VIVUS, a pharmaceutical company specializing in products to treat sexual function, announced that their experimental obesity drug Qnexa was shown to improve blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Data from a yearlong Phase II clinical trial demonstrated that Qnexa significantly reduced patients’ levels of hemoglobin A1c, a key indicator of blood sugar control. Patients taking Qnexa also lost an average of 9.4 percent of their body weight, compared with 2.7 percent for the placebo group. In addition, the study showed that Qnexa had a positive impact on other risk factors associated with diabetes, including blood pressure and triglycerides. Data from the study was presented during the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Shares in VIVUS rose six percent following the announcment.
Obesity directly contributes to numerous life-threatening conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Approximately 30 percent of American adults, or 60 million people, are obese. Weight loss drugs such as Qnexa may play an important role in helping patients manage their diabetes.
VIVUS, based in Mountain View, Calif., is one of a number of companies developing obesity medications. Shares in Arena Pharmaceuticals of San Diego increased after the company reported positive study results for its obesity drug, lorcaserin. Novo Nordisk reported similarly successful results for the drug liraglutide, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve the medication due to concerns that it may cause a rare form of thyroid cancer. A company-sponsored study found that liraglutide outperformed Byetta from Amylin Pharmaceuticals. Both Arena and Novo Nordisk presented at the ADA conference. Another weight-loss therapy, Contrave by Orexigen Therapeutics, combines the antidepressant Wellbutrin with the addiction drug naltrexone. Patients who took Contrave in a yearlong clinical study lost an average of 9.3 percent of their body weight.