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All three companies are in the process of resubmitting their products.The FDA had rejected the diet pill Qnexa in October 2010. The experts will also discuss increased blood pressure and higher heart rates reported for patients taking the drug.The panel of doctors will take a final vote on whether the drug appears safe and effective.
But none of the three medicines before the FDA represents a breakthrough in research.Qnexa is a combination of two older drugs. The amphetamine phentermine, which is approved for short-term weight loss, and topiramate, an anticonvulsant drug sold by Johnson & Johnson as Topamax.

Phentermine helps suppress appetite, while topiramate is supposed to make patients feel more satiated.Many analysts had picked Qnexa as the most promising contender of the new potential diet pills because of the high level of weight loss reported in company studies. On average, patients lost more than 10 percent of their total body mass.But at Qnexa's first FDA panel in 2010, experts assembled by the food and drug regulator voted 10-6 to not recommend the drug's approval. Panelists said the drug was associated with a number of dangerous side effects, including suicidal thoughts, heart palpitations, memory lapses and birth defects.On Wednesday Vivus will offer to conduct a follow-up study to monitor patients for any heart problems, if Qnexa is approved. Experts will consider whether the company should be required to conduct that study before FDA gives approval. The company will also offer a plan to make sure women who are likely to become pregnant do not use the drug.

One of the two ingredients in Qnexa, topirimate, is known to more than double the risk of birth defects.Qnexa's other ingredient, phentermine, was one half of the dangerous fen-phen combination, a weight loss treatment pushed by doctors that was never approved by the FDA.

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