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Qnexa: Treating both Diabetes and Obesity

We recently reviewed three drug candidates for the treatment of obesity – Contrave, lorcaserin, and Qnexa. All three drugs in development: they all have been submitted to the FDA and none are yet approved though some may be by the end of the year. They have demonstrated significant improvements in glycemic control along with the observed weight loss. In particular, we highlight encouraging results from a recent 56-week phase 2 study of Qnexa in 130 individuals with type 2 diabetes. Roughly half of the individuals in the trial received placebo and half received Qnexa treatment. Two-thirds of individuals enrolled in the study had diabetes for a minimum of five years and were on at least two diabetes medications. Once the study was initiated, the placebo arm received “Standard of Care” treatment, meaning that physicians were instructed to actively treat diabetes to the ADA target A1c level of 7.0%. After one year, individuals treated with Qnexa experienced an impressive average drop in A1c from 8.6% to 7.0% (wow!), while those on placebo experienced a drop from 8.5% to 7.4%. In addition, Qnexa was also associated with an average 10% reduction in body weight (roughly 20 pounds). Although these results certainly look promising, further phase 3 trials must be conducted to confirm Qnexa’s effectiveness if the company wants to advocate for its use in people with diabetes who are not overweight. In general, we are pleased to see that drug candidates for obesity are having a positive impact on glucose control. As a reminder, Qnexa is currently being reviewed by the FDA for the treatment of obesity, and we expect to gain more clarity on future plans for Qnexa later this year. --ST

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