Choosing the right weight management medication to best suit your health goals

Posted: March 05, 2024 | Word Count: 1,052

Struggling with weight loss is a problem everyone is familiar with – either they themselves or someone close to them has faced challenges in maintaining a healthy weight. Obesity is a disorder involving excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems.1 A common, serious and costly chronic disease that affects adults and children, obesity is on the rise in the United States.2 About one-third of Americans suffer from obesity.2 Many have other chronic, expensive medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.2

“Obesity is a disease caused by many factors, including eating patterns, physical activity levels, sleep routines and genetics,3” said Dr. Anthony Auriemma JD, FOMA, obesity medicine specialist at Ascension Medical Group Illinois. “There is no one size fits all approach to treating obesity, which is a complex condition. While lifestyle intervention is the basis of treatment, it is important to consider the new therapies FDA approved for chronic weight management.4

Obesity is a chronic condition that requires long-term commitment to treatment.5 It’s important to consider the range of options as some therapies may be more appropriate than others to help manage weight loss in people with diabetes or cardiovascular disease.5 In addition, the benefits of weight loss through medication have been shown to have positive effects on managing other diseases such as high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and heart disease.6

“When treating obesity, it’s essential to consider the specific challenges of each person,” said Dr. Anthony Auriemma JD, FOMA. “Many new therapies are now available; It's essential to look beyond the hype and, together, carefully evaluate the various options before committing to a weight loss strategy.5 Specifically, people in partnership with their physician should consider efficacy, safety, ease-of-use, and financial cost when choosing an option that best supports achieving and maintaining healthy weight goals.5

Amid this growing health crisis, there has been much attention focused on recently introduced glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, like semaglutide.5 Experts caution these GLP-1 medications may not be suitable for the full range of people struggling with weight loss, and a person or patient should consider the option that best aligns with their individual healthy weight goals.5

The good news is there are a number of proven medications for patients who suffer from obesity and are overweight.5 For example, Qsymia® (phentermine and topiramate extended-release capsules) CIV in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise has been proven to help adults and children ages 12 to 17 lose weight and maintain weight loss.7 The once-daily pill is covered by the majority (81%) of commercial healthcare plans and is indicated for long-term use.8

“Obesity continues to threaten the overall well-being of those affected and is a major public health concern – and no one pill will completely reverse the situation,5” said Dr. Anthony Auriemma JD, FOMA. “Take the time to learn about each option with your physician. Remember, weight-loss medications may take time to show noticeable results.5 Be patient and stay committed to your overall weight-loss plan.”

Sponsored by VIVUS LLC.

Dr. Anthony Auriemma JD, FOMA, obesity medicine specialist at Ascension Medical Group Illinois, is a paid consultant of VIVUS LLC.


QSYMIA is a combination of phentermine, a sympathomimetic amine anorectic, and topiramate, indicated as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese) or 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight related comorbidity such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or dyslipidemia. QSYMIA may also be used in pediatric patients aged 12 years and older with BMI in the 95th percentile or greater standardized for age and sex.

The effect of QSYMIA on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been established. The safety and effectiveness of QSYMIA in combination with other products intended for weight loss, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and herbal preparations, have not been established.

For more information on QSYMIA, please visit

Important Safety Information

Do not take QSYMIA if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or become pregnant during QSYMIA treatment; have glaucoma; have thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism); are taking certain medicines called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or have taken MAOIs in the past 14 days; are allergic to topiramate, sympathomimetic amines such as phentermine, or any of the ingredients in QSYMIA.

Common side effects of QSYMIA in adults include numbness or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or face (paraesthesia), dizziness, changes in the way foods taste or loss of taste (dysgeusia), trouble sleeping (insomnia), constipation, and dry mouth. Common side effects of Qysmia in children aged 12 years and older include depression, dizziness, joint pain, fever, flu, and ankle sprain.

QSYMIA can cause serious side effects, including birth defects (cleft lip/cleft palate), increases in heart rate, visual field defects (independent of elevated intraocular pressure), suicidal thoughts or actions, serious eye problems, and severe rash with blisters and peeling skin. QSYMIA may slow the increase in height in children 12 years and older.




  1. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Obesity. Retrieved from
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, May 17). Adult Obesity Facts. Retrieved from
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, September 22). Adult Obesity is a Serious Health Problem. Retrieved from,one%20size%20fits%20all%20approach.
  4. WebMD. (2023, November 9). Prescription Weight Loss Medicine. Retrieved from
  5. Harvard Health Publishing. (2023, November 1). Understanding new weight-loss drugs. Retrieved from
  6. Müller, L., & Müller, V. (2018). Obesity and Breast Cancer: Current Insights on the Role of Fatty Acids and Lipid Metabolism in Promoting Breast Cancer Growth and Progression. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 9, 647.
  7. Qsymia. (2023, June). Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate extended-release) capsules, for oral use, CIV. Prescribing Information. Retrieved from
  8. VIVUS LLC (2023, January 23). VIVUS Provides Update on Pipeline and Program Milestones. Retrieved from
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