QsymiaOn July 17, 2012 the Federal Drug Administration (or FDA) approved a new weight loss pill. You may have already seen ads for it, but I’d like to take a moment to give you the facts. The pill is called Qsymia; your guess is as good as mine on how to pronounce it, though I hear it’s something like kyoo-SIM-ee-uh. Here’s the scoop: Although the FDA (the government agency that decides if a drug is safe or not) approved Qsymia, it has NOT been approved or considered safe for teens or children yet. Adults can buy it with a prescription, but it’s not available over-the-counter.

What about the weight loss claims? It’s not realistic to believe that a single pill can be the answer to something as complicated as weight loss. In other words, this is not the “magic bullet” many are looking for. There are side effects, and some are quite dangerous. If you’re under 18, you may be wondering when Qsymia will be available for teens. According to the FDA, researchers must study Qsymia for at least seven more years before it will be available to teens.

What is Qsymia exactly? Qsymia is actually a mixture of two drugs. One of these drugs can make your heart beat very fast (not in a good way), and the other is used for treating seizures. Because it’s made up of these powerful drugs, the FDA states that Qsymia may be dangerous for normal growth and development in kids and teens. Since the drugs in Qsymia work on the brain, the drug could make things such as learning in school or remembering things for a test, or even learning a new move on the soccer field a lot harder.

What are other risks of taking Qsymia? Some of the most common side effects of Qsymia are headaches and an upset stomach. Qsymia isn’t recommended for people who can become pregnant (basically, this means any female having a period) because it can harm unborn babies.

Naturally, the advertisements by the company that make Qsymia make it sound magical and tempting to try. You might even think to yourself, “if I could just get my hands on it, I could finally lose weight”. However, when you look a little closer at the facts behind this weight loss pill, the “magic” begins to disappear. Even in studies where adults lost weight taking the drug, Qsymia was combined with regular exercise and eating less.

The bottom line is there are no miracle weight-loss products. Making simple changes such as getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can stick with you for a lifetime—with no risks, only many health benefits.

Read my next blog entry on giving yourself the love you need to make these lasting changes. Bye for now!

-Nutritionist Abigail