Well, we didn't think today was going to be all-diet-pills-all-the-time, but here we are with another post on the subject.
Japanese drug giant Takeda and San Diego-based Orexigen have struck a marketing partnership to sell Contrave, an experimental weight-loss pill Orexigen has submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.
The medicine combines bupropion, a drug most often used as an antidepressant, with naltrexone, a medicine used mainly for addiction.
Under terms of the Takeda deal, Orexigen is getting $50 million right away. Eventually the company could get more than $1 billion from Takeda, if everything goes well with the FDA and on the market.
That's not guaranteed. In July, a panel of experts advised the FDA not to approve Qnexa, a rival diet pill, because of concerns about risk.
Indeed, a recent nationwide survey done for NPR found that Americans are leery of weight loss medicines. Cost and side effects are turnoffs for many people. About a quarter of people surveyed said a successful drug would have to help them lose between about 20 and 30 pounds. A similar proportion said about 10 to 20 pounds would be enough.
Data from Orexigen studies showed that people who completed a year of treatment with Contrave lost an average of 17 1/2 lbs, or more than 8 percent of their weight.
The FDA is expected to make a decision on Contrave early next year.