All Eyes On Vivus As Weight Loss Drug Hits Market
(This post is by Mia Burns, associate editor for Pharmalive.com)
Qsymia, the weight loss drug from Vivus Inc. is now available in the U.S.. The launch gives Vivus (VVUS) a leg up on rival drug company Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ARNA) in the challenge to see who could get the first new prescription weight loss drug out. It has been more than 10 years since a new weight loss drug has made its way to market. Vivus shares went up on Monday after the company announced the Qsymia launch.
Alan Carr, Ph.D., senior analyst with Needham & Company, LLC says that the launch came a little earlier than expected. “They had been guiding for fourth quarter,” Dr. Carr said. “On the other hand, it does make sense to launch it in conjunction with the Obesity Society Meeting that is going on in San Antonio now. It certainly was a long regulatory process. They had to work their way through the FDA.”
The approval came with restrictions. Qsymia must not be used during pregnancy because the pill can harm a fetus. The contains phentermine, which is the surviving half of the fen-phen cocktail, and topiramate, the active ingredient in the Topamax seizure med, which generated concern over cardiovascular and teratogenic risks – specifically, cleft palates – and prompted the agency to reject the drug in 2010.
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