Don’t Miss a Single Update or New Release! Sign up Today

Qsymia for Weight Loss: What Studies Say

<p>Qsymia for Weight Loss: What Studies Say</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 5 min read

A recent study has found percent found that 41.9 percent of the American population is obese, and 51.1 percent of Americans want to lose weight. However, losing weight is no small feat, especially when losing weight is difficult. Fast food is at your disposal, and even those with strong willpower break down and eat bad food. One prescription weight loss drug has the ability to change all that. 

Qsymia, which was approved in July of 2012, has built a solid reputation for its weight loss capabilities. The drug was created with the intention of helping obese individuals ages 12 and above manage their weight and shed pounds. To be considered obese, an individual must have a body mass index or BMI in the 95th percentile, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA.) Qsymia contains a stimulant that suppresses appetite. It also contains an antiseizure drug, which has weight loss as a side effect.

Those who take this drug typically lose an average of 10 percent of their body weight, making it a highly effective option for those suffering with obesity. When the drug was in the development phase, doctors worried about its potential side effects. Possible side effects included confusion, memory loss, increased heart rate, and the potential for birth defects. Qsymia is prescribed only for individuals who are obese or overweight. Pregnant women should not take this medication, and women who could become pregnant should take a pregnancy test every month.

According to experts, childhood obesity is on the rise, and has increased by 50 percent over the past 50 years. This means that 21 percent or one in five children is believed to be obese. Studies have found that (phentermine / topiramate ER (Qsymia) causes weight loss when it is combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise. However, patients should be aware that Qsymia is a controlled substance and has the ability to cause dependence, if not managed properly. There is no generic for this drug. Because of this, it can be quite pricey. A supply of 30 capsules typically costs about $199.00. 

According to, this price is for customers who pay cash for the medication. The cost of this medication may be different under different insurance plans. Qsymia comes in several different dosage pills. A 3.7 milligram to a 23-milligram capsule will cost anywhere from $199.15 or above. A 30-day supply of the 7.5 milligram to 46 milligram capsule costs $205.36. The cost starts at 219.57 for the Extended Release 11.25 to 69 milligram capsule. However, you may be able to find discount cards online to save money on this medication. Patients with Medicare, Medicaid, or federal prescription insurance may only use the discount card if they don’t use their government-sponsored prescription plan.

According to PubMed, Qsymia is an “anorexigenic agent” that is used to treat obesity. However, it is also used to treat epilepsy and migraine prophylaxis. Patients lose weight when these two components are combined. Patients who take Qsymia are more successful in losing weight than they would be if they took the stimulant in Qsymia or a single antiseizure medication. According to experts, obesity increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. The likelihood of developing these conditions increases as one gains more weight. Type 2 diabetes in particular has been linked to excessive weight gain.  This has caused an increase in chronic conditions that have burdened many health systems. Chronic conditions, such as diabetes often lead to excess costs incurred by medical tests. Medical facilities continue to be swamped with patients needing special treatments for conditions like diabetes. 

Studies by many organizations assert that Qsymia suppresses appetite, which helps you lose weight. While the drug alone is quite effective, it should be combined with a healthy lifestyle that includes a reduced calorie diet and regular exercise. The drug is part of the Sympathomimetic drug class. Studies have found that patients who take Qsymia for 12 weeks lose an average of five pounds over this length of time. Patients who take the drug for 28 weeks lose an average of 15 pounds. Those who use this drug in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle lose an average of 19 pounds over a 56-week period of time. Studies conducted over several years have validated these findings, verifying that Qsymia is effective for weight loss. 

These findings were concluded from several combined studies performed by the FDA. Participants in these studies typically had an average body weight between 227 and 256 pounds. The average waist circumference for these individuals ranged from 45 to 47 inches. For Qsymia to work, experts recommend reducing your calorie consumption by 500 calories. On average, you must burn a total of 3,000 calories to lose a pound of weight, so restricting calories and amping up your excise routine helps keep calories from being stored as fat. This leads to weight loss. 

Your weight loss results from Qsymia will vary, depending on your weight, diet, body mass index, and your dosage of Qsymia. Other external factors will have an impact on how successful you are when using Qsymia to lose weight. In one recent study, some patients stopped taking Qsymia and left the study. As a result, researchers were not able to conclude findings from these individuals. 

Another study found that 71 percent of patients who took Qsymia felt better about their physical appearance, and 56 percent of participants said they felt healthier overall.  Forty-five percent of participants said their health had improved. According to WebMD, this medication is especially effective in helping obese individuals and individuals with preexisting medical conditions to lose weight. The speed at which you lose weight will depend on your metabolism and your ability to stay active. Someone who works in a sedentary job may have a harder time losing weight while on the drug.

People in a profession that requires high activity may be more successful using Qsymia for weight loss, but ultimately, the results depend on a number of factors. Willpower is a huge part of it. You must cut out foods that inhibit weight loss. This means cutting out snacks that are filled with sugar and carbohydrates. Because of the risk Qsymia poses to an unborn baby, the drug should only be dispensed by pharmacies that are trained in a special distribution program. Your doctor or a pharmacist should be able to provide you with information about special distribution programs. 

You should read the medication guide about Qsymia before you take this drug. It may also help to read this guide every time you refill this prescription, to make sure you are taking it correctly. You can take this medication with or without food, but your doctor can provide you with the best direction for taking it. It is wise to take this medication early in the day, because it is known to cause insomnia. 

A 2015 study conducted by the National Library of Medicine found that it can be hard to track success in patients who participate in studies in clinical settings, and many reports say that some participants leave studies for one reason or another. It can be hard to track patients’ success in primary care facilities. So, how exactly does Qsymia help you lose weight? Qsymia is the combination of phentermine and topiramate. Phentermine is a drug that helps you lose weight in a short time span. Phentermine suppresses appetite, and Topiramate is very effective in preventing seizures.   

The recommended daily dosage of Qsymia is 7.5 milligrams. Qsymia is not going to be effective if you don’t implement a diet, so you must be prepared to make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Although implementing a healthy diet is beneficial, it is not absolutely necessary, experts say. Some people who take the drug without implementing a healthy diet still lose a minimum of five percent of their body weight. 

There are a few other things you should be aware of, if you’re considering taking Qsymia to lose weight. You should not drink alcohol while on this drug, because it makes you drowsy, and may worsen the effects of drinking alcohol. If taken with alcohol, Qsymia can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and coordination problems. Drinking alcohol with this drug can also lead to significant health problems, such as central nervous system problems and a higher risk of falling. It can also cause central nervous system depression, shortness of breath, dizziness, or feeling faint.  You should contact emergency services immediately if you experience CMS depression. 

You should limit your caffeine intake if you are taking Qsymia. According to, high caffeine foods, such as coffee, chocolate, and certain cola drinks can cause problems. Side effects of this drug can be worsened if you consume caffeine while taking it. Consuming high amounts of caffeine while on Qsymia can cause nausea, rapid heartbeat, and heart palpitations. It can also result in confusion in some cases. Caffeine is a stimulant, and consuming high levels of this drug can lead some people to become addicted.   


14 Sources

Nu Image Medical has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.