Qsymia Review for Weight Loss: Effective? A Dietitian Inspects

Qsymia is a prescription weight loss medication that is FDA-approved for those with a BMI index over 30 or a 27 with a medical weight condition.

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There are a number of prescription medications that can be used to take a weight loss regimen to the next level. Not everybody finds success with just diet and exercise alone, even if they are diligent about keeping up with their plan. There are other factors that some people are dealing with that can impact how much weight they are able to lose on their own. Metabolism may be slow and will not respond to traditional weight loss methods. Blood sugar issues could be contributing to cravings and overeating. There is also a psychological aspect to eating that many people deal with.

I’m going to be talking to you about a weight loss prescription medication called Qsymia in this article. This is a once-daily capsule that contains the active ingredients phentermine hydrochloride and topiramate to improve weight loss results. It can be purchased with a prescription from a medical professional in pharmacies as well as online. I’ve compiled a breakdown of information on the Qsymia brand, the specifics on the ingredients used and how this product works. This should help you determine if this is a promising product that can help you lose weight faster and for the long term.

Quick Summary of Qsymia Weight Loss Medication Review

Medication:Qsymia
Designed for:Weight loss for those diagnosed with obesity
Best combined with:A reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity
Prescription Rx needed:Yes
BMI requirements:30 kg/m2 or greater (obese) or 27 kg/m2 or greater with a weight-related medical condition (ie: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol)
Website:qsymia.com
Where to get prescription:Form Health, Found, Calibrate, Fella Health (for men)
Avg. Customer Rating:7.5/10 (Over 500 reviews)
GW Rating:4.4/5

Qsymia

Courtney D'Angelo

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Summary

Qsymia is an FDA-approved, prescription weight loss medication that caters to people with a BMI index of 30 or greater, or 27, but with a serious medical weight condition. This medication will get best results with a low-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

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What Is Qsymia?

three bottles of Qsymia prescription medication

Qsymia weight loss medication is designed to be used along with diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. When taken alone without these complementary adjustments, it tends to be non-effective for weight loss. It can be prescribed in a few different strengths, depending on the size of the person using it, their weight loss needs and their overall health. The goal is to help you drop pounds while also protecting your heart, reducing your risk of obesity, improving your quality of life, controlling high blood pressure and preventing heart disease.

Qsymia contains a combination of topiramate and phentermine. Phentermine is part of a class of medications that control appetite. You’ll be able to eat less while experiencing fewer cravings. Topiramate is also known as Topamax. It’s actually an anticonvulsant that is used for the treatment of migraine headaches and epilepsy. It was determined that one of the side effects of the medication was weight loss due to an increase in metabolism and appetite regulation. Topamax also increases fat oxidation.

This weight loss medication is similar to:

Pros

  • Helps you lose weight faster
  • Curbs cravings
  • Controls overeating
  • Boosts your metabolism
  • Complements a healthy diet and exercise routine

Cons

  • Because one of the active ingredients in Qsymia is used to control seizures, you have to be careful going off of this medication even if you aren’t prone to seizure activity

How Does It Help with Weight Loss?

weight loss with Qsymia

Qsymia is one of the only two combination therapy drugs used for weight loss according to the FDA. This immediate-release medication works a little differently than other similar drugs because it takes effect right away rather than needing to slowly be released into the bloodstream. The phentermine in Qsymia will enhance the effects of your diet to significantly reduce your body weight and control the unhealthy food cravings you’re experiencing. The topiramate will help your body drop pounds faster thanks to a more efficient metabolism. An article in the Bariatric Times indicates that 67 percent of patients taking Qsymia lost over five percent of their body weight compared to the 17 percent using a placebo.

Is It FDA-Approved?

2 bottles of Qsymia

Qsymia was first approved by the FDA in 2012 for the purpose of weight loss. Eligibility requirements were set to patients with a BMI of 30 kg / m2 or more, or 27 kg / m2 if a weight- related health issue is also present. This can include heart disease, diabetes, etc.

Who Should Take Qsymia

Qsymia is a weight loss prescription medication that combines phentermine and topiramate in an extended-release dose. It is designed for obese adults or adults that are overweight and also dealing with ongoing health issues related to their weight. The use of Qsymia should also include a regular exercise routine and restricted calorie diet.

