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FDA To Give Controversial Diet Drug Another Look

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NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) - It’s been 13 years since the Food and Drug Administration approved a prescription diet pill. On Wednesday, it takes a second look at a drug called Qnexa, a combination of the drugs phentermine, a stimulant, and topiramate, a seizure or migraine medication.

Dr. Judith Korner, director of Columbia University’s Weight Control Center, said the drug, according to the most recent year-long study, helped people lose 14.4 percent of their body weight. The statistic is based on information provided by Vivus Inc., the maker of the controversial drug. “That’s an average weight loss, and a third of the patients lost even more weight than that,” Korner said. “And then there are some people who don’t respond that well.”

The FDA rejected the combination drug in 2010, due to safety concerns about heart problems and birth defects. So what’s different now? The issues concerning the risks, particularly on dying of a heart attack haven’t “necessarily” been addressed, Korner said.

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