Bowl, Glass, and Newspaper

Qsymia: FDA Approval Expands Options for Teens

Phentermine Topiramate in Adolescents with ObesityToday we will take every little bit of good news we can. So the word that FDA is adding one more obesity treatment option for teens with Qsymia, though incremental, is certainly good news. In approving the drug for this use, FDA noted that the teens taking it lost between five and seven percent of their BMI, while those on placebo gained three percent.

Of course, all of the patients in this study were getting coaching on lifestyle changes – family therapy on diet and exercise. Thus, it tells us a lot that the youth receiving placebos kept on gaining weight while this newly approved medicine helped others lose a bit.

It reminds us that this is a disease where the body’s regulation of fat storage has gone awry.

Moving Beyond Eat Less, Move More, and Hope for the Best

Over the weekend at Obesity Treatment 2022, Yale professor Ania Jastreboff reviewed the options for pharmacotherapy in children and adolescents. The visual above offers a small glimpse of the information she presented. In sum, she told us:

“Obesity is a chronic disease that’s treatable at any age. So for pediatric patients it’s important to consider the use of all available tools, including anti-obesity medications. And because it is a chronic disease, compassionate lifelong treatment is paramount.”

For too long, the default has been to tell youth and their families to buck up, try harder, eat less, eat better, move more, and hope for the best. Well, this generic advice hasn’t been helping much.

Of course it’s important for every child to eat healthfully and enjoy an active life. But obesity is not simply a disease that comes from eating the wrong things the wrong way. It’s a disease where a fundamental process of human physiology – adipose tissue regulation – is not working right.

Simply hoping for the best doesn’t fix that problem. What can fix it is good obesity care, delivered by health professionals who know what they’re doing. And they can do that better when they have more tools.

Good News with More to Come

So it’s good news that FDA approved Qsymia yesterday for obesity in teens. It’s even better news that more is coming. The pivotal trial for semaglutide in teens is now complete and we’ll be seeing those results in a peer-reviewed publication soon. Planning has begun on studies of tirzepatide in youth with obesity. Over time, better options for young people with obesity will bring better care and better outcomes.

Click here and here for more on the approval, here and here for more on the pivotal trial.

Bowl, Glass, and Newspaper; painting by Juan Gris / WikiArt

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June 28, 2022