ROCKVILLE, Md (CBS) - An advisory panel to the FDA has just overwhelming approved a diet pill called Qnexa. Safety concerns have derailed it in the past, but new data obviously changed some minds.
Mariel Rrosenwasser tried every diet but could not lose weight she says, "Every body, my family, my friends were convinced something was wrong because the weight wasn't coming off."
She weighed more than 200 pounds when her doctor put her on a combination of two drugs, the appetite suppressant phentermine and the drug topiramate, which is supposed to make patients feel full.
The combination worked for Mariel she lost 50-pounds in a year.
And the pill Qnexa combines those two drugs into one. Now a Food and Drug Administration panel is recommending it for approval. FDA advisors rejected the drug in 2010, concerned about side effects including heart problems and birth defects. The makers of Qnexa presented encouraging new findings about the drugs safety.
Weight loss specialist Dr. Louis Aronne with New York Presbyterian Hospital tells us, "One of the outcomes of the study performed on thousands of patients is that all of the cardio metabolic risk factors seem to improve."
More than one out of every three adults in the United States is obese but currently there's only one FDA approved drug for weight loss. That's Xenical and it been more than a decade ago since that approval.
Mariel Rosenwasser says people like her need more options. "There are these two medications that work so well for me. I think it would be amazing for more people to have access to this medication, she adds.
The FDA panel's recommendation is not binding. The FDA is expected to make its final decision in April.