In September 2014, the US FDA approved a new weight loss medication called Contrave, a sustained release combination of the popular mood stabilizer, Bupropion(Wellbutrin) and a narcotic de-additiction medication called Naltrexone.
FDA has previously approved two new weight loss medications in 2012, Lorcaserin(Belviq) and Qsymia(Phentermine and Topiramate) after a gap of 10 years when it kept denying all the weight loss medications for one reason or the other.
The urgency in which the FDA cleared these three new weight loss medications reflects the growing concern about the epidemic of obesity that is threatening the health of the nation. According to the available obesity statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, obesity and overweight status already affect up to two thirds of the entire adult population of the the United States.
- More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.
- Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.
- The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.