Objective: To review the pharmacology, efficacy, and safety of phentermine/topiramate (PHEN/TPM) in the management of obese patients.
Data sources: MEDLINE (1966-July 2012) was searched using the terms weight loss, obesity, phentermine and topiramate, phentermine, topiramate, Qnexa, Qsymia, and VI-0521. Additionally, the new drug application and prescribing information for PHEN/TPM were retrieved.
Study selection/data extraction: All studies considering the pharmacology, efficacy, and safety of PHEN/TPM were reviewed with a focus on efficacy and safety data from Phase 3 trials.
Data synthesis: In 3 Phase 3 trials (EQUIP, CONQUER, and SEQUEL), treatment with PHEN/TPM consistently demonstrated statistically significant weight loss compared with placebo. After 56 weeks of treatment, percent weight loss achieved with PHEN/TPM was 10.6%, 8.4%, and 5.1% with 15/92 mg, 7.5/46 mg, and 3.75/23 mg, respectively (p < 0.0001). The 52-week extension study (SEQUEL) showed maintained weight loss over 2 years with 9.3% and 10.5% weight loss from baseline for 7.5/46 mg and 15/92 mg PHEN/TPM (p < 0.0001). A significantly higher proportion of patients achieved greater than 5%, 10%, or 15% weight loss with PHEN/TPM compared with placebo. Significant reductions in waist circumference, fasting triglycerides, and fasting glucoses were also attributable to PHEN/TPM. The drug was generally well tolerated in clinical trials. Adverse reactions occurring in 5% or more of study subjects included paresthesia, dizziness, dysgeusia, insomnia, constipation, and dry mouth.
Conclusions: PHEN/TPM is a new, once-daily, controlled-release, combination weight-loss product approved as an adjunct to diet and exercise for chronic weight management of obese or overweight patients with weight-related comorbidities. PHEN/TPM is modestly effective and a viable option for patients interested in losing weight, although long-term safety data are lacking.