Weight-loss drug Qsymia now available at select retail pharmacies

July 3, 2013

Nearly a year after gaining FDA approval, prescriptions for once-daily phentermine and topiramate extended-release (Qsymia, Vivus) can now be filled at about 8,000 pharmacies nationwide.

Nearly a year after gaining FDA approval, prescriptions for once-daily phentermine and topiramate extended-release (Qsymia, Vivus) can now be filled at about 8,000 pharmacies nationwide.

Qsymia is FDA-approved as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese), or 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related medical condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.

Until recently, the drug was only available through mail-order pharmacies. FDA required extra regulation because Qsymia can cause birth defects if taken by pregnant women.

However, FDA has eased the requirements for dispensing Qsymia and now allows certified retail pharmacies to fill the prescriptions.  The drug is now available at certified Walgreens, Costco, and Duane Reade pharmacies.

"Today is the start of a new process that simplifies prescribing and improves access for patients in need of Qsymia, an effective and well-tolerated treatment for chronic weight management," said Peter Tam, president of Vivus.

"With the retail expansion, we remain committed to increasing the availability of Qsymia in thousands of additional certified retail pharmacies nationwide in the coming weeks. This expansion, along with ongoing advancements in insurance coverage and reimbursement, will improve access to Qsymia for millions of patients with obesity."

Patients can continue receiving Qsymia by mail. "The addition of certified retail pharmacies to the Qsymia network will reduce the prescribing burden for physicians and the waiting times for patients seeking to initiate therapy for obesity," said Barbara Troupin, MD, vice president, scientific communication and risk management, Vivus. "Retail availability will improve the overall physician and patient experience with Qsymia."

Customer seeking retails outlets certified to dispense Qsymia can use Vivus’ pharmacy locator or call the company’s medical information line (1-888-998-4887).

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