Doctor writing rx Qsymia

Side Effects and Safety

You need to have approval from a medical professional in order to use Qsymia. As far as side effects are concerned, there are some people who experience minor symptoms upon starting the medication such as constipation, trouble sleeping, changes in mood, urinary tract infection, blurred vision, and fatigue, more severe side effects include chest pain, convulsions, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in appetite and shortness of breath. If you notice any side effects when taking Qsymia, immediately contact the doctor you’re working with.

How Much Weight Have People Lost on Average with Qsymia?

lost weight with Qsymia

Clinical trials that studied Qsymia thoroughly determined that participants using the medication were able to lose anywhere between 6.7 and 9 percent of their overall body weight during the use of this medication. The results varied based on the dose that was provided. Also, there are varying factors such as the amount of exercise that was done along with taking Qsymia. Diet also plays a role in its effectiveness.

How Fast Do You Lose Weight on Qsymia?

The most noticeable results from the use of Qsymia will take place within the first 12 weeks of using it. Though, you should still see weight loss moving forward for the entire first year of using this weight loss medication. You can speed the process along a bit by sticking with your exercise routine and watching what you eat. Indulging too often and taking too many rest days will just slow down your progress.

How Long Can You Stay on Qsymia?

Qsymia is generally taken for up to one year, though you will need to speak with your doctor about what they recommend for your specific situation. Because this medication is intended for the treatment of obesity, it will take some time to lose the amount of weight that you’re hoping for. Also, you need a little bit of time for the medication to take effect before you see results.

Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Qsymia?

Unfortunately, drinking alcohol while taking Qsymia can increase your chance of experiencing unwanted side effects during your treatment period. Not to mention, you should stick to a healthy lifestyle as much as possible in order to meet your weight loss goals in an efficient amount of time.

Does It Make You Tired?

Some people find that using Qsymia makes them feel tired or more fatigued than usual. There are also people that experience the opposite effect and will suffer from bouts of insomnia when taking this medication. Every person is different with the side effects and results they experience with the use of Qsymia.

Real Qsymia Reviews and Weight Loss Success Stories

tape measure weight loss Qsymia

If you take a look on Drugs.com, Qsymia has a rating of 7.5 out of 10. There are over 300 different reviews included. Sixty-nine percent of people who have used Qsymia found it to be a positive experience, while 17 percent labeled their experience as negative.

There are a number of people who experienced substantial weight loss without having to deal with unpleasant side effects. Even with a low dose, Qsymia has provided a boost in weight loss when working out and eating right.

Some people lost a lot of weight when they first started Qsymia, with that progress slowing down a bit as time went on. This is perfectly normal but can be frustrating to some. It’s important to realize that losing weight tends to happen like this. The progress can end up being slow over longer periods of time, but the medication is still serving its purpose.

Weight Loss Programs That Offer FDA-Approved Prescription Medication Such as Qsymia

If Qsymia doesn’t seem like it’s the weight loss medication for you, here are some of the other weight loss programs that offer FDA-approved prescription medication as well.

losing weight using Qsymia

Form Health

Form Health utilizes the rise in popularity of telehealth medicine to provide people with access to innovative weight loss solutions. This is a medically supervised program that pairs you with an online medical professional that will take a look at your medical history, weight loss history, diet, lifestyle, etc. After that has been done, they will set you up with personalized guidelines that you can use on your weight loss journey. Part of your weight loss plan may include the use of medication to boost your metabolism and help you see results faster.

Form Health also has a mobile app that you can use to create your meal plans, track your workouts, refill your medication, etc. This is also where you can complete your monthly video visits with your team to determine if any adjustments need to be made. You can contact your care team if you have any questions in the meantime. There is also a Form Health support community that can help keep you motivated to stick with your weight loss regimen. It’s a very well-rounded program that takes so many aspects of weight loss into account.

Fella Health

Founded in 2021 by Y Combinator, Luke Harries and Richie Cartwright (Cambridge Graduates), Fella Health is designed for obese males that suffer from binge eating and other weight loss challenges. There was a noticeable gap in the diet industry that often left men out of the loop. Fella Health was created to fill these gaps and provide a variety of resources to support men on their weight loss journey from a physiological, psychological, and emotional perspective.

A team of obesity experts and psychology professionals have helped Fella Health become what it is today. This includes people from the American Board of Obesity Medicine, University of Cambridge and, and the US Army Combat Medics. You can lose up to 15 percent of your body weight with this program, which includes the use of FDA-approved medications.

Calibrate

Calibrate is a weight loss company that focuses on the body’s biology to provide a reset that can boost weight loss. It’s a combination of FDA-approved weight loss medication prescribed by a doctor, accountability coaching and lifestyle changes that will change your metabolism. You’ll start the program with a 45-minute health assessment online with a doctor from Calibrate. This appointment is designed to figure out which weight loss medication you would benefit from the most. You’ll also check in with your accountability on a weekly basis to talk about your progress and challenges while paying attention to things like sleep, diet, exercise and emotional health. An app helps you keep everything organized.

I like Calibrate because it dispels the myth that weight loss is all about controlling your cravings and utilizing your willpower. In fact, it’s about making healthy choices in your life that can keep your metabolism functioning in an efficient manner. With the use of safe and effective medications, you can get to your weight loss goals quickly.

Found

Found was created by doctors Dr. John Berardi and Dr. Michael Eades with the intention of providing a weight loss solution for people that will address the different challenges that appear during this process. They determined that their model would be based on restricting calories to less than what you’re burning each day. With diet, exercise and weight loss medication, you can see results in a short amount of time.

There is also a weight loss phase of the program in addition to a maintenance phase. You won’t have to restrict your calories forever. Once you get close to the weight you were working towards (it’s recommended that you follow this stage for 12 weeks), you can switch over to a maintenance-based lifestyle that is much easier. You can start to add calories back into your diet while reducing the amount of exercise that you do each day. However, you can’t go back completely to where you were before the program started unless you want to gain all of the weight back.

Alfie

Alfie is a medical weight loss plan that was created by men (for men) and utilizes proven science to help people learn how to efficiently lose weight and keep it off. Available in California, Washington D.C., Florida, Maryland, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Virginia, Alfie supports a change to a healthier lifestyle with the use of medication for those who qualify. You gain access to medical professionals as well as a specialized coach that is knowledgeable in the areas of weight loss and exercise. Your medication will speed up your results and you may even qualify for one of the prizes that are available from the community aspect of the program. You use a smart device to access all of the information and connections that you need, but there is no app to download.

Is It Safe and Effective? Final Verdict

Qsymia is a safe and effective product that can assist you with your weight loss journey. If you’ve tried many methods and diets without success, medication is likely the next step you can take. Because these medications can change up your metabolic functions, it’s recommended that you seek the approval of a medical professional before starting any kind of medication regimen.

It appears that many people have seen beneficial results with the ongoing use of Qsymia. However, use of the product is necessary for a number of weeks in order to see its full potential. When you combine it with a healthy diet and exercise routine, you may be surprised at how quickly the weight comes off after years of not seeing results.

Tips for Success from the RD

Are you looking for other ways to boost your weight loss routine in addition to a healthy diet, lifestyle and the use of medication? Here are my tips for success.

Cut out sugar, caffeine and alcohol

Cutting out sugar, caffeine and alcohol can help you along on your weight loss journey more than you realize. You can lose a substantial amount of weight if you address those unhealthy cravings and habits that are slowing you down. Sugar results in large spikes and crashes that can affect your metabolism. Caffeine can slow down your cortisol production, which in turn will slow down your metabolism. Alcohol is just empty calories that can lead to overeating and snacking on unhealthy foods. It can also slow you down and prevent you from getting to your workout routine.

Don’t Skip Meals

While many diets require you to cut the number of calories you’re consuming on a daily basis, you never want to skip meals entirely. Your body needs ample nutrition in order to function properly and have the energy needed to stay focused on your weight loss goals. This can also keep your metabolism functioning efficiently. Just be aware of what you’re eating and how you make healthier choices first thing in the morning.

Should You Consider Taking Qsymia for Weight Loss?

If you’re currently frustrated with the lack of results that you’re seeing from your weight loss plan, it might be time to talk to a doctor about using an FDA-approved weight loss medication to boost your results. Many of these medications are very safe and effective. They very well may be what you’ve been missing from your weight loss journey. Just make sure that you’re getting the proper guidance when using these medications. Using one of the programs I’ve talked about in this article can connect you with the professionals that can approve and prescribe these medications, but they can also provide you with the accountability and support that you need to achieve.

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Courtney D'Angelo

Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, earned her masters degree in Nutrition and Foods from the University of Georgia. She's a Registered Dietitian at Morrison Healthcare and has a strong passion in helping people improve their wellness!

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