New Weight-Loss Drug Now Available in the US

October 29, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today's article.

1. appetite (n.)
[ap-i-tahyt] – the feeling of wanting to eat food
Example: A sick person often does not have a big appetite.

2. overeating (n.) [oh-ver-eet-ing] – the act of eating more than what is needed by the body
ExampleOvereating will make you fat.

3. be taken off the market (expr.) [be][tey-kuh n][awf,of][thuh][mahr-kit] - to no longer be sold
Example: After receiving many complaints, the company decided the product should be taken off the market.

4. side effect (n.) [sahyd][ih-fekt] – a drug result that is different from the expected result of that drug
Example: Common side effects of cold medicines include sleepiness and dizziness.

5. obesity (n.) [oh-bee-si-tee] – condition where a person has too much fat in the body
Example: People who eat too much and don’t exercise usually suffer from obesity.

Read the text below.

Qsymia, a new US Food and Drug Association (FDA) approved drug that promises to help people lose about 10% of their body weight, is now available on the US market.

The new drug is a mix of two known weight-loss drugs that have been used by doctors for quite some time: phentermine and topiramate. Phentermine reduces appetite, while topiramate makes a person feel fuller after eating. Both of these drugs help control overeating, but target different areas of the brain, making Qsymia more effective.

However, doctors are concerned about the fact that one ingredient of Qsymia, phentermine, is also found in a drug called Fen-Phen. In 1997, Fen-Phen was taken off the market due to its dangerous side effects. It has been 13 years since a weight-loss drug has been approved by the FDA. The last was Xenical, in 1999.

Qsymia is reportedly safe for women of child-bearing age.  However, pregnant women must keep away from Qsymia.

With Qsymia, doctors and their patients now have another way of fighting the growing obesity problem in the US. At present, one third of the US population is obese while many suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease because of obesity.

But, doctors say Qsymia users must also have a healthy diet and exercise regularly if they want to lose weight.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         Do you think taking diet pills like Qsymia is a good way of dealing with weight problems? Why or why not?
·         How can overweight or obese people effectively lose weight?

Discussion B

·         What does your government do to encourage people to stay at a healthy weight?
·         In your opinion, why do a lot of Americans struggle with obesity?


October 29, 2012