that Eisai was looking into different options to help consumers who need financial support to purchase the medication if they don’t have medical insurance.
Qsymia, from Vivus, which has been on the market since last September, claims to help overweight people to lose about 10 percent of their starting weight. It works similarly to Belviq by increasing the feeling of fullness and by suppressing their appetite.
According to reports, about 33 percent of people in the U.S. are obese, which means that they are about 35 pounds over their healthy weight. The two new drugs are designed to help these people and others who are overweight and have the added problems of high blood pressure, diabetes (type 2) or high cholesterol.
The drugs are not intended to be used by people who just want to lose a few pounds of weight to look better.
Michael Miller, senior vice president at Vivus, said that Qsymia costs about $150 a month to those patients who pay cash. He went on to say that about 33 percent of the patients, of the 89,000 prescriptions that were written for the drug from September to March, received coverage from their insurance companies.
As an incentive to try to get people to try Qsymia, Vivus is offering the first two weeks supply of the medicine free of charge, and giving a 50 percent discount for the first month of treatment, according to Miller.
However, some experts are worried about the side effects of both drugs. Apparently both Belviq and Qsymia have raised the heart rates of some patients and doctors are worried that this could be a major problem for patients who have heart-valve concerns.