FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Boston, Feb. 27, 2012 – The Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in favor of recommending that the FDA approve the prescription obesity drug Qnexa. If approved, this will be the first time in more than a decade that a prescription weight-loss medication receives FDA approval. This landmark recommendation prompted the 2012 Cardiometabolic Health Congress (CMHC) expert faculty to weigh in on the implications of the potential approval of this novel obesity medication.
“I am pleased that the FDA advisory panel has been able to see a way forward to support therapies that will help patients and clinicians confront the obesity epidemic. While pharmacotherapy is not appropriate for everyone, it is important to have options to help patients,” said Richard Pratley, MD, Director, Florida Hospital Diabetes Institute, senior scientist, Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes, professor, Sanford|Burnham Medical Research Institute.
Robert H. Eckel, MD, co-chair of the 2012 CMHC and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, said, “I think the decision was a good one and is important for the academic and medical educational missions related to obesity and cardiovascular disease.”
“It is a very interesting development and a bit surprising,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, Chief of Cardiology, VA Boston Healthcare System, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and senior investigator, TIMI Study Group. He added, “I still think that a large study evaluating cardiovascular safety is needed.”
The Chief Scientific Officer for the Association of Black Cardiologists and professor of clinical medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine, Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, cautioned that, “The fight against obesity needs to be multifactorial, including new medications. As a cardiologist, however, I consider it paramount that all clinicians remember to monitor our patients closely for cardiac risks, including heart rate and blood pressure, and not just treat obesity as a cosmetic concern.”
Harold Bays, MD, medical director and president, Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center, Inc., stated, “This [FDA advisory panel] decision validates the emerging recognition that adiposity, or fat weight gain, creates adipose tissue dysfunction or 'sick fat' which directly and indirectly contributes to metabolic disease. As importantly, the Qnexa development program objectively supports how fat weight reduction improves adipose tissue function, effectively treats the metabolic and immune abnormalities of 'sick fat,' and thus improves the most common metabolic diseases encountered in clinical practice, such as elevated glucose, blood pressure, and dyslipidemia – all major cardiovascular disease risk factors.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that over 35 percent of American adults are obese, with 5 percent being considered morbidly obese. In addition, 33 percent of American adults are overweight. In response to this obesity epidemic, the CMHC, the most influential U.S.-based medical and scientific conference in its field, gathers over 50 world-renowned experts in cardiometabolic health each year to educate clinicians on current strategies for the prevention, diagnosis and management of obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, dyslipidemia, thrombosis, acute coronary syndrome, chronic kidney disease and related comorbidities.
“It is striking that the CMHC has become the undisputed leader in conferences that address the most important metabolic derangements of our time, due largely to the strength of the faculty and their interactions with an engaged audience,” said James Gavin III, MD, PhD, CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Healing Our Village, Inc., and clinical professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine.
The 7th Annual CMHC will convene Oct. 10-13, 2012 in Boston, MA; it is co-chaired by George L. Bakris, MD; Christie M. Ballantyne, MD; Robert H. Eckel, MD; and Jay S. Skyler, MD, MACP.
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