Developed in 1950s and approved for obesity and excess weight treatment in 1959, Phentermine has been available for sale under different brand names for nearly 40 years. In 1997 all its brand-name versions were taken off the market. The drug, however, didn’t disappear but became available in a variety of cheaper generic versions and later on, in 2012, as one of two major components of Qsymia, a weight-loss prescription medication widely offered on the market.
Since generic Phentermine versions are the same good old Phentermine-based drugs, we’ll focus on Qsymia and try to find out whether this medicine has managed to offer something more than its predecessor, the influence of which is hard to overestimate even now.
Phentermine and Qsymia Differences
Since its appearance on the market of diet medications Phentermine has been ”tried” in combinations with different compounds. However, none of those has been a success up until Qsymia has broken into the market.
Containing good old Phentermine, Qsymia also contains Topiramate, an anticonvulsant medicine, which itself has proved to produce certain therapeutic efficacy in weight loss. And since Phentermine and Topiramate as two separate drugs used to be previously combined in weight loss therapy, Qsymia seemed to be a rather good option to such treatment.
It is considered that despite its great, confirmed by years of usage, efficacy Phentermine lacks one important feature – it cannot reduce cravings that appear inevitably when a person on therapy with it is day by day shifting to a low-calorie diet. Topiramate, the other ingredient contained in Qsymia, seems to do this job perfectly well.
Some people, who take Qsymia, may even refer to it as a mood stabilizer that in addition to this major property may produce half of the result commonly given by Phentermine alone. In other words, Qsymia seems to increase and ameliorate the efficacy of Phentermine.
Other Factors That Matter
Despite the stigma based on presumption and attached to Phentermine, it still remains #1 anti-obesity medication: millions of prescriptions (six in the USA alone) are given worldwide each year. If compared with Qsymia, Phentermine is better tolerated.
Common (proven) adverse effects caused by Phentermine are:
- dry mouth
Potential (presumed) adverse effects include:
- increased blood pressure,
- increased heart rate,
- adverse cardiovascular effects
To eliminate any of such most patients prefer capsules: this form of the drug produces a slower onset of action and lower stimulant effect.
Qsymia, or rather its active ingredient Topiramate, can cause the following adverse effects:
- paresthesia (tingling, tickling, pricking sensations),
- dysgeusia (distorted sense of taste),
- memory loss and attention difficulty,
- fatigue and somnolence,
- depression and anxiety,
- dry mouth and constipation.
Such a larger number of side effects and reviews provided by Qsymia patients have determined the overall concern level (apprehension raised by the patients) by 2.9 against 2.4 that consumers have given to Phentermine. Perhaps this explains a relatively lower popularity of Qsymia among patients aimed at weight loss result achieved without undesired effects.
The last but not the least important factors are therapy duration and drugs’ cost.
Unlike Phentermine, Qsymia is approved for long-term use: however, it should be mentioned that ”no more than 12-week duration of therapy with Phentermine” remains a controversial issue.
In terms of money spent, Phentermine is cheaper than Qsymia. For insured patients, however, Qsymia costs may be substantially lower.