POSTED: Sunday, April 8, 2012 - 10:00am
UPDATED: Sunday, April 8, 2012 - 10:04am
NBC NEWS — New drugs to treat obesity could soon be available to patients.
The two pills awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration within the next few weeks are Qnexa and Lorcaserin.
The latter is made by Arena Pharmeceuticals, and will be ruled on next month.
According to researchers, tests have shown that patients using Qnexa lost up to 10 percent of their body weight, so a 300 pound person could lose up to 30 pounds using the drug.
"Lorcaserin has made that benchmark of 5 percent responders. Most of the patients will lose at least 5-percent of their weight," said Dr. Ken Fujioka of Scripps Health.
With one in three people in the U.S. classified as obese, the new drugs could be very widely used.
Many believe they could be blockbuster medications to treat obese patients.
But the new medication doesn't mean people can start gorging on donuts and ice cream.
If approved, Fujioka said the FDA will likely require that the drugs be prescribed in conjunction with diet and exercise in hopes of preventing other illnesses that stem from obesity, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Fujioka also said the drugs are not for casual use, but rather for patients who have significant weight to lose.
This is the second time these drugs have been submitted to the FDA for review.