The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has already approved two weight-loss drugs this year. Qsymia, made by Vivus (NASDAQ:VVUS), was approved Tuesday. It follows last month’s approval of diet drug Belviq, produced by Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA).
Qsymia has been approved for adults with a body mass index of 30 or greater. Adults with such high BMIs are considered obese. The pill also is approved for overweight adults with a BMI of 27 or greater, if they have one at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol, the FDA says.
The new drug is intended to be used in conjunction with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet.
“Obesity threatens the overall well being of patients and is a major public health concern,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation & Research said in a press release. “Qsymia, used responsibly in combination with a healthy lifestyle that includes a reduced-calorie diet and exercise, provides another treatment option for chronic weight management in Americans who are obese or are overweight and have at least one weight-related comorbid condition.”
Diet pills have been controversial for decades, and experts regularly caution individuals who want to lose weight to consult with a physician before starting any type of dieting regime.
In addition to approving Qsymia, the FDA approved a drug Monday that can help prevent HIV